King’s Lynn homecoming for Baden Powell gets ever closer

Baden Powell boat under reconstruction at St Osyth boatyard in late December 2015. Photo; Mervyn Maggs ANL-161202-170258001
Baden Powell boat under reconstruction at St Osyth boatyard in late December 2015. Photo; Mervyn Maggs ANL-161202-170258001
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Supporters of the project to restore a Lynn-built fishing boat and put her on show in the centre of the town has been given a boost.

Earlier this month the renovated engine was tested for the first time in Lynn and came through its trial run with flying colours, starting first time.

Meanwhile, the hull of the Baden Powell, the unique double-ended cockling boat built in Lynn in 1900 by the famed shipbuilder Walter Worfolk, is being restored plank by plant at a boatyard in St Osyth, Essex.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has paid £30,250 to the King’s Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust this month.

The total grant is £76,300 with the final 10 per cent being paid in August at the completion of the first part of the restoration.

By then the boat will be sitting in the Lower Purfleet on public display.

The HLF grant will not cover the whole of the cost of the restoration with each month the boat is at St Osyth costing £5,000 to pay for the many skill necessary and the extra timer required to restore the boat.

Supporters have had to make up the shortfall with the Flux family in particular being very generous and donating £10,000.

Next month an exhibition opens in the Long Room of the Custom House, called Baden Powell is Coming.

It will chart the boat’s life over its 116-year history since she was launched on the River Nar – costing her new owners, the Cook family, the princely sum of £50 (plus an extra fiver and a cruet set for the family table because they were so pleased with their new boat).

The exhibition starts on Thursday, March 24, just before Easter.

It was intended that the final parts of the restoration would take place in the town centre to allow the public to view it as it reached completition.

Ken Hill, secretary of the trust, said Boal Quay, where the Baden Powell spent her early years, the Purfleet Quay and close to the Custom House, were all ruled out for various reasons.

Mr Hill said: “So we put together a mobile workshop. The borough council will allow us to bring it in when work is being done on the boat. And someone has found us a spot nearby where we can park it at other times.”