Joe Farrow asks about a fishing boat restoration at Southwold

Southwold fishing boat restoration photographed by Joe Farrow

Southwold fishing boat restoration photographed by Joe Farrow Southwold fishing boat restoration photographed by Joe Farrow Southwold fishing boat restoration photographed by Joe Farrow

Just when I was thinking we’ve been a little low on restoration projects lately, these photos and their accompanying enquiry arrived from Joe Farrow. They’re from the fascinating little harbour at Southwold, which today seems to me to be just the same as it was when I first visited as a kid with my father, four and a half decades ago.

Here’s what Joe says:

‘Hi Gavin,

‘Long time no speak! Today while walking down the harbour at Southwold I spotted something which I hope will interest you.

‘Basically, it’s an old fishing boat, which I suspect many years ago was a sailing vessel. She came out of the water, looking particularly sorry for herself some time ago now. It appears someone is gradually rebuilding her, in so much that they appear to have grafted in two new planks on the port side, and scarfed in new sections of the frames around the bulwarks.

‘I was fascinated, and wondered if anyone knew anymore about her, and so took lots of photos. If they are of use to you and your blog, please do use them!

‘Cheers, Joe’

With that elegant stern I think Joe may be right. Can anyone help him with the background of this boat please? If so, please email me at or use the Comment button below.

For more posts relating to Southwold including the wonderful 19th century gentleman’s yacht Leila, click here.

And finally – if you have a story you’d like to share, do please let me know!

PS – Check the comments link below to read an informative comment on what’s happening with this boat, which turns out to be a bawley (for more posts mentioning bawleys, click here). Also, the photo below is one of the same craft some time ago.

Bawley at Southwold





Frank Carr writing on bawleys

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‘The Leigh bawleys which formĀ  the subject of Mr Mason’s drawing are a type that it is indeed a pity to see vanishing from the Thames Estuary and giving place to a class of modern motor craft, less pleasing in design, where sails are but auxiliary to power.’

Frank Carr describes the history and development of the lovely bawley. Of course, these days I’m sure we’d be happy to preserve examples of the bawley’s successor – no doubt it too was a handsome carvel-built craft, even if Carr found them a little too plain and modern to be interesting.

carr-and-mason-p5 carr-and-mason-p6 carr-and-mason-p71

carr-and-mason-p8 carr-and-mason-p9 carr-and-mason-p10

carr-and-mason-p11 carr-and-mason-p12 carr-and-mason-p13

carr-and-mason-p14 carr-and-mason-p15

For more posts on bawleys at, click here.

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Bawleys off the Nore

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Bawley’s off the Nore drawing by Frank Mason

This is the frontispiece from Vanishing Craft: British Coastal Craft in the Last Days of Sail by Frank G G Carr with drawings by Frank Mason.

Published in 1934, the book was written by Carr with the aim of persuading the yachtsmen, curators and scholars of the time to record and record the last small sailing working boats. I don’t know how influential it was, but it stands as a charming and informative piece of work.

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