A disagreement has broken out over the restoration of Eastbourne’s historic pleasure boats.
The Allchorn family has asked that their name is no longer used for the project which aims to bring the boats to their former glory.
Allchorn Maritime Trust – comprising boat builder Lloyd Stebbings, naval architect Daniel Goldsmith, and marine scientist Denise Goldsmith – has taken on the task of repairing the historic boats William Allchorn and Southern Queen and putting them back to work along the seafront.
But the Allchorns have distanced themselves from the project, saying the family business was sold in 1996 and, being in such a state of disrepair, the boats can never operate as they once did.
In an open letter shared with this newspaper the family said, “In recent years, given the state the boats have been allowed to get into, Brian [Allchorn] is firmly of the opinion that they can never operate as they have done and therefore the pleasure boating business that he passed on is finished. This view is shared by all of us involved in the family. Brian has made his thoughts clear to the current owners on many occasions.
“Considering all of the above, Brian feels, as do the rest of the family, that it’s now time to remove the Allchorn name from your ongoing ventures in the restoration of the boats and other craft.”
Work has begun on Southern Queen, one of Eastbourne’s former pleasure boats, built in Westham back in 1950. The project, made possible by local donations and volunteers, aims to return both vessels to the sea as working heritage attractions. Thanks to the creation of a new Maritime Education and Heritage Centre, visitors can see the works for themselves, with an upstairs viewing platform overlooking the working restoration area at Fisherman’s Green.
The Herald asked the Allchorn Maritime Trust for comment but had no reply at the time of going to press.