Keeping Traditional Seamanship Alive

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(Image from the Excelsior Trust website)

John Wylson of the Excelsior Trust will be presenting the third GMI Research Seminar of the 2011/12 academic year on Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 6pm. His paper is ‘Trying to Keep Traditional Seamanship Alive at Lowestoft : EXCELSIOR since 1989’. This particular seminar is being hosted in collaboration with the Institute of Seamanship.

EXCELSIOR is an authentically rebuilt Lowestoft smack.  She exists not only to provide an example of the type, but to maintain the knowledge of how to sail and how to look after such vessels.  In so doing, the skills of local seamen and shipwrights of three generations ago are being kept alive.   These crafts were constructed, fished and propelled sustainably and her continued existence is an important reminder of a very different age.

The seminar will take place in room 075, Queen Anne Court, Univeristy of Greenwich, SE10 9LS at 6pm. Tea & Coffee will be available from 5.30pm and a glass of wine afterwards. The seminar is free and there is no need to book, everyone is welcome.

The Massey Shaw

The Massey Shaw is a fire tender, built in 1935, which served on the River Thames and also took part in theDunkirk evacuation, after which she played a vital role during the Blitz. Today she is run by a Trust, manned by volunteers and is undergoing restoration with the aid of a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The vessel will be ready by May 2012. If you google ‘Massey Shaw’ you will find all her details and her history. But I can tell you that the great water jet which she shoots out is pretty impressive.

I have been contacted by Barbara Reid, an ex-Maritime Museum colleague, who has been helping the Trust plan the project. She has contacted me she thought that there could be people in the GMI who might take an interest in the Massey Shaw. At the end of the year the Trust will be looking for volunteers, and also for 12 passengers to take part in the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012, accompanying HMQ up theThames – one of a thousand vessels in the Pageant.

If you would like to enquire further, please let me know, and I can pass you on to the right people.

Roger Knight

Sailor’s 111 year old Christmas Pud Donated to Museum

111 year-old tinned plum pudding
A Christmas pudding has been donated to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.   The pudding was one of those sent to members of the Naval Brigade for Christmas 1900 during the Boer War from philanthropist Agnes Weston.   Agnes was the founder of the Royal Naval Sailors’ Rests in Devonport and Portsmouth, and  also superintendent of the Royal Naval Temperance Society – so not surprising that this is a ‘teetotal plum pudding’!