Eastbourne project aims to restore pleasure boats

Eastbourne’s historic pleasure boats could soon be back afloat as part of a working heritage attraction, thanks to recent donations to a restoration project.

Allchorn Maritime Trust has begun restoration of the Southern Queen, one of Eastbourne’s former pleasure boats, built in Westham in 1950.

The project has been taken on by boat builder and director of the Allchorn Maritime Trust Lloyd Stebbings, naval architect Daniel Goldsmith (both pictured) and marine scientist Denise Goldsmith.

The aim of is to restore the Southern Queen and the William Allchorn, returning both vessels to the sea as working heritage attractions.

The works have been possible thanks to volunteers and donations from local businesses which have seen the addition of much-needed restoration equipment and timber.

Visitors can see the work in progress at an upstairs viewing platform in the new Maritime Education and Heritage Centre overlooking the working restoration area at Fisherman’s Green.

The viewing platform also displays a small exhibition detailing 235 years of pleasure boat heritage with artefacts dating back to the early 1800s.

It is hoped that the Southern Queen could be afloat within two-and-a-half years as a working pleasure boat, subject to ongoing donations, with the William Allchorn to follow.

Margaret Bannister, Eastbourne Borough Council lead cabinet member for tourism and enterprise, said: “It is wonderful to see these beautiful boats finally beginning their transformation back to former glory. This is an important step in protecting our coastal heritage and preserving a wonderful asset for our local community, as well as creating a viable tourist attraction once again.”