Lundy ferry Oldenburg in dry dock at Appledore in 1993
The dry dock as it is today
The good folks of Appledore in North Devon have got in touch to alert intheboatshed.net readers about another cause that’s well worth protecting – the fishing village’s grade II* listed dry dock completed in 1856.
In terms of importance, that grade II* listing puts it on a par with Jacobean mansions and medieval manor houses.
It seems Faversham’s Standard Quay (see the top left) is certainly not the only important maritime site at risk in this country.
The Appledore dock was built for an extraordinary-sounding business first established during the Napoleonic era by local businessman James Yeo. After Napoleon Bonaparte blocked supplies of shipbuilding timber from the Baltic, Yeo had the idea of part-building ships in Canada. They were completed to a seaworthy stage, packed with a cargo of timber, and towed across the Atlantic to Appledore for completion.
It sounds strange now, but it was obviously successful as it continued long after the Napoleons rule in Europe was over.
An organisation known as Celebrating Appledore’s Shipping Heritage (CASH) was set up in 2003 to fight inappropriate housing development on the historic site, which is known as Richmond Dock.
The situation now is that a local developer has appealed the latest refusal of planning ppermission and there is to be a public inquiry. The timescale for submitting alternative plans is mid-May so the clock is ticking is ticking for CASH, which is putting together a fully-costed business plan to place a maritime heritage centre on the site of the dry dock.
This would include the reinstating the dock for boat maintenance and repair and providing boat storage on-site, but also a museum, educational and gallery facilities, rentable office and workshop units, a retail area and a cafe.
As part of its campaign, CASH is seeking expressions of interest from prospective users of the site who may wish to use the dry dock, visit the centre, or work with the trust perhaps by providing help and advice on how to set up a successful heritage centre – and, of course, sources of funds.