Pembrookshire based Bill Dowell is clearly a devoted chap: he’s a man who enjoys restoring and maintaining clinker-built boats, and has a particular interest in Redwing sailing dinghies, designed by Uffa Fox for racing on the open sea.
The latest object of his attentions is Nanw, a strongly built 15ft rowing and outboard dinghy built at Penarth some decades ago, and which remained in the Pembrokeshire area.
Bill believes she was used in the making of the Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe, which included scenes shot at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire during the summer of 2009.
He runs a weblog about his exploits with the small clinker hulls (which I intend to follow), and another about cruising his Finesse 24.
The George Woods Collection of photographs held by East Sussex Libraries is a fantastic thing – and you can see it for yourself on Flickr.
Many of the photos are very posed – with men dressed in oilies on what are clearly dry, fair-weather days and girls in summer frocks – but they do present an interesting perspective on the gear that was in use. And some of the photos are clearly not posed at all…
George Woods was born the son of a draper in St. Albans, Hertfordshire in 1852, but after his father died became a successful stock market investor – which provided him with time to work on his photography.
During the late 1880s and early 1890s photographed Hastings beach and in the local countryside. He left the photos to his daughter Ethel, who donated most of his prints to Hastings Museum in the early 1960s shortly before she passed away. Woods’ glass plate negatives were acquired by local solicitor and historian, John E Ray, and were acquired by Hastings Library following Mr Ray’s death.
The hoveller fishing boat used by Cromer’s legendary lifeboat coxswain Henry Blogg this week arrived at Stalham for restoration by volunteers working with the Museum of the Broads, Stalham.
Old Henry was heavily decorated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and like all RNLI lifeboatman was a volunteer – he made his living catching the famous Cromer crabs.
The hoveller fishing boat differs from other fishing boats as it had a small deck at the bows enabling the fishermen to carry a small stove to boil water and make tea – which is of course essential for any boat belonging to Englishman, particularly if they’re working on the cold North Sea.
The boat is named the QJ&J – Queenie, Jack and Jim – and was named after Henry’s family members.
There have been a number of attempts over the years to save the historically important boat made from ash, larch and oak. Sadly, by the time it reached the museum, the stern was too bad to restore.
The plan is to restore the bow and return her to her Cromer home for exhibition next year.