Classic boat restorer buoyed by new purchase

John Buckley, owner of Harbour Marine Services Ltd of Southwold Picture: SIMON HAZELGROVE

John Buckley, owner of Harbour Marine Services Ltd of Southwold Picture: SIMON HAZELGROVE - Credit: Archant

A heritage boat fittings manufacturer has been snapped up by a new owner who specialises in restoring classic vessels.

John Buckley – owner of Harbour Marine Services in Southwold – said his acquisition of the venerable Essex firm was “a proud moment”.

Colchester-based Davey & Company was established in 1885 and is a leading British manufacturer of traditional boat fittings to boat owners worldwide, still using many of the patterns and designs found in Victorian times.

MORE – Ancient pub poised to cut workforce amid crisisHarbour Marine Services has a long-standing connection with the company due to the restoration projects it has undertaken, including several little Dunkirk ships, which were fitted out with Davey’s traditionally-manufactured bronze fittings.

Mr Buckley, a life-long investor in the marine industry, wants to see traditional skills retained.

“I have great respect for Davey & Co’s British made ethos and high quality product,” he said.


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“My intention is to protect that, and create many more opportunities for Davey to be known as the must-have quality fitting for traditional boat owners internationally.”

Davey and Co’s fittings are used on modern vessels as well as classic boats.

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Davey’s managing director of 25 years Peter Tracey will be stepping down in the early autumn.

The £375k turnover business will continue to operate from its Colchester base, where its six-strong workforce will be retained under the leadership of Jeff Webber.

Mr Webber has more than 20 years’ experience of the marine industry and has been brought in to deliver Buckley’s vision for the business.

“This is a great opportunity and I look forward to taking up the reins from where Peter left off,” said Mr Webber.

“Both John and I agree that British made philosophy of Davey and Co and quality products must be preserved.”

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