2006 Christmas Update

Date Posted: December 30, 2006

Dear Friends,

another year has passed but I am pleased to be able to tell you that we have made significant progress towards our objective of seeing the Mary Gordon once again sailing on Brayford and The Fossdyke. Following the award of a £24,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier in this year a very comprehensive conservation report was delivered by Frazer Nash Consultancy, together with an audience development and access plan. These very grand sounding documents will not only allow us to proceed to the next stage of a full HLF application, but also provide a working document and eventually, there is the possibility of publishing a book as there is certainly enough material.

From a historic point of view extensive research has shown that the MG was actually built in 1900 by William S Sargent at his Strand on the Green works in Chiswick, and is the only one of 6 of her type built by Sargent, who was very well known as a builder of Thames pleasure launches. Following a further meeting with the HLF, they have confirmed that there is nothing in the report which would prevent us from qualifying for a grant towards the restoration of the boat, a visitor centre, moorings and initial running costs. The money is available and we are pushing at an open door. However there is much work today before we can submit a full application. This is summarised below.

  1. Quotes for re-build. Although we hope to award the contract to Steve Mills, other competitive tenders are required if possible, if not HLF will accept one. We will approach Gloucester, Stanley and Thomas, Peter Freebody, see survey comments below.
  2. Business Plan. A brief business plan will be needed in respect of the operating company, which will be a separate business under the Trust, (not for profit). Cash flow forecast showing breakeven, proposed operations, permissions/licences needed, employment contracts, proposed use of boat in Lincolnshire and elsewhere including transportation by road.
  3. Audience Development. Expansion of Frazer Nash report to include confirmation of educational need, visitor numbers, links with schools. Educational packs, quotes to be requested (Andy Blow)
  4. Visitor Centre/Mooring. Site to be confirmed, provisionally Sea Cadets but also need to liaise with new Brayford Trust. If lease of 15 years can be obtained HLF will consider request for contribution towards building costs. Architects plans need to be to RBA stage 3, with estimates possibility of funding towards this.
    Survey required including MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) requirements re passenger certification etