The iconic Great Yarmouth steam drifter Lydia Eva left the river Yare last week and headed out to sea under its own power for the first time since undergoing significant boiler repairs.

Pending an inspection from a marine surveyor, the Lydia Eva plans on recommencing public trips in around July.

Paul Witton, ship manager, said: “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get her up to where she is and to get everything certified. All this work has been done by volunteers, so it has taken a fair amount of time, but it is a good day.”

Passengers will have a chance to join the crew on six-hour sails, stoking the boilers and steering Lydia Eva. On such a trip, the steam drifter can burn up to two tonnes of coal.

Mr Witton said, “It would be the hottest day of the year that we got her going again!”

The Lydia Eva was completed in 1930, with the hull built in King’s Lynn and the engine built in Great Yarmouth.

The vessel went on to have a relatively short career off the coast of Scotland in the declining fishing industry, before being requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1942, where she was used for salvage work, removing fallen aircraft from the seas.

In 1969, The Maritime Trust was founded in order to preserve Britain’s maritime heritage, and the Lydia Eva was purchased by the trust in 1971, as she was the last remaining vessel of her kind.

By 1986, the Lydia Eva found herself moored in West India Docks in London, following the closure of a maritime exhibition in the capital.

In 1989, the Lydia Eva Charitable Trust was formed, and by 1990 the boat was purchased and returned to Great Yarmouth.
Following £750,000-worth of heritage lottery-funded repairs, the boat reopened as a floating museum in 2009. The Lydia Eva is open seven days a week and entry is free.

For details, visit:


Subscribe to Fishing News magazine today; never miss an issue and save 55%!