Albion News Archive - 2011

30/12/11: Winter Work Progress Report

With Albion back at base all her gear was removed, checked & any repair or maintenance put in hand. Hatch covers continue to be a winter task & after a number of years this work is nearing conclusion. A change in the paint used has been begun this winter. We have started with the red colour on the dead hatch/tabernacle assembly, the carling hatch & the cuddy roof. This paint is breathable & allows moisture to leave the timber, helping the boat to last longer between restorations (we hope!). Another major part of every winter maintenance period is the removal of the ceiling to air the hull & to apply fungicidal treatments, once again to prolong life. In the photos below you will see the ceiling just beginning to be removed, volunteers applying the fungicide & a close-up of one of the original hog plates for the slipping keel used by many wherries when in trade.

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05/10/11: Mast Removal

Our annual ritual of removing the mast took place today. As the photos show it has become a straightforward procedure which the team from Eastwood Whelpton boatyard carry out both swiftly and professionally. Once removed it is chocked up and covered, but only for a short while. Later in the month a small team will return to oil and paint it ready for next season.

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29/09/11: Albion Winter Preparation Begins

With the temperature rising into the mid-20's it seemed strange to be preparing Albion for the winter. However, with the last charter of a busy season over there seemed no point in delaying things and good weather is always useful when putting away the sail. Gaff, running and standing rigging and Albion's familiar black sail were inspected and removed for storage or winter repair. Volunteers will continue stripping Albion ready for her trip (under power) to Upton dyke, the home of the Eastwood Whelpton yard, when her mast will be unshipped for the winter. We are always grateful for their help with this.

Removal of Jenny Morgan Galley clearance
Removal of rigging underway

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20/09/11: Albion and BBC Food Programme

For the last two days Albion has been plying the River Yare transporting a BBC television crew and presenter Giles Coren filming a programme called "Food - Made in the UK". Albion called at Brundall, Surlingham, Cantley and Norwich, with local food producers being interviewed on the way. The script will include a good deal about the history of the wherry and the Broads, and film coverage of the River Yare. We will advise when we know when the programme is to be shown - expected to be on BBC2 in April 2012.

Film Crew & Giles Coren the presenter First time Albion has been at Carrow Works since being rescued in 1949
Film Crew & Albion Crew "Canned" for the day !

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16/08/11 & 17/08/11: Horning & Ranworth Open Days

We finished our Open Day "season" with back to back events at Horning and Ranworth. At Horning we were greeted by lovely summer weather and plenty of visitors, whereas the following day at Ranworth was as if November had arrived early ! Thanks to those hardy souls who made the effort to visit us at Ranworth.

A glorious day at Horning Reminiscences
How many visitors can fit in the cuddy ...
Horning Prospective crew ? It's easy - honest !
Horning Ranworth before the sun vanished !

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12/08/11: Potter Heigham Open Day

The first of our regular open days took place at Potter Heigham today. We were greeted with overcast skies but many a brave soul came to look over Albion and learn what we hope were many interesting "wherry facts" from our volunteers.

Potter Heigham Quay Getting set up
Open for business

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14/07/11: Green Business Award

It has been learnt that we were awarded the Bronze Award of the Green Business Scheme following an assessment on the 9th of June. The Norfolk Wherry Trust is very pleased to have received this award & will continue to improve its standards in this direction. We feel that we are just at the beginning of a voyage.

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27/06/11: Attleborough High School Cruise

 Attleborough School Attleborough School

Attleborough High School students return to base after a day cruise on Albion.

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24/06/11: Salhouse School and the Broads Forum Cruise

Today Albion ventured onto the unfamiliar water of Salhouse Broad to take part in the finale of the Norfolk Broads Forum's inaugral "Cruise in Company".

Whilst waiting for "The Cruise" to arrive the opportunity was taken to show the children of Salhouse primary school how the mast and sail of Albion is raised and to then give them a brief history of the Norfolk wherries.

After saying cheerio to the school party Albion was moored in the middle of the broad to await the arrival of the NBF.

(Click to enlarge)

When "The Cruise" arrived there followed some frantic manoeuvring ably assisted by the marshall's (very) loud hailer and in no time at all they had moored up either side of Albion. 

