King’s Lynn heritage boat restoration has to be completed using non-Norfolk timber

The Baden Powell Worfolk fishing boat at St Osyth boatyard in Essex. Photo: BRIAN KENNELL ANL-160921-115009001
The Baden Powell Worfolk fishing boat at St Osyth boatyard in Essex. Photo: BRIAN KENNELL ANL-160921-115009001

Painstaking restoration work on the 1900 cockling boat Baden Powell is continuing but hit some unexpected snags, supporters have been told.

It was hoped originally to have the craft built at the Worfolk shipyard in Lynn back on the water this year.

But project leader Tim Clayton told a meeting of the King’s Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust held at the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club on Friday, that although the work being done at the St Osyth boatyard is Essex on the 34ft hull is “brilliant” delays meant it will be next year before it is back sailing on the River Ouse.

He said: “We found we could not use our donated Norfolk larch for cladding the hull because of an outbreak of unexpected rot. So we secured some iroko for the job. As a result, she looks almost like a yacht rather than a working boat. But in lines and spirit she is still a 100 per cent Norfolk fishing boat – as everyone will see when she is back in Lynn.”

He added: “Our first estimates of how much this project would cost were worked out assuming we would be able to reuse many of the timbers that were serviceable when she was last cockling – in the 1980s.

“Those estimates formed the basis of our application for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). In the event, almost all the timbers needed replacing.

“That has meant more work, more time and, unsurprisingly, more money. Something like £30,000 more.”

Ninety per cent of the £76,300 HLF grant has been received and spent. The final £7,630 cannot be claimed until the project is complete.

He said: “It is gratifying to know that our core supporters share our vision enough to send us regular contributions. We can’t thank them enough. It is their money that now keeps us going.”

Secretary Julie Williams and Mr Clayton, plus professional help, are now busy making applications for more grant funding, so that progress can continue, and the Baden Powell can be back in Lynn before the end of the year, ready for the volunteers to build the superstructure.

Then the Baden Powell will be out in the river in 2017, taking people sailing, providing young people with character-forming sail training experience, and playing a full role in promoting Lynn’s maritime heritage.