National Historic Ships network Shipshape East Anglia meets for the first time at Lowestoft

Shipshape network

Shipshape East Anglia members network at the International Boatbuilding Training College, Lowestoft

Over 40 boatbuilders, historic vessel owners, suppliers and trainees met as a group earlier this month for the first time at a meeting organised by the Shipshape Network in East Anglia.

The forum took place at the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) at Lowestoft, where they were addressed by National Historic Ships UK policy and project manager Hannah Cunliffe.

The event marked the launch of a series of new Shipshape East Anglia pages for the region – these list and detail 85 historic vessels in the area, and over 50 boat building companies and specialist suppliers. The IBTC is to act as local hub for network and is to provide local support and advice to members, a regional base and access to facilities.

Regional projects presented at the event include:

The Shipshape Network is managed by National Historic Ships UK, the independent government funded organisation representing the interests of historic vessels in the UK. The Network provides a framework for all those with an interest in ship conservation and is home to the National Directory of Skills & Services, promoting the regeneration of traditional maritime skills and techniques.

Bid to restore Portsmouth Dockyard Boathouse and open Portsmouth branch of the IBTC gets initial approval

Photo: Peter Facey, via Wikimedia Commons

Heritage Lottery Fund officials have announced that a bid to develop Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Boathouse no 4 to include a traditional boat building training centre run by the International Boatbuilding Training College has successfully passed the first stage of its application for funding.

If the bid is successful, Boathouse no 4, which was constructed during the massive 1930s period of re-armament and used for constructing the secret three man midget X-Craft submarine during World War II, will be restored and opened to the public as the Boatbuilding & Heritage Skills Training Centre.

Visitors will be able to watch traditional boat building in action, as well as enjoy exhibitions on the story of small boats in the British Navy.

As well as securing the future of Boathouse 4, the project is expected to help produce the craftsmen needed to preserve iconic ships such as HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, although graduates will leave the academy with carpentry and engineering skills to enable them to develop careers in the marine and heritage sectors more generally.

The Portsmouth branch of the IBTC will be in addition to the long-established college near Lowestoft in Suffolk.

See the Heritage Lottery Fund announcement.

The Leila Sailing Trust appeals for a little more financial help

The magnificent restored Victorian gentleman’s sailing yacht Leila has her new transom and new stanchions required by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s requirements for guard rails. The windlass has been fitted, and down below the ballast is secured with a wooden lattice. The electrics are all in conduit and waterproof boxes, a bilge alarm has been fitted and Perkins the engine runs sweetly.

It all sounds good – but the Leila Sailing Trust is running low on cash and desperately needs £2000 to finish their work so that they can move her at the end of the month to Lowestoft, where she will have a new berth close to the International Boatbuilding Training College – which I gather is likely to be providing advice.

Leila’s currently being worked on in Southwold Harbour.

The Leila Sailing Trust is therefore putting out an impassioned appeal: after all their work, can anyone chip in to help them get over the next few weeks, and take the next beg step towards getting this wonderful old lady back to sea? Contact them via the website.