Hestercombe Gardens get a new Edwardian-style punt

Lyme Regis boatbuilders The Beautiful Boat Company have constructed a punt for the Hestercombe Gardens Trust, based on old photographs from 1904 of the boat being used on the garden’s Pear Pond. The launch was a few days ago, and I’d guess the folks involved had some fun recreating the most striking of the old photos. See old black and white and new colour photos in the gallery above.

I’m quite sure the The Beautiful Boat Company would be very happy to work to more commissions based on old photographs!

Hestercombe combines three gardens covering three centuries of garden history and design, including a Edwardian formal garden designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and planted by Gertrude Jekyll between 1904-1908, a Victorian shrubbery and terrace originally laid out by the 1st Viscount Portman between 1873-77, and an 18th century landscape garden designed by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde between 1750 and 1791.

The punt project began when Hestercombe Gardens Trust chief executive Philip White found six photographs of a punt from about 1904. The photos show a slightly unusual punt shorter and deeper than most estate or lake punts, and finely built in the Thames style.

The discover sparked an ambition to see a punt back on Pear Pond again; Philip suspects the original was sold at an estate sale in 1951.

Evidence from a boat house in the grounds suggested the punt was up to about 18 feet. A chance meeting between Philip and Simon Olszowski of The Beautiful Boat Company and graduate of the Lyme Regis’ Boat Building Academy, led to the punt commission.

It is built from a mix of timbers including iroko and sapele, and also teak reclaimed from East Reach Hospital in Taunton, where the Portman ward was sponsored by Hestercombe’s last private owners, and is named Constance after the lady of the house at the time it was built.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.