The Watcher’s Cottage at Worbarrow – and is that Witch on the beach?

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Worbarrow, circa 1913-18. Click on the image to see a larger photo

Cottage at Worbarrow 2 Worbarrow Hill Cottage and coastguard station c1910 Cottage at Worbarrow

The Watcher’s Cottage and Coastguard Station, Worbarrow, photographed by Pat Leach and others

Sheila Leach has sent in some photos of the watcher’s cottage at Worbarrow, one of which shows a boat in the background, and I wonder whether it’s the Witch of Worbarrow, a rare Dorset crab and lobster fishing boat that can be seen at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

Witch has been getting some attention lately, as Boat Building Academy student Ian Baird has been appealing for information about her. He’s building a replica of the boat as part of his 38-week BBA course, as this earlier intheboatshed.net post and comments explain.

Sheila spotted the earlier post, and got in touch to let me know about the photos and also about a painting made from one of the shots. She says:

‘My husband’s family lived in the coast watcher’s cottage for many years. Husband Pat Leach took a photo of the area back in the 1950s or 1960s and a work colleague painted a copy. There is a boat in the background.

‘Pat’s grandfather, George Augustus Leach, is shown on the 1901 census as living at Worbarrow, and Pat’s dad, Alfred George Leach was born later that year at Warbarrow. Pat’s dad was later killed at Moreta in the 1939-1945 war.’

Thanks Sheila! Not having been to Worbarrow myself, it’s good to get a sense of place. Ian Baird will no doubt have a view about whether Witch appears in the photo.

On the subject of Witch herself, Ian has appeared on local television to appeal for information about the boat’s history. Once again, my thanks go to Chris Partridge of Rowing for Pleasure for pointing out the link.

A classic work on the beach boats of Britain is this book: Beach Boats of Britain BBA Academy students build and launch a Beer beach boat .

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