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Mysterious ship returns to Brancaster pub

PUBLISHED: 14:24 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:07 11 July 2019

The Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew Jones

The Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones

A landmark model ship is back over the door of a coastal pub after being taken away for restoration work.

The Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew JonesThe Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew Jones

The Black Diamond has hung outside the Ship Inn at Brancaster since 1950.

But after 20 years without any work being carried out, her paint was flaking and her mast falling off. So staff decided it was the right time to give the vessel a revamp.

The pub spent £3,000 on a full refit including re-rigging and re-masting, along with a fresh coat of paint.

Details which were removed during a previous restoration have been replaced, making the model identical to how it looked in 1950.

The Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew JonesThe Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew Jones

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Matthew Jones, general manager at the Ship said the pub made the restoration decision in order to preserve its heritage.

He said the Black Diamond was sorely missed by customers during it's time away in dry dock.

Mr Jones said: "We get people asking about it and we've had a lot of comments since it's been down asking why it has come down and when it will go back up."

The Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew JonesThe Black Diamond has risen again at the Ship Inn in Brancaster. Photo: Matthew Jones

The model is thought to have been made by Norfolk artist John Moray-Smith, however some have argued that it was instead built by Brancaster-based photographer Geoffrey Cory-Wright, who supposedly then gifted the ship to the pub in his will. The ship's name itself is also shrouded in mystery with no one at the pub aware of why it is called the Black Diamond, or if a real life ship of the same name ever existed.

Moray-Smith is well-known in Norfolk for his sculpture work for Morgan's Pubs in the 1940s and 1950s, with many of his works on display in Norfolk drinking spots such as Norwich's Coachmakers Arms and Prince of Denmark and the now-closed Jolly Farmers in King's Lynn.

Just over a year ago, chef Chris Coubrough sold the Ship Inn to hospitality firm the Chaplin Group in a £1.5m deal. At the time of the purchase, Chaplin Group promised a "refreshing raft of changes" at the pub.

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