Tuesday 5 June 2012

Lenox study day: booking now!

The study day will be held at the Master Shipwrights House

Deptford Is.. in collaboration with Build the Lenox is now inviting bookings for the Lenox Study Day on Wednesday 11 July.

The former Deptford Royal Dockyard played a leading role in the development of naval ship-building technology. This role was particularly significant in the Restoration period, when Deptford was the focus of the thirty-ship programme launched by Samuel Pepys in 1677. Lenox was the first of these ships to be built; by 1700, these magnificent vessels were held responsible for elevating the Royal Navy to its position as the world’s leading maritime power.

Build the Lenox and Deptford Is.. have put together a special study day focusing on Deptford's dockyard in the Restoration period, and in particular on the early naval history and ship-building technology which the Lenox represents.

Speakers include the country's leading academics and experts on the naval history of the time; a line-up of the most prominent experts in this field including Peter LeFevre, David Davies, Richard Endsor, Peter Goodwin and Brian Lavery.

We will also present an update on the progress of the Hermione Project in France, which inspired the idea behind Build the Lenox.

The study day will take place at the Master Shipwrights House in Deptford: the former home of John Shish, the king's master shipwright who was responsible for designing and building the Lenox and her sister ships.

Full details of the study day and how to book can be found on the Build the Lenox site. Please note that only 40 tickets are available so early booking is recommended.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Build The Lenox skipper in Thames Pageant

Cathia cruises past large lifeboat crew at Tower Bridge (from BBC TV coverage)

Cathia spotted heading home as weather worsens (picture taken from Surrey Docks Farm)

Julian Kingston, the brains behind The Lenox Project, took part in the Thames Jubilee Pageant today. His boat, Cathia, processed in the Lifeboat Section within the larger category of "Historic & Service" in the middle of the 1000-strong flotilla (and terrible weather!).

Twelve years ago, Julian – a boat builder by trade – rescued the Cathia from destruction and brought it back to his moorings in Deptford Creek. With the hull in fine condition, Julian set about rebuilding the main cabin and cockpit, and most recently he has been restoring the fore cabin and galley area to get her into shape for the pageant.

Cathia, with Julian's wife, Jeannie, being made ready this week

The boat was originally a lifeboat, and like many boats of its age (it was built in 1924), it was converted to a motor cruiser in the 40s. "Adam Hart-Davies wrote a book on how to convert working boats into motor cruisers and leisure boats," says Julian. "Standard conversions of ships like lifeboats were very cheap to do". Quite a few working boats were rehabilitated at around that time by amateur enthusiasts for whom sailing and motor cruising would otherwise have been financially prohibitive. But there are very few boats like this remaining, which makes Cathia special enough to be included in the flotilla.

Cathia left Deptford Creek on Friday morning to muster at West India Quay, where they spent the night before progressing to the main mustering area upstream of Hammersmith on Saturday. Later this month, Julian will be travelling to France, eventually to Rochefort where the town will be celebrating the launch of the hull of the replica warship Hermione in early July.

Cathia arrives back in Deptford Creek. Thanks to Tina Oregan for the photo.