Hawaiian shipwreck yields local treasure

The brick recovered from the shipwreck
The brick recovered from the shipwreck

A brick fired in a village kiln has been discovered by divers nearly 7,000 miles away on the sea bed off the coast of Hawaii.

Scientists at the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab found the item while exploring a shipwreck and are hoping the brick could help to identify the stricken vessel.

Steve Price, who is heading up the research, said: “We came across a wreck in one of our target sites that was in a very dilapidated state, but much of the framework was still present. Amongst this debris we found numerous bricks. We brought one up and examined it and found ‘Gartcosh’ embossed in it.

“I am trying to identify this wreck and actually have two vessels in consideration. However, the stronger of the two – a ship out of Glasgow – is much older and this makes our team suspicious that it could be the one on the seabed.

“In the Honolulu newspapers a couple of months after this wreck went aground, the salvagers of the cargo advertised the sale of ‘fire bricks’. It’s very compelling information.”

Steve contacted Tommy Macaloney, chair of the Gartcosh Local History Group, who has been able to identify the likely source of the brick – Gartcosh Fireclay Brickworks.

Tommy explained: “Gartcosh Fireclay Brickwork was established by Mr James Binnie in 1863. It finally closed in 1950 due to the exhaustion of fire clay under our village, Gartcosh.

“The brickwork and little village was situated where the Red Row housing is at present.”