Tables still set aboard sunken 'Mary Celeste' steakhouse at Lakeside

Inside the ‘Mary Celeste’ steakhouse: Eerie videos show tables still laid and fridges stocked aboard Lakeside’s sunken steamboat restaurant

  • EXCLUSIVE: Tables laid, fridges stocked and Xmas tree still standing aboard ship
  • Steamboat steakhouse sunk into the waters at Lakeside just before Christmas  

Tables laid, fridges stocked and a Christmas tree bedecked in baubles…. but not a soul in sight.

An urban explorer has revealed eerie scenes from inside the sunken steamboat steakhouse at Lakeside shopping centre four months after it slipped into the waters.

Miller and Carter staff, in the midst of preparing for lunchtime opening, were forced to abandon ship when the converted paddle-steamer began to slip into the murky lake, two days before Christmas.

Stunned onlookers likened the disaster to the Titanic. But the aftermath is now more reminiscent of maritime mystery the Mary Celeste – the US merchant ship found adrift in the Atlantic in 1872 with no crew in sight.

The Mary Celeste or the Miller and Carter? Spooky scenes aboard sunken steakhouse 

Tables set and ready for the diners who would never arrive. Inside the sunken steakhouse 

The ship’s bow was above the water in December, but has since slipped beneath the surface 

The ship’s kitchens are filled with piles of rotting food, crockery is stacked and ready to use, and the fridges remain rammed with bottles of beer and wine.

Elsewhere, substantial damage can be seen to the boat where objects broke or fell over as it began to dip into the water.

What was the Mary Celeste?

The Mary Celeste, which was found abandoned off the coast of Portugal 

The Mary Celeste was an American ship travelling from New York to Genoa in Italy in 1872

The ship was found abandoned 400 miles off the coast of Portugal

What happened to the 10 people onboard remains a mystery, leading to speculation about their fate

There were no signs of violence or missing cargo, adding to the mystery and even giving rise to ghost stories about the ship 

Arthur Conan Doyle published a short story based on the Mary Celeste mystery in 1884

Footage also shows that most of the lower deck has been submerged up to at least the height of the tables, making reaching the rest of the ship treacherous.

Youtuber Urban Banana said it was a ‘dangerous’ trip wading through the submerged boat.

He tells viewers: ‘I really wanted to get over to the bar but I realise I’m an idiot because it is actually quite dangerous being in here.

‘What if it can go deeper and I get trapped down there?’

The Miller and Carter steakhouse remains closed to the public and it is not clear whether the sunken restaurant will be able to recover due to the extent of the damage caused. 

When it first began sinking in December, the restaurant’s ground floor was above the water line but it became entirely submerged after sinking further in January.

A sign pinned to the barriers that seal off the gangway is titled ‘Please excuse our appearance’ and adds: ‘We are working hard to have this issue resolved and hope to have everything looking spic and span shortly.

‘Thank you for your understanding.’

The restaurant was spotted sinking into the lake, which is about 50ft deep, at around 11am on December 23.

One onlooker who posted a video of the sinking venue told how it was ‘going down like the Titanic.’

Footage taken by an urban explorer who made his way on to the ship shows food rotting in the kitchen after customers and staff were forced to make a quick exit 

Festive tipples: The ubarn explorer discovered the ship’s fridges still stocked with bottles of fizz, beer and wine after the disaster in December

A Christmas tree still stands on the upper floor of the restaurant that has been frozen in time since the December disaster 

Going down nicely: The Lakeside steamboat restaurant where steaks were once on the menu 

What lies beneath: Chairs float in the gloomy water on the lower deck of the Miller Carter boat

Out of steam: A view from the rear of the paddle-steamer that is submerged in the Essex lake 

Lakeside shopping centre’s director, Howard Oldstein, said after the restaurant started sinking that staff were waiting for the vessel to take its ‘natural course’ before they assessed what action needed to be taken.

A spokesman then told the Thurrock Gazette at the end of December: ‘Our initial priority has been to update guests who had bookings to dine with us and an assessment of the structure will then follow in the new year.

‘As you can imagine at this time of the year it is difficult to get the specialist help which may be required, so the picture will be clearer in the new year when normal business operations resume.’

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