Historic Woodbridge boatyard welcomes new ship at its quay – here is why
- Credit: CHARMAIN BERRY
It has been a while since sizable ships used to dock at Woodbridge quay - but now a Thames Lighter is set to help the award-winning boatyard with its increasing workload.
Crowds gathered on Sunday afternoon to watch as a new floating workshop in the form of a converted Thames Lighter, named ‘Lasher’, docked at Woodbridge riverfront.
Her arrival is the first step of a new project to expand the working space at the historic Woodbridge Boatyard, formerly known as Everson & Sons Ltd.
The river shed dates back to 1912 and has a long history of being a working port, with barges coming to the coal yard for many years.
With the team of boatbuilders, engineers, riggers, finishers and yardhands growing to keep up with the increasing workload of boat restoration, repair, maintenance and storage, the boatyard’s solution was to create a floating workshop on the River Deben.
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Previously a working lighter on the Thames and then part of the Jubilee Pier at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London, she will now enable the team at the boatyard to lift small boats into her hold for repair, restoration and storage - adding almost 50% to their previous covered workshop space.
Earlier this year, the boatyard won the ‘restoration of the year under 40ft’ Classic Boat Award for 2020, with its ship Ariel which was built before the war.
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Matthew Lis, general manager at the boatyard, said demand has soared since winning the accolade, forcing them to hire more people to keep up with the workload.
He said: “We can’t make the land any bigger, so this was our solution.
“We wanted to stick with the history of Woodbridge and so far we have had a brilliant reaction from the locals, with a big crowd appearing on Sunday to watch as she arrived.
“Many people have said it is an innovative solution and one which makes a lot of sense.”
Now in position, the team have removed her tyre fenders and have already started to smarten up her appearance to better fit in with the historic working Woodbridge riverfront.