This is a collection of nigh on 400 boats and 300 plus models with supporting archive from across the world and spanning many centuries. At its core is the former Exeter Maritime Museum collection of Ethnic, European coastal, Day Sailing and other interesting craft of historic significance.
It is in the process of being moved to the East Berwickshire fishing port of Eyemouth at the centre of the stunning scenic World Heritage East Coast Scottish Border landscape. Here the collection will be progressively restored and conserved as an asset of global significance.
Many of the craft are unique and are the last known examples of their kind anywhere in the world. Put together over a period of 50 years they represent the story of mankind and his need to cross water for reasons of trade, fishing, emigration, escape, war and last but by no means least, pleasure.
Where practical, the craft will be returned to their natural element and will be displayed afloat. Others will be restored as shoreside displays to tell the story of the men and women who worked or sailed them. The boats successes, failures, their designs and uses, their construction, materials, their places of origin and their relevance to one another will be explained in a comprehensible way. The collection also includes many hundreds of models, photographs and plans as well as a library and other archive material.
Eyemouth, with its port development, its continuous tradition of trading, fishing and its smuggling past, contains many classic architectural gems. These include built by the Adam Brothers and other listed buildings which form its quaint narrow streets and wynds. The town will be a fitting home for all that the World of Boats brings, newly constructed conservation workshops, its stock of boats some finished, others unfinished, its library, its skills based training, its film-making opportunities and outstanding location.
With classic boats afloat on its new 100 metre pontoon and home base for deep sea sail training and day sailing operations the Georgian Harbour and new multi- million deep water basin will come alive to the progressive expansion of boats on show, creating a veritable forest of masts and spars. A new subject specific display is to be built on the harbour side conservation area of the old town with craft relevant to each exhibition afloat alongside the town’s old fish market quay.
The gateway by road to the harbour is sign posted by Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s 1834 Steam powered puddle iron Drag Boat, ‘Bertha’, at present under restoration as part of the National Heritage list of Historic Ships.
The harbour side and water within will become the venue for regular displays and a biennial Maritime Festival, ‘Sea, Salts & Sail, Scotland’ with invitations extended across the world to visiting ships, trades and professional performers alike to absorb and exude the history and friendship of the maritime tradition and sample the hospitality that Eyemouth has to offer.
Deep water sail training for young and old of both sexes will be managed and operated on historic craft based in the port. These will include ‘Silvery Light’ a 120 year old Cornish Herring Drifter built at St. Ives, 80 feet in length and recently re-rigged as a West Country Ketch of her period.