After nearly two decades of restoration work, the 34ft 6in double-ended Wash cockler, Baden Powell LN 138 (Fishing News, 2 February, 2017) finally returned to the water in the Bentinck Dock, King’s Lynn last month, reports John Worrall.
Above: A team photograph of some of those involved in the project, including project leader Tim Clayton (2nd right) and shipwright Brian Kennell (6th right).
Her significance is that she was the first boat built by Walter Worfolk after his relocation, in 1899, from Yorkshire to King’s Lynn where he established a boat-building enterprise that ran until the 1980s, when the second of his sons retired. By then, the Worfolks had built more than 600 boats of various types.
The Baden Powell never travelled far, staying in and around the Wash working the cockles until the mid-1990s, when she was left in the Fisher Fleet at Lynn, a cul-de-sac of mud berths off the Great Ouse.
In 1998, King’s Lynn jeweller, Tim Clayton helped form the King’s Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust, a charitable foundation chaired by local historian Paul Richards, to restore her to sailing condition. She was moved to a farmyard at Terrington St John in the Fens where, for a decade and a half, she sat blocked up under a sheeted scaffolding while volunteers worked on her according to the availability of skills, materials, time and money.
The project did have something of an inside run in the person of Vic Pratt who was apprenticed to the Worfolk boys at the end of the War and worked for them before eventually starting his own boat-building business, Ship Shape Marine. Vic had worked on Baden Powell more than once, and his father actually owned her for a few years.
But it eventually became apparent that the restoration had to become a rebuild and after a successful application to the National Heritage Lottery Fund had produced £76,300 in 2014, she was moved to Brian Kennell Boatbuilders at St Osyth, Essex, where shipwrights Shaun White and Brian himself, along with two assistants, completed the work.
In November 2016, she was moved back to Terrington St John for finishing and the installation of the engine and lead ingot ballast. In September, she will move from the Bentinck Dock to a mooring on the Great Ouse, from where she will provide trips for the public on the river and the Wash as a link with King’s Lynn fishing heritage.
Further details of the Baden Powell Project are available at: floatourboat.co.uk