Southend shipwreck shoe find could give clues about sailors' lives

Objects found in the wreck of 'The London' Image copyright English Heritage
Image caption Pewter spoons, coins, musket shots and ingots, have also been recovered during the dives

Divers exploring an underwater shipwreck have discovered parts of sailors' shoes, which could give clues about life in the 17th Century.

The soles and insoles were recovered from The London, a warship which sank off the Essex coast in 1665.

Evidence of cabins and hand-made glass windows were also found during dives to the wreck.

Archaeologists have said the excavation could be "similar in scope" to the Mary Rose warship.

An English Heritage spokeswoman said "We're very excited about what the objects might be able to tell us about life during this period of great change, between the first half of the 16th Century and the second half of the 17th Century as Britain was expanding as a sea power."

Image copyright Touch Productions
Image caption A CGI reconstruction of the London before it was wrecked

The London was built in Chatham in Kent and mysteriously exploded on a journey along the coast to Gravesend in 1665.

Between May and August, there were 15 dives to the wreck, which lies in two parts on the seabed.

English Heritage, Cotswold Archaeology and the licensed divers will review the operation, before evaluating and conserving the artefacts.

The programme of dives is set to resume next year.

The finds will eventually go on permanent display at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's Museums Service.

Image copyright Steve Ellis
Image caption Divers say the "murky" Thames was challenging to work in

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