(Click to enlarge)
Displaying the Broads Forum flag amongst Albion's colours

Once the various photo apportunities were done with many of "The Cruise" came aboard Albion and we wish to thank the generosity of all those who made donations and purchased souvenirs all of which goes towards keeping Albion in the pristine condition that we find her in today. 

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19/06/11: Ludham Open Gardens & NWT Art Show

General view of Art Show. Albion moored up at end of garden for public viewing.
The show in full swing. More browsing.
Yet more pictures. Near breaking point !
Reg entertains visitors with his rope skills. Mike explaing the finer points of a wherry's lines.

(Some further Volunteer-centric photos can be found in Volunteer's World).

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09/06/11: EDP Article

Whilst strictly a "publicity" matter you can click here to read a splendid article about Albion as published in today's EDP.

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24/05/11: Horning School Visit

Today we welcomed Horning Primary School to the second of our educational days for local schools. The format followed that of the successful visit of Ludham the week before. Practical demonstations of knot tying identified one or two future crew (!) and once again the visit concluded with the children singing along with Alan Helsdon. 


Arrival at Ludham Staithe. Getting knotted !


How many school children fit into a cuddy ? Satisfied "customers".

(Some further Volunteer-centric photos can be found in Volunteer's World).

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17/05/11: Ludham School Visit

We were pleased to welcome Ludham Primary School today. The purpose of the visit was to give the children an appreciation of the importance of the wherry in the history of the area in which they live. Volunteers from the Trust met the school party at Womack staithe, where with Albion quanting past, we talked about the local industries of the 18th and 19th centuries, before walking along the lane, past Harrison's Farm, where the wherry Zoe was built, to the wherry base. Once there we watched Albion moor up before we saw a demonstration of sail raising & lowering, followed by mast raising & lowering, the procedure she would have undertaken when shooting under bridges. This was followed by workshops on board Albion talking about cargoes in the hold, ropes and sailing on the foredeck and about the people and families who sailed them in the cuddy. The morning concluded with the singing of wherry folk songs, written, composed and played by Alan Helsdon, with much help from the children and volunteers before packed lunches were consumed. Many thanks to everyone who took part in a very enjoyable morning. Next week we welcome Horning Primary School and would welcome enquiries from other schools who would like to visit us. See the Contact Page of this web site if you want to progress this.

Albion w/school
Alan Helsdon

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10/05/11: Albion Heritage Day

On Tuesday 10th May Albion set sail for Ranworth in glorious weather on a Heritage Sail. Albion is the oldest wherry sailing on the broads and one of only two remaining trading wherries. This voyage was to enjoy and celebrate this and to link with the church of St. Helen's at Ranworth, renowned in the area as "the Cathedral of the Broads". Our passengers walked to the church where they were introduced to the Rector, Nick Garrard and to Les Cook who had organised this for us. In the space of two hours our passengers were introduced to the great treasurers of the church, particularly the magnificent Rood Screen, the Cantors desk & the Antiphon, originally produced at Langley Abbey. The visitors centre provided refreshment. By three p.m. Albion was pushing out onto the broad to begin her return journey to Ludham. Our party told us that they had enjoyed a really memorable day. The help of everyone at St. Helen's, the crew of Albion and the beautiful weather had made this voyage through broadland  so successful.

Our trip had been part of the Broads Outdoor Festival, organised by the Broads Authority. We hope all the other events taking place during its run are as successful as Tuesday has been and that this is the first of what will become an annual festival.

 Albion on St. Helens visit St. Helens Ranworth

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25/04/11: Albion ready for season

With rigging complete and final deck paint being applied Albion is now ready for the start of the 2011 season which begins on Saturday 30th April.Some people have nothing better to do on a Bank Holiday!!

Deck painting

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14/04/11: Mast Collected

Whilst work still continues to ready Albion for the 2011 season, a break was taken to collect the mast. Looked after for us by the kind people at Eastwood Whelpton yard on Upton dyke, we motored there in cool conditions and stepped the mast again. It always seems that Albion is ready for the season once her mast is back in place. Last minute details still require to be completed but we look forward to her returning to the rivers in earnest on the 30th April with her first charter party of the 2011 season.

