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Regarding ARIES, my extensive and expensive restoration of this boat in the 1970's was not for the purpose of financial gain.  It was in order to preserve a piece of waterways heritage.  I wrongly expected the Boat Museum to take the same view and look after it.  In the early years of their ownership all went to plan, indeed Aries was the boat chosen to give the Queen Mother a quick trip up the cut when she visited.

 

I did not really complete my full story from my archive, but I will try to find time soon.  If you check out my posts on the Aries thread under History  you will see her in restored full restored glory.  I only hope a new owner comes forward to help.  There cannot be all that many wooded boats left.

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What's the layout in the cabin on Birchills?

 

Is it the typical range, table cupboard and bed ole' with shelf/cupboard above and side bed/bench down the other side?

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1 hour ago, junior said:

What's the layout in the cabin on Birchills?

It is (or was) a traditional boatman’s cabin.  Presumably it was not taken out when it was converted, or else it was reinstated by subsequent owners. I do recall a huge gearstick in the cabin floor. 

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18 hours ago, Grawar said:

Regarding ARIES, my extensive and expensive restoration of this boat in the 1970's was not for the purpose of financial gain.  It was in order to preserve a piece of waterways heritage.  I wrongly expected the Boat Museum to take the same view and look after it.  In the early years of their ownership all went to plan, indeed Aries was the boat chosen to give the Queen Mother a quick trip up the cut when she visited.

 

I did not really complete my full story from my archive, but I will try to find time soon.  If you check out my posts on the Aries thread under History  you will see her in restored full restored glory.  I only hope a new owner comes forward to help.  There cannot be all that many wooded boats left.

I am dumbfounded at the Boat Museums apparent lack of care .

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35 minutes ago, Parahandy said:

I am dumbfounded at the Boat Museums apparent lack of care .

Lack of resource is part of the issue.

 

"There are some things that money can't buy, like loyalty, feelings and a sense of history,

and some things that only money can preserve, like those same loyalties, feelings and a sense of history."

 

Edited by Ray T

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5 minutes ago, Ray T said:

Lack of resource is part of the issue.

 

"There are some things that money can't buy, like loyalty, feelings and a sense of history,

and some things that only money can preserve, like those same loyalties, feelings and a sense of history."

 

Again Ray forgive me for my ignorance because I know shamefully little about Historic Craft and their Preservation but its a strange sort of Museum that accepts exhibits and then lets them decline in the way that Aries has , does Ellesmere still accept donations of Craft ?

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18 minutes ago, Parahandy said:

Again Ray forgive me for my ignorance because I know shamefully little about Historic Craft and their Preservation but its a strange sort of Museum that accepts exhibits and then lets them decline in the way that Aries has , does Ellesmere still accept donations of Craft ?

 

Not that I am aware of, no.

What they have done with some of the exhibits they are keeping is to put them into dry storage.

They will not be "restored" as the museum reckons it will destroy the historical integretary of how they were originally constructed.

I will not get into the ramifications of how the boats came to be as they are as it has been well covered elsewhere.

Other people have differing views however.

 

One exhibit that is being looked after in a floating condition is "Chocolate Charlie's" (Atkins) Mendip. 

 

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Edited by Ray T
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6 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

Ray, the exhibits in dry storage, are they still accessible for the public to wander round?

By prior appointment with the museum as the boats are at a different site, under lock and key, about 1/2 a mile away.

 

The folks who take you on the tour prefer a group of people, for obvious reasons, but when I went, 2018, a coach coming was delayed by an accident on the M6 so rather than keep me hanging around I got a personal tour.

Edited by Ray T

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1 hour ago, Ray T said:

 

Not that I am aware of, no.

What they have done with some of the exhibits they are keeping is to put them into dry storage.

They will not be "restored" as the museum reckons it will destroy the historical integretary of how they were originally constructed.

I will not get into the ramifications of how the boats came to be as they are as it has been well covered elsewhere.

Other people have differing views however.

 

One exhibit that is being looked after in a floating condition is "Chocolate Charlie's" (Atkins) Mendip. 

