Historic boats to set sail again

Southern Queen SUS-171122-121232001
Southern Queen SUS-171122-121232001

Eastbourne’s historic pleasure boats could soon be back afloat as a working heritage attraction, thanks to recent donations to a new restoration project.

Allchorn Maritime Trust, have begun restoration of the Southern Queen, one of Eastbourne’s former pleasure boats, built in Westham back in 1950.

Grounded on Fisherman’s Green beach in recent years, the project has been taken on by boat builder and former coastguard Lloyd Stebbings, naval architect Daniel Goldsmith and marine scientist Denise Goldsmith.

The aim of the project is to restore her and the ‘William Allchorn’, returning both vessels to the sea as working heritage attractions.

The works have been possible thanks to volunteers and donations from local businesses. Featuring on the National Register for Historic Ships, the Southern Queen could be afloat in as little as two and a half years as a working pleasure boat, subject to ongoing donations, with the William Allchorn to follow after.

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 viewing platform also displays a small exhibition detailing 235 years of pleasure boat heritage with artefacts possibly dating as far back as the early 1800’s.

Cllr Margaret Bannister said: “It is wonderful to see these beautiful boats finally beginning their transformation back to former glory.”

For a glimpse at the latest restoration work or to visit the heritage exhibition, visit the boat shed at Fisherman’s Green on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

For more information or to donate visit www.allchornpleasureboattrust.org.uk or call 07885 022436.