 Re-loading mast

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23/03/11: Volunteer Work Continues 

With Maynard & Kim no longer on site our volunteers have the boat to themselves. Parts are being painted, the horse is being refettled & a host of other details are being completed or readied to go back on Albion. Paul Reynolds is seen below putting some of the last parts in place of that jigsaw, which is the cuddy. Once again, pieces seem not to fit in their usual places which gives a real headache!



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14/03/11: Work Complete

On Saturday 12th March Maynard & Kim completed their work for this year. They have left Albion much improved. Now its the turn of our volunteers to begin the follow-up work as there is still much to do before the beginning of the season. Our thanks to both Maynard & Kim for their excellent work & for the care they bring to their work.


Last Lap Complete

  Left: Moving rightups being fitted with template used to line them up. Right: View of Albion with new moving & standing rightups supporting hatch covers.

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04/03/11: Moving Rightups

 Most of the detail work is now complete & the moving uprights are beginning to be shaped & fitted. The first two port moving rightups in place. The forward moving upright on each side - does not move! As well as the ongoing construction work our volunteers have been working on details, either attached to this project or to the continuing winter maintenance in preparation for the new season.

Moving Rightups While Maynard...
The first two moving rightups in place & to the right, Ian paints on preservative before the horse is re-fitted.

25/02/11: Stern Comes Together

With both standing rightups fitted, work moved to the stern where the cuddy sides required shaping & fitting & the aft deck needed re-caulking. The photographs show Maynard & Kim doing this before taking a well-earned weekend break.

 Cuddy Side   Caulking

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22/02/11: More Work

The port standing rightups are now in place. The photograph below shows Maynard & Kim putting in some of the last fastenings before the joints are covered & the epoxy is kept warm to aid setting. The top cuddy sides have been steamed & are awaiting fitting & installation.

Fastening Standing rightups
Maynard & Kim fasten the last sash clamps holding down the port standing rightup.

13/02/11: Work in Progress

In the last week the starboard standing rightups have been shaped & installed & the port rear rightup (that includes the cuddy side) has been steamed into place, again with the assistance of our volunteers.

Steam  Uprights In
Brute force & steam eases a new plank into place ready for cramping (left). Starboard standing rightups in place (right).

(More photographs can be found in our "Volunteers World" section).

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06/02/11: Standing Rightups

On the 24th January Maynard & Kim arrived on site & began to strip out the old standing rightups from the dead hatch right through to the rear of the cuddy. Their work had been aided by preparatory jobs completed by our volunteers. They had previously unbolted the standing rightups from the plankways & removed the connecting plates which also secure them. The mainsheet horse had also been removed & had been re-fettled by our tame welder-Bernie. In the first week templates were taken, fitted & checked & their shapes laid out on 2 inch oak boards & cut roughly to shape. On Monday 31st January they were taken to our friends in Horning who allowed us to machine them to final thickness. At the end of a tiring day the boards were back at base for final shaping. After making up the bending jig on the boat, Thursday morning saw the steam chest in use. After two hours the starboard stern board emerged from the chest & was rushed to the boat, helped into shape by several volunteers & secured by large clamps. This was left to cool.

 Standing Rightups removed  Steam Box
Albion with standing rightups removed (left). A length of 2 inch oak, cut to shape & being steamed to ease bending (right)

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06/01/11 : Work in the New Year.

On the 24th January, our boatbuilder, Maynard Watson will arrive to begin replacement of the standing rightups. These remain from the work done in straightening Albion & took considerable strain as the boat straightened itself. Its change in shape, which straightened the hog, produced a gentle sheer at deck line. The old standing rightups had been fitted to a flat deck & had buckled. This was solved by scarphing them with a chain saw & filling the gaps with epoxy adhesive.

The new work will replace these with properly fitting standing uprights matching the sheer. At the same time we will run these through the cuddy to its back edge. The cuddy sides have been leaking on crew spending the night on board. It seems they be able to pension off their plastic sacks!
At the same time new moving uprights will be fitted to give a gentle sheer to the top-line. We look forward to seeing Albion on the river in the new season.

Standing rightup showing chain saw cut 

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