A community group from Cellardyke has formed to restore one of the few remaining 1930s ring-net boats still left afloat. Manx Beauty is lying in Birkenhead and needs to be transported to the East Neuk of Fife, reports David Linkie.
Manx Beauty PL 35 was launched into Cellardyke harbour along with her sistership Manx Fairy PL 43 on 11 June, 1937. Together with two other boats, Manx Lad and Manx Lass, the ring-netters were ordered as part of a Manx government initiative to revive the Isle of Man fishing industry.
Main image: Manx Beauty passing the Liver Buildings on the river Mersey last month.
By subsidising a fleet of state-of-the-art ring-netters, the Manx government hoped to encourage young Manxmen back to the fishing. The Isle of Man had a huge sailing fishing fleet which declined very rapidly into the 20th century, and very little investment was put into steam-powered fishing vessels.
By the 1930s, comparatively few young men on the island saw prospects in fishing, and the large ring-net fleets of the west coast of Scotland and boats from Ireland were working their waters very successfully.
Manx Beauty and Manx Fairy were built at Cellardyke as a result of provost Willie Carstairs, a successful local businessman who had previously commissioned several new builds for local skippers, setting up the East Fife Boatbuilding Company in a redundant boatyard just east of the harbour.
Sold to Beaumaris in 1954, Manx Beauty subsequently moved to Skibbereen (1960), Campbeltown (1966), Tobermory (1968) and Padstow (1972). Arthur Maddock took Manx Beauty to Birkenhead in 1974, where the boat has remained since. Towards the end of her active career, Manx Beauty was berthed at Birkenhead as a fish shop, selling fish caught by Arthur Maddock Jr, working a steel boat.
In order to achieve the immediate priority of returning Manx Beauty to Cellardyke for restoration, a campaign has been started to raise approximately £5,000 to cover low-loader transportation and carriage costs from Birkenhead.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Bring Back the Beauty campaign, or get information on the boat, is asked to email: firstname.lastname@example.org