2005 Christmas Update

Date Posted: December 28, 2005

from Peter Harrold

Progress continues to be made with the project (I know, I wrote the same thing this time last year!). There is also the opportunity to purchase a superb new DVD which makes a great present and helps raise money for the project.

Towards the end of 2005 we approached the Heritage Lottery Fund with an outline proposition. The response was positive, as far as it could be at the time. I spent a good deal of last Christmas reading the information received – particularly a tome headed conservation report, which would be required as part of the application. It soon became clear that this would be beyond the scope of any members of our team here in Lincoln, and I made contact with Wynn Davies of Frazer Nash Consultancy. Mr Davies has successfully aided applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund on behalf of several restoration projects for vessels within the National Core Collection, including the SS Great Britain and the Cutty Sark. Frazer-Nash will be able to provide an enhanced service to the application and any continuing work in the future.

Wyn supplied a very impressive proposal, summarised below:

The scope of the Conservation Plan is based on work done by the consultants on several ships, including RRS DISCOVERY, ML 1387 WWII (convoy escort HMS Medusa) and HMS TRINCOMALEE, where HLF guidance has been suitably tailored to meet the needs of a single waterborne asset. It will also include:

Access Plan

A draft Access Plan will be drawn up under the leadership of Frazer-Nash’s project leader, but will the work of populating it will largely be a team effort. The document will draw on what experience is to be had from other local attractions and all relevant stakeholders, but will mainly be aimed at providing a firm foundation for the way forward by identifying actions that the Trust has to carry out to ensure commercial viability and to comply with the HLF’s published guidelines.
The access plan will also draw heavily on the work carried out previously by the consultants to inform the Trust of the potential problems of access likely to arise in the peculiar confined spaces of a ship and its quay side location.

Audience Development Plan

For the draft Audience Development Plan Frazer-Nash will provide the services of Cathy Pack, a FNC associate, well versed in the educational side of this work. Again, the contents of this plan will be derived from group sessions with the Trust and will be lead by the Frazer-Nash project manager.

Frazer-Nash will give such support as is necessary to complete the Heritage Lottery Fund bid. Timescales are very open at this stage, the Conservation Plan could take up to 10-12 weeks to complete depending on the state of the Trust’s archive. All complete documents produced under this task will be provided to the Trust as two hard copies plus one electronic copy.

The cost of the report. About £20,000

Now I know this sounds a great deal of money, but it will enable the HLF to make a much more informed decision about supporting the main restoration project, and the good news is we have applied for a project planning grant from the HLF which hopefully will cover the costs. A detailed application was submitted in October and we await a decision

It became clear from the information sent by the HLF that we needed to demonstrate that we had the support of the community and that the project would appeal to a wide range of local citizens. I made contact with the Usher primary school, on Skellingthopre Road in Lincoln. I arranged to give an illustrated talk on the MG and the Brayford/Fossdyke, and the enthusiasm shown by the children (many who are from disadvantaged backgrounds) was very humbling. A few weeks later, on Trafalgar day, I was invited to present half term prizes at the school assembly and was myself presented with a sheaf of hand written letters from the children. These have accompanied the bid. We have also made contact with the Youth Offending Team and hope that some of them can help with the preparation for the move to the boat yard for restoration. A new cradle will be needed.

Bygone Lincoln DVD

Finally, as mentioned Andy Blow of Blow by Blow productions has produced a superb new DVD combining the two previously video tapes of Bygone Lincoln with a wealth of newly discovered material, including a short sequence of the Mary Gordon, taken by Steve Baxter’s father in the 1960s arriving on the Brayford (in colour). The excellent short documentary on the project which Andy did for us last year is also included. Tanks on Tritton Road, High Street in the 1930s, Royal visits, racing on the Carholme, the lorry that crashed into Newport Arch, and Ruston steam engines are all featured. All for 14 pounds and ninetynine pence (of which a five goes to the Friends). Send me a cheque payable to Friends of the Mary Gordon plus postage and a copy (or two) will be on its way to you.

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