Model of torpedoed Sunderland steam ship SS Eskdene expected to fetch thousands at auction

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A MODEL of an ill-fated 1930s Sunderland-built steam ship – which sank after she was torpedoed during the Second World War – is set to fetch between £6,000 and £8,000 at an auction.

The SS Eskdene and the intricately-made, 4ft-long model of the ship were both built by Bartram & Sons at Sunderland in 1934.

Five years later – on December 7, 1939 – SS Eskdene was torpedoed off the mouth of the Tyne. Fortunately, her cargo of Norwegian timber prevented her from sinking and she was towed to port and repaired.

Less than two years later – on April 8, 1941 – she was torpedoed by a German submarine 200 miles off the Azores. Captain William Thomas and her 38 crew managed to abandon ship before she sank.

Lionel Willis, a marine models expert at auctioneers Bonhams, said: “Dockyard or builder’s models of newly-constructed vessels are very popular with collectors, especially from the period between the wars, when the quality of finish and the detailing were of high quality.

“This lavish attention to detail can be seen on this model of a Sunderland steam ship, reflecting the pride of workmanship at the shipyard. It would have taken a principal place in the owner’s boardroom.”

Bartram & Sons – the Sunderland yard which built the SS Eskdene and the model – was founded in 1838 by George Bartram and John Lister, and became a limited company in 1922.

Colonel Robert Appleby Bartram and his brother George Hylton Bartram, great grandsons of the firm’s founder, took over the business in 1925.

Bartram & Sons was bought out by Austin & Pickersgill in 1968 and along with that firm was nationalised in 1977.

The model is going under the hammer at Bonhams on April 15.