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 It began in the late 1960s when hand-built wooden river craft were superseded by fibreglass.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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Shipbuilders sculpture work to begin

Construction of a new 10-metre tall sculpture honouring Inverclyde’s shipbuilding heritage is set to begin.

Work started this week on the foundations for the giant ‘Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow’ statue, which will take pride of place in the town’s Coronation Park.

The sculpture of two stainless steel figures hard at work has been designed and built by renowned artist John McKenna following a public vote and consultation.
The artwork pays tribute to Port Glasgow and Inverclyde’s shipbuilding past.

When installed, the figures will measure 10 metres (33 feet) in height with a combined weight of 14 tonnes.

It is thought to be the largest sculptural figure of a shipbuilder in the UK and one of the biggest of its kind in Western Europe.

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Discovery is just the beginning – Trustees Wanted

We have a great team of trustees at the Nautical Archaeology Society who help promote the preservation, protection and research of our nautical heritage.

As a group of dedicated volunteer trustees we act as the company directors and are legally responsible for the operation of the society.

We are now seeking three additional trustees to strengthen the executive committee. If you are interested in discovering more about becoming a trustee contact our Chair Tim Parker or the societies CEO Mark Beattie-Edwards

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National Lottery gives Plymouth £9.5million to create UK’s first Marine Park

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has granted a £9.5m Heritage Horizon Award to establish the UK’s first National Marine Park in Plymouth Sound.

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Dunkirk Little Ship inspires new boatbuilding centre and museum

The Skylark IX Recovery Trust announced ambitious plans to secure a bright future for the much-loved Skylark IX ‘Dunkirk Little Ship’ at the heart of a new immersive heritage experience and boatbuilding training centre in Dumbarton.

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Engineers begin restoring UK’s oldest lido to former glory

The restoration of the UK’s oldest lido in Bath poses “significant engineering” challenges with the site only accessible by river.

Bristol-based construction firm Beard has begun work on the £6.2M Cleveland Pools project following a 17 year community campaign to save the Grade II-listed site.

Machinery, building materials and equipment required to carry out the major refurbishment work will be carried up-river on a pontoon pushed by a barge fitted out for the purpose.

The materials will be loaded up at the nearby Avon Rugby Club, which is being used as a base.

Built in 1815, Cleveland Pools is the oldest surviving outdoor public swimming pool in the UK.

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Dunkirk Little Ships Lost in Catastrophic fire at Otter Marine

One of the Little Ships used in the Dunkirk evacuations during the Second World War has been lost in a huge fire on an island in the River Thames.

The Lady Gay was built for Lord Alfred Dunhill, the tobacco company owner, in 1934 and took part in the historic 1940 evacuation.

Crews were called to Platt’s Eyot in Hampton, Richmond upon Thames, at around 5.15pm on Monday after reports of two industrial units on fire.

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