The restoration of two iconic vessels – the Spurn Lightship and the museum trawler Arctic Corsair – is progressing apace, while work has started on a new multi-million-pound maritime heritage centre in Hull, reports Brian W Lavery.

Painting in progress on the Arctic Corsair at Dunston’s Ship Repairs.

The Spurn Lightship, which once played a key role guiding vessels as they navigated the Humber estuary, has had a new coat of paint in the final stages of her restoration at Dunston’s Ship Repairs, returning her to her original black.

The lantern and light are also being repaired. Once this is complete, the lightship will return to a temporary spot in Hull Marina while work is completed on her permanent wet berth at the northwest corner of the marina. The lightship is expected to reopen to visitors in summer 2023.

The work to create the new visitor centre which will feature the Arctic Corsair as a centrepiece also got underway last month.

Located at the former North End Shipyard, it will be built to ‘Passivhaus’ standards, meaning that it will require very little energy to run.

Hull construction company Ashcourt Construction has been appointed to undertake the work as part of Hull Maritime, a locally led council regeneration project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Spurn Lightship before and after repainting.

The new visitor attraction will enable visitors to get up close to the trawler and learn more about what it was like to work aboard, with first- hand experiences from former trawlermen. It will also highlight the historical significance of the shipyard, which will have its story told for the first time.

North End Shipyard will also become the new dry berth for the city’s last remaining Scotch Derrick crane, which is also being restored.

Once work at Dunston’s Ship Repairs is completed, Arctic Corsair will sail down the Humber estuary and river Hull one final time, making her way to the former shipyard. It is expected that the new visitor attraction will open in summer 2024.

Last month, the Arctic Corsair was awarded Virtual Flagship status for 2022 from National Historic Ships UK at a ceremony at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.

Applications were received from a range of operational and static craft on the National Registers based on their seasonal programmes and outreach projects.

The Arctic Corsair closed to the public in 2019 because of Covid-19, so a set of virtual learning resources were developed to keep the public in touch with her history and heritage.

A set of four films called Tales from a Trawlerman were made to introduce people to key areas of the vessel. The videos, featuring local actor Gordon Meredith, were available during the pandemic and are also used as a resource for schools.

A virtual model for primary schools was also developed, giving pupils a virtual tour of the trawler.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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