Like this page?
Send it to a friend!
One of the world's oldest mechanically propelled boats, Dolly, is to be restored in the county following a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
The grant of £465,596 is to be awarded to The Lakeland Arts Trust (LAT) by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) to save a collection of boats at the Windermere Steamboat Museum.
The collection includes the world’s oldest mechanically propelled boat named Dolly, built in 1850, as well as several of the oldest, rarest boats in Britain.
The boats in the collection were largely collected by George Pattinson, a local builder with a passion for the boating history of the Lake District.
Some vessels he owned, whilst others were donated or given on long term loan by boat enthusiasts to The Windermere Nautical Trust to be displayed in the purpose built Museum that opened in 1977.
For over a year, the charitable trust that runs Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal and Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House near Bowness, has been working on a project with the Windermere Nautical Trust to rescue the boats.
Currently they are displayed on Windermere and before they can be restored they must be lifted on to dry land. Some conservation work will then be carried out in a new temporary building erected on the Museum site.
It is this rescue operation that is being funded by the NHMF, and it is hoped that the grant will trigger a further series of grants and gifts allowing the collection to be kept together.
The Museum and its collections will become part of the Lakeland Arts Trust before the start of the salvage operation.
The boats will be lifted out of the water using custom made frames, designed to limit the stresses on the hulls.
Once out of the water they will be placed in an insulated building, with controlled levels of humidity and temperature.
Their boilers and plant will be cleaned with rust inhibiting oil and stored in the warm, dry conditions best suited to preserving metalwork; the wooden boats will be kept in relatively humid, cool conditions where the saturated timbers will dry out slowly.
Some craft need special attention because of their history – Dolly, for instance, was submerged in deep water for over 60 years and her timbers have particular problems. She will be treated prior to her lift by an expert in shipwrecks.
Once the boats are removed from the water and safely stored on the Museum site, money will then need to be raised for their restoration.
The Lakeland Arts Trust intends to recruit a team of specialist boatbuilders to restore the boats and use the operation to create a centre of excellence in the field of historic boat restoration.
New jobs are expected to be created with a training scheme being established to give local people of all ages the skills needed to maintain the boats.
As the restoration nears completion, further funds will be needed for a series of new buildings.
last updated: 20/05/2008 at 15:27