Celebrating local boatbuilding over the centures

Ipswich Maritime Trust, new window museum display - boatbuilding in Ipswich and on the Orwell

Ipswich Maritime Trust, new window museum display - boatbuilding in Ipswich and on the Orwell - Credit: Archant

The latest Ipswich Waterfront Window Museum display, put together by the Window Wizards of the Ipswich Maritime Trust - is a celebration of local yacht and boat building.

Ipswich Maritime Trust's latest Waterfront window museum highlights boatbuilding over the centuries.

Ipswich Maritime Trust's latest Waterfront window museum highlights boatbuilding over the centuries. Des Pawson with the Woolverstone clam shell folding dingy and its original price ticket - £37 10 shillings. - Credit: Archant

There has been a port at Ipswich for centuries, and boatbuilding for much of it.

In past centuries both Ipswich and its river were famed throughout the world for the innovation and quality of its shipbuilding, both for wartime and peaceful trading purposes.

This is well documented, celebrating such famous names as Sir Thomas Slade, the designer of Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and Richard Gower the designer and builder of the revolutionary ship Transit.

There is a Slade Stree today, close to the Waterfront, and Thomas Slade is buried in St Clement’s churchyard.


You may also want to watch:


Ipswich’s reputation for the quality and skilled shipbuilding had already been established in past centuries, such that many of the Admiratly-commissioned ships were built here for a time, until the supply of oak became depleted.

Stuar Grimade of Ipswich Maritime Trust said shipbuilding had continued over the centuries.

Most Read

“What is perhaps not so well appreciated is that, since the early days of yachting for pleasure, this same tradition of invention and world-beating revolutionary design flourished and continues to flourish in local boatyards. This display celebrates them.”

Stuart Grimwade, Ipswich Maritime Trust director, said: “It is incredible how much inventive talent there has been in the industry over the years.

“They have introduced so many ideas, locally, that have gone on to be used in the industry worldwide.

“They have been so innovative.”

Among the items in the window museum display is the folding dinghy developed by Austin Farrar of Woolverstone Shipyard in 1958.

Des Pawson said: “It was known as the Woolverstone clam shell. He still have the original price ticket, which is great, £37 10 shillings.”

“We also feature the wing sail which he developed from 1966 which they use around the world today - even in the Americas Cup.

“He was in the forefront of design,” added Stuart.

Present day boatyards keep alive these skills from the most traditional wooden boat building, to the most modern. Stuart added: “As well as a unique combination of the two in the case of Spirit Yachts, in their premises on the island site in Ipswich dock.

“It is hardly surprising they were chosen to provide James Bond’s yacht for the film Casino Royale, as seen in a large photograph in this display.

“Unfortunately Daniel Craig seems to have preferred mooring this beautiful Ipswich-built yacht in Venice rather than Ipswich dock -maybe next time?”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter