Category Archives: History

Win a Native American birchbark canoe in Penboscot museum raffle

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Win, birchbark canoe, Penobscot Indian, canoe, raffle

The birchbark canoe being raffled by the Penobscot Maritime Museum; photos courtesy of Jeff Scher

Penobscot Maritime Museum officials are raffling what I’m told is is a very fine replica of a Wabanaki
birchbark canoe of the early 19th century.

The Wabanakis were the indigenous people of Maine and New Brunswick, and included the Micmac, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Malecite and Abenaki tribes, and the canoe certainly sounds splendid from the description. It’s 16ft overall and made from birchbark lashed to white cedar gunwales using split spruce root, with seams sealed with a mixture of pine sap and fat.

It was built at the museum by a team of Native Americans from Maine and New Brunswick, led by Maine boatbuilder Steve Cayard; and the proceeds of the funds will be used to pay for another similar boatbuilding project at the museum in 2010.

Click here for details and to buy tickets:


More old photos of Scoter

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scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling

scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling

Doug Grierson has sent in some more old photographs that will no doubt delight the large numbers of people who have been following the Scoter story. Thanks Doug!

For more on this famous old bawley-derived yacht that was so admired by Maurice Griffiths and which passed through a long line of owners including artist Colin Grierson and son Doug, click here.

The first image is from a postcard sent by an earlier owner of Scoter to a recipient in Essex in 1907; Doug doesn’t know how or when it was passed to his mother.

The two photos of Scoter from 1994-5 at Woodbridge and Maldon show later coach roof and original windlass and circular fore-hatch; the final item is a scanned image of a water-colour by Colin Grierson dated 1932 showing the rig she had when he bought her in late 1930.


Arthur Ransome fans work to buy Swallow replica at Turk’s film prop boat auction

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Arthur Ransome film boat Swallow for sale

Swallow is included in the Turk’s sale

Swallow, one of two dinghies made for a 1974 film of Arthur Ransome’s popular children’s novel Swallows & Amazons, is up for auction in a few days and Ransome enthusiasts are looking for supporters to help raise cash to buy her.

The idea behind the campaign is to get Swallow on the water so Ransome fans can have an experience just like in the books; anyone will be allowed to sail in her for a small fee, and those who have donated to the original appeal will be given credits towards an appropriate number of sailing visits.

Volunteers who skipper Swallow for the benefit of a non-sailing crew, drive her from place to place as needed, or undertake maintenance will not be required need to contribute. However, as the organisers of the bid say, the boat is not likely to be cheap, and they will need a lot of pledges to get their attempt to buy the boat off the ground. See the group’s website here:

A separate bid to acquire the important 1906 steam launch Cygnet in the same sale has also been put together by the Heritage Steamboat Trust, the Thames Boats Trust and The Consuta Trust, which plan to bid for the important old craft and to exhibit and store her at Beale Park. The organisers believe they can access matching funds for 50 per cent of the purchase, but are also looking to enthusiasts for funds – as they say, if she was sold abroad or modified by a private buyer part of the UK’s marine heritage would be damaged or lost forever. For more information on the Cygnet project, see

The boats are part of an auction of boats used as film props currently to be held at Chatham by the long-established Thames boatyard Turk’sclick here for more on the sale.

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