A FUNDRAISING campaign is set to be launched to recover and conserve more artefacts laying at the bottom of the Thames Estuary near Southend Pier.

The ‘Save the London’ campaign is being spearheaded by the Nautical Archaeology Society and the London Shipwreck Trust to collect the artefacts which have been near the foot of the pier for 350 years.

In 1665, tragedy hit the London warship when it exploded in the Thames Estuary, killing 300 people.

The ‘second-rate’ ship is identified in Samuel Pepys Diary as part of the fleet that brought Charles II back to England in the 17th Century.

Although made of wood, the ship’s remains are lying just off the shipping channel, where the strong tides and constant turbulence are rapidly eroding it - meaning time is running out to preserve the historic artefacts before they are lost forever.

Because of its location in such turbulent waters, in 2008 it was designated a Protected Wreck, being of historical importance.

Southend Museum has had a display on the shipwreck in place since September last year, and includes a cannon which was plundered from a Dutch naval ship.

Ian Yearsley, a leading Southend historian, said: “Southend didn’t exist at the time it sunk off the coast.

“It would be nice to secure as many artefacts as possible and tell as much of the story of the ship for local people.

“Currently, the exhibition has cannons from the ship, day to day artefacts like drinking vessels and elements of clothing.

“The exhibition is really interesting - the exhibition tells the story of the ship, some of its crew and voyage, and context of the times, as part of Olive Cromwell’s navy.

“I would certainly recommend that people go, what with the Saxon King exhibition on offer now too.”

The fundraising campaign will officially launch on July 3.

To look at the exhibition at the museum in Victoria Avenue visit museumcrush.org/the-archaeological-treasures-given-up-by-the-london-shipwreck.