 

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Can we attach any significance to the red waste skip next to what I think is the tug Aleida, an interesting boat with what i imagine is now a rare air start Widdop  twin diesel?

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I was told it was the first of an experimental craft being sold by a Marina on the GU, turn right for London, as "Get on the housing ladder." Hence its historical significance.

The cabin was yet to be reassembled -  believe that you'll believe anything. :D

 

The skip had contents from the units previous occupier.

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16 hours ago, Parahandy said:

I am dumbfounded at the Boat Museums apparent lack of care .

I am perhaps a little more sympathetic. I have not visited the Museum in two decades or more. But, compare their exhibits with almost any other similar national museum say the RAF museum in Hendon, or the IWM Duxford, Beaulieu Motor Museum or York Railway museum. These museums need only to dust their exhibits now and then. They are static and will remain thus until the end of time. Some of the exhibits are huge, but they're under cover in hangars/sheds. These exhibits don't really deteriorate when under cover (not like boats in water do). Working exhibits (planes, trains, automobiles) in private ownership are legion; these museums do not require anything with any functionality. And then contrast with the Boat Museum. Everybody seems to expect to see the boats afloat. And a floating boat requires endless maintenance. Arguably more maintenance if they're just sitting there than if the boat were being used.

 

Let's guess at some numbers. A wooden narrow boat needs a complete £100k rebuild every 25 years, so that's £4k per annum that has to be found. And it needs taking out and caulking annually - another 3k?. Plus it might sink now and again; they do if not in daily use (and even if in daily use). Plus repainting, engine repairs etc. and bailing out, diesel etc. So being realistic it's probably 10k per annum, or a quarter of a million pounds per 25-year refit cycle. For the wide boats it's probably 2-3 times that. No other museum has to spend that sort of money on its exhibits just to keep them as static exhibits. FRIENDSHIP is a success, floating boats are just money pits. No, they probably should never have taken any of these boats, but that's all in the past.

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6 minutes ago, Paddle said:

I am perhaps a little more sympathetic. I have not visited the Museum in two decades or more. But, compare their exhibits with almost any other similar national museum say the RAF museum in Hendon, or the IWM Duxford, Beaulieu Motor Museum or York Railway museum. These museums need only to dust their exhibits now and then. They are static and will remain thus until the end of time. Some of the exhibits are huge, but they're under cover in hangars/sheds. These exhibits don't really deteriorate when under cover (not like boats in water do). Working exhibits (planes, trains, automobiles) in private ownership are legion; these museums do not require anything with any functionality. And then contrast with the Boat Museum. Everybody seems to expect to see the boats afloat. And a floating boat requires endless maintenance. Arguably more maintenance if they're just sitting there than if the boat were being used.

 

Let's guess at some numbers. A wooden narrow boat needs a complete £100k rebuild every 25 years, so that's £4k per annum that has to be found. And it needs taking out and caulking annually - another 3k?. Plus it might sink now and again; they do if not in daily use (and even if in daily use). Plus repainting, engine repairs etc. and bailing out, diesel etc. So being realistic it's probably 10k per annum, or a quarter of a million pounds per 25-year refit cycle. For the wide boats it's probably 2-3 times that. No other museum has to spend that sort of money on its exhibits just to keep them as static exhibits. FRIENDSHIP is a success, floating boats are just money pits. No, they probably should never have taken any of these boats, but that's all in the past.

Can I ask how realistic the numbers you quote in the last paragraph are , especially for a Boat simply sitting in a Warehouse as opposed to floating in water . As I said earlier my own knowledge is pretty sparse but surely its possible to have a Boat sitting on a Trestle in a Warehouse in better condition than this Museum has managed with the minimum of expenditure ?

 

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1 hour ago, Paddle said:

No, they probably should never have taken any of these boats, but that's all in the past.

 

It still seems terribly 'dog-in-the-manger' of them to refuse to let any of their charges pass back into private, wealthy enthusiast ownership given they can't afford to look after them themselves. 

 

 

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Paddle mentions aircraft. Duxford is superb, I haven't been to Hendon, but the RAF Sister museum at Cosford I have - just last Monday.

 

The indoor exhibits are excellent, and the audio visual stories good, though with hoards of school children running around in a large echoey hangar made for some discomfort. But it was the outside displays that told another story. The Hawker Hunter just inside the main gate, was decidedly shabby, and the other outside exhibits like the VC10, the Hercules, the Nimrod etc. all showed quite a lot of green mildew - natural elements are unkind to anything left in the open.

 

Free entry, though £5 car park. The cafe in the visitor centre was stretched staffwise, and it was quiet. The service was very poor - twenty minute wait for a microwaved fruit crumble and custard?? Glad I went, but would not go again. But Duxford - yes.

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2 minutes ago, Derek R. said:

The cafe in the visitor centre was stretched staffwise, and it was quiet. The service was very poor - twenty minute wait for a microwaved fruit crumble and custard??

 

This is often the case, but then I usually find myself marvelling at how people go to a museum and some of them spend half their time stuffing their faces in the café. And the other half in the gift shop! 

 

If I ran a museum..... 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

This is often the case, but then I usually find myself marvelling at how people go to a museum and some of them spend half their time stuffing their faces in the café. And the other half in the gift shop! 

 

If I ran a museum..... 

 

 

 

... you'd need a cafe and a gift shop to bring in some money to help pay for maintaining the exhibits.

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2 hours ago, Parahandy said:

Can I ask how realistic the numbers you quote in the last paragraph are , especially for a Boat simply sitting in a Warehouse as opposed to floating in water . As I said earlier my own knowledge is pretty sparse but surely its possible to have a Boat sitting on a Trestle in a Warehouse in better condition than this Museum has managed with the minimum of expenditure ?

 

I think his figures are passable, maybe even on the conservative side as it gives no allowance for motive power upkeep nor requisite licences and insurances as required for all craft afloat.

On the other side your suggestions regarding a Boat sitting on a Trestle in a Warehouse equalling minimum expenditure. I couldn't possibly agree with.

Such a craft would likely never float again.  "Friendship" for example had no alternative, and even if they hadn't cut a door in the side of the hull she would have needed a "Raymond" level of disaster to save a shadow of it.

A wooden boat would deteriorate out in the air even quicker if only because, as they discovered with Cutty Sark if a boat isn't supported the same way water supports it it'll quickly distort and sag out of shape.  Then the wood shrinks leaving gaps between. If motorised then the motor and prop shaft end up out of true.  Elm bottoms turn to powder.

The best way to preserve an old boat is use it.

Second best is to maintain it while it floats

Third is leave it sunk, wooden hulls rot 'twixt wind and water.

 

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2 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

... you'd need a cafe and a gift shop to bring in some money to help pay for maintaining the exhibits.

 

Yes I understand the way it works, I was just marvelling at the people who go to museums and spend most of their time their scoffing food down and buying the tat!

Or put another way, marvelling at the way museums actually survive by selling food and tat I suppose.

 

 

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I don't have the stamina I used to have, a good cafe makes a good museum survivable for me.   A FE makes for the really best places.

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8 hours ago, mark99 said:

Hendon is ace. Really. A must.

I have never been to Hendon Mark , an old friend on the Jaguar Forum is an ex RAF Technician and a volunteer down there but for some reason I still haven't made the journey . Duxford I visited last Summer and I found it really enjoyable especially the American U2 and the SR Blackbird which is the only one in the world outside the United States . My Grandfather was stationed nearby in WW2 and for some reason I found myself at Madingley and the American Cemetery  , wandering around there was a really humbling experience , all those names from all those far off places . I imagine many of these American Graves have never been visited by the Families of those interred there , I think its good to wander around these places and reflect on the futility of life sometimes and acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice these Americans made on our behalf

Edited by Parahandy

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museum..... 

11 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

 I usually find myself marvelling at how people go to a museum and some of them spend half their time stuffing their faces in the café. And the other half in the gif

 

 

I find myself wondering why some of them hoard schoolchildren. Is the government going to ration them?

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