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A chance to get behind the scenes with a traditional boat builder at the Dock Museum

Shipwright Hamish Patterson and Sabine Skae of The Dock Museum with Herbert Leigh

The Dock Museum is offering visitors a unique chance to get behind the scenes with Patterson Boatworks on 25 July. Master craftsman and senior shipwright, Hamish Patterson of Patterson Boatworks, will talk about Herbert Leigh’s historical significance and her conservation journey.

Herbert Leigh was the longest serving lifeboat at the Barrow RNLI station from 1951 – 1982. She was donated to the RNLI in 1951 by Herbert Leigh. In 30 years of service she was launched 136 times and saved 71 lives. She was donated to The Dock Museum at Barrow-in-Furness in 1990 and first underwent conservation work by Patterson Boatworks in 2006.

Shipwright Hamish Patterson of Patterson Boatworks

Hamish Patterson has over twenty years of experience of building, conserving, restoring and caring for wooden boats. The talk will give visitors an amazing insight into the conservation of historical lifeboat, Herbert Leigh. The event aims to encourage the community to engage more meaningfully with specialists working in wooden boat conservation, providing an opportunity showcase traditional boat building skills and learning about traditional conservation techniques.

Hamish will be giving a free talk and tour in the outdoor boat tent at 2pm – 2:45pm. The talk is free but booking is essential through the Dock Museum reception.

Hamish Patterson says: “This event will allow people to orientate themselves in the conservation of Herbert Leigh and historic vessels. The Watson Class lifeboat was shaped by those who built her. She has her very own special heritage and it is our job to conserve that.

Herbert Leigh is an integral part of Cumbrian maritime history, and we are so proud to have been chosen to conserve her. Herbert Leigh was a star in her day and has that “something” that retains her as a classic. You will hear about our exceptional conservation journey with Herbert Leigh.

Visitors will hear about the traditional techniques we use, married with modern reinforcement technologies. My aim is to teach people about these important skills; by taking people on the journey with us will keep interest in boat building and traditional boat building skills alive. If I achieve this in my life, then my job is done.”

Patterson Boatworks are well-known boat builders for restoration, conservation and repair of wooden and historical vessels. Patterson Boatworks also restored 19th century gaff cutter, White Rose for The Dock Museum where she remains a piece in the museum’s collection.

Sabine Skae, Collections and Exhibitions Manager of the Dock Museum said: “It’s always exciting to get behind the scenes and see the latest progress on Herbert Leigh. The talk will be very interesting for both specialists and non specialists.”

A grant of £120,000, from leading waste management company FCC Environment, is being used to conserve the lifeboat Herbert Leigh and the site is due to be landscaped shortly. A green space with mature trees and benches will be installed in October which will enhance the view of Walney Channel and a walkway built from the car park to the museum. The money was awarded through the FCC Communities Foundation.

FCC Environment is the leading UK waste and resource management company and is part of a global group with a strong heritage in providing services for communities and business.

FCC Communities Foundation is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

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