AN exhibition displaying British-made plates, bowls and a tea set from a steamship that sank off the Costa Blanca 150 years ago has opened in Denia.
The Parthenon, built in Sunderland, went down in the breakwaters just north of Denia’s port during a violent storm in November 1869 on its way to buy raisins.
The history of the ship was only discovered this year after a diver found the British-made plates, and the hull of an iron ship, and matched it to Spanish newspaper reports of the shipwreck.
“Denia had a glorious golden age from around 1850 to 1890 when we exported raisins all over the world,” the director of the Museo Arqueologico de Denia, Josep Gisbert, told the Olive Press.
“Victorian Britain was also the world power at the time, and the Denia bourgeoisie wanted anything and everything British.
“The ‘blue willow pattern’ Chinese imitation plates were a symbol of prosperity, and that’s what the Parthenon was carrying when it sank.”
The plates are now on display at the newly opened Museo del Mar, which opened in Denia on June 14.
Gisbert said the largest two plates of the collection were likely used for roasting ‘turkeys’ and pheasants’, a smaller plate was for ‘soup’ and two bowls held ‘cakes’ to be eaten with tea.
He added he was looking into obtaining British-made tableware from the area to recreate an ‘authentic’ Victorian meal using the historic finds.