Hi, I have just come across this excellent site and have joined. My hobby is local and Goodwin Sands Shipwrecks. I helped with the research on the BBC program, Secret Britain, about the SS Falcon. Thankfully my interview with Julia Bradbury was cut.
However, it might be of interest a few details about the Falcon. She was built in 1876 with a length of 200feet and 675 GRT. Operating for the General Steam Navigation Co she was well past her sell by date when on 24.10.1926 her deck cargo of bales of jute spontaneously combusted. As she was 7 miles north by east of the North Goodwin light vessel, on passage from Ghent to London, the Ramsgate lifeboat attended the casualty. Also, from Dover, the tug Lady Brassey took her in tow. It did not take long for the rest of her cargo of carpets and 10,000 cases of matches to ignite.
Being a danger in her flaming condition, Dover Harbour refused entry. All the crew had been transferred and there were no casualties. That night as the tug towed her back out to sea and her hull split almost to her waterline, she broke loose in an increasing near gale of wind. She drifted back towards the Eastern Entrance off Dover Harbour and ran aground on the high water mark.
The waves and rain extinguished the fire, however, within the next couple of days she was declared a total wreck and by 28.10.1926 she was sold to the local ship breakers.
The last time I had visited the Falcon was in 1970 ? and refused the invitation of the BBC to re-visit her for the program. It was because my subconscious remembered that I was worn out from the last time I negotiated the zigzag steps ? and I was a lot younger then.