The Public Consultation for a proposed new Thames-side museum, which will house the Rose Toop Collection of historic boats has now closed. 

The Rose Toop Collection consists of nearly 40 boats from the ‘Golden Age’ of wooden boatbuilding on the Thames, providing examples of unpowered, open launch, tender and steam. It began in the late 1960s when hand-built wooden river craft were superseded by fibreglass.

If the application is successful, the new museum will be built on the site of Hobbs Boatyard, opposite the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, which Rose Toop Collection owner Adam Toop purchased in October 2020.  

Substantial investment is planned for the boatyard, which will be operated on a not-for-profit basis and in the absence of sponsorship. Facilities will be both improved and expanded for the benefit of the small community of marine businesses that operate from the site, the boat owners they serve, along with traditional boat clubs and societies. 

In operation since the late 19th century, Hobbs will also retain an important presence, continuing their operations on approximately one third of the site, leased back to them on extended terms to ensure continuity. 

The planning application is for a vintage boat collection of National significance, and aims include: re-finishing the current barns on the site in wood, adopting materials originally employed in the construction of the historic sheds lost to fire; the creation of suitable environment to properly store and maintain the Rose Toop Collection; a mezzanine area for safely viewing the Collection while providing access to the Collection’s archives and library; erection of a workshop to provide restoration and maintenance space for boats in the Collection; support for the existing small, specialist marine businesses based at the boatyard through improved, secure facilities; and additional moorings, which would be made available for owners for the seasonal mooring of other recreational vintage boats of similar pedigree to the boats and craft in the Rose Toop Collection.

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