The Sunderland model ship which could fetch £6,000 at auction - and the amazing history behind it

A model ship which was made in Sunderland will go under the hammer – and could fetch a very impressive price.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 9:25 am

Online bidders will be hoping to buy the model of the SS Chatwood which was built in 1929 at Austin and Sons.

But they will probably have to pay at least £4,000 to have a chance of owning the model which has gold-plated fittings and lots of intricate detail.

The beautiful piece was created for WM France of Fenwick and Co and it was made in the era when models of boats were built by shipyards before the ship itself was constructed.

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The model of the SS Chatwood which could fetch £4,000 to £6,000 at auction.

The Chatwood joins 400 lots in the online auction run by London-based Charles Miller Ltd where every lot has a maritime link.

Estimates of between £4,000 and £6,000 have been put on the ‘SS Chatwood’ and auction house founder Charles Miller said: “This model was the pride and joy of a private collection in the south east and it was one of the best things in his collection. It had been with him for years.”

Originally, it would probably have taken pride of place in the boardroom of Fenwick and Co and Charles added: “It is part of an auction with many very original lots.”

Bidders can vie for items including pistols, sextants, silver bars, whisky, and a model of the King of Italy’s steam yacht.

The model of the SS Chatwood.

The actual Chatwood was en route between the Tyne and London with a cargo of coal when she struck a mine off the East Dungeon Buoy in North Norfolk on April 23, 1942 and sank.

Thankfully, all the crew of 24 people, including three gunners, was saved and the 3ft 3ins long model is a beautiful reminder of it.

The auction is on Tuesday, November 2, and six hours of bidding is expected on the 400 lots.

The finer detail of the SS Chatwood shows it is a ‘fine builder’s mirror-backed model’ nd has a ‘laminated and carved hull finished in pink below the waterline and ebonised above with Plimsoll marks inscribed Chatwood over, white line decks and hatch covers, with gold plated fittings as appropriate, cutaway funnel and masts.

Such intricate detail has gone into the model.

The auction is set to start at 10am on November 2 and to find out more, visit

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The finer detail.
The ship at sea.