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Lottery aids ship project

Jonny Bell (Heritage Boat Builder with BTS) shaking hands with Ellen Creighton (HLF) plus volunteer Phil Charlton, with trainees of the Blyth Tall Ship Project looking on.

Jonny Bell (Heritage Boat Builder with BTS) shaking hands with Ellen Creighton (HLF) plus volunteer Phil Charlton, with trainees of the Blyth Tall Ship Project looking on.

Nearly £100,000 of lottery funding will bring part of Blyth’s shipbuilding history to life.

The Blyth Tall Ship project has received £99,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore the town’s shipbuilding and Antarctic heritage from the 1800s.

The project will also carry out research to bring to life the lost story of the discovery of the Antarctic landmass from Blyth in 1819 by Captain William Smith, and includes the purchase and restoration of a tall ship.

A total of 100 young people will be trained over three years through restoring three iconic sailing vessels.

The quayside location at South Harbour, Blyth, will be open to the public with a museum, boats on display, restoration work in progress and a schools programme.

Clive Gray, chief executive of Blyth Tall Ship, said: “The opportunity to restore and have a tall ship in Blyth as a centrepiece of a working boat yard, training centre and museum will be transformational for the many thousands who will visit and be involved.”

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: “This is excellent news for the local community and a fantastic project for the young people of Blyth who will be able to experience first-hand training and develop their skills in modern engineering by means of heritage boat building.”

Ivor Crowther, head of the HLF North East, added: “This project will bring the story of shipbuilding to life for visitors and the local community.

“It will create a first class heritage skill training centre that will not only teach people practical heritage skills, but will also ensure the survival of an historic ship.”

A new training and accreditation scheme will be developed with the team at Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives to support volunteers in the digitisation of the Port of Blyth’s archive collection.

This collection will then be published through a web portal, allowing online public access for the first time.

Volunteers will also research and develop museum displays around the early ship building and Antarctic heritage of Blyth.

 

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