Restoration work on the King’s Lynn boat, Baden Powell progressing well

Restoration work on the Baden Powell boat is progressing well.

Restoration work on the Baden Powell boat is progressing well. - Credit: IAN BURT

The restoration of a historic King's Lynn cockling boat is progressing well with new planks replacing those in the hull that kept her afloat over a fishing career of more than 80 years.

Work on the Baden Powell, which dates back to 1900, is being done at Brian Kennell's St Osyth boatyard near Colchester, thanks to a £76,300 grant to the King's Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

By August next year the Baden Powell will be back in Lynn, floating in the Lower Purfleet by the Custom House, complete with a reconditioned engine.

The final part of the renovation will take place there in full view of the public – mast and superstructure, sails and navigation aids, and seating for 12 passengers.

Then she'll sail out into the River Great Ouse ready to give Lynn people and visitors the experience of sailing in the town's own historic boat.

Trust secretary Ken Hill said: 'The next year won't be easy, as money needed to restore an old boat is notoriously difficult to estimate.

'It was thought that some of the old planks might be retained. But though some looked good enough, the exterior concealed rot. Estimates are already being exceeded.

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'But this is a worthwhile cause for a town with such a proud maritime history in fishing, trade and discovery.

'It's not widely known that a Lynn man was in the first crew to circumnavigate the Americas. That was 50 years before the Baden Powell was built.'

Last month's popular Maritime Heritage Night at Hanse House brought £450 into the funds, and a spring exhibition in the Custom House is expected to boost the project further.

The boat, which was rescued from gradual deterioration by the trust, left her berth for the last decade in Terrington St John, near Lynn, earlier this year. The boat was lifted onto a trailer and driven to the Essex boatyard.

If you would like to donate towards the restoration work, send a cheque to the King's Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust, 23 Chapel Street, King's Lynn PE30 1EG or call 01553 772329.

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