Folding boats at the Isle of Wight Classic Boat Museum, Newport

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Berthon collapsible rescue boat

Folding ship's lifeboat built by Salter

(Top) The Reverend Berthon’s collapsible rescue boat.
(Immediately above) Salter’s folding ship’s lifeboat

My partner Julie has just returned from the Isle of Wight with a nice collection of photos, from the island’s Classic Boat Museum at Newport.

Folding boats have been a popular theme on this weblog and I’ve had small folding boats very much in mind in the last few days after an unpleasant late-night incident in an inflatable, so I thought I should start with a couple of new examples I haven’t seen before.

The first is a Berthon collapsible lifeboat designed by the Reverend Edward Lyon Berthon, and built at Romsey, close to Southampton across the water. Apparently Berthon began designing his folding lifeboats after one of his clergymen survived a shipwreck in 1849. This particular boat was probably built fairly early on – that is, close to 150 years ago.

The second was constructed by Salters of Oxford, in what is believed to have been the year 1898. I gather the museum is exploring its options with a view to getting the boat back to a launchable condition. I do hope they manage it.

Thanks for the photos Julie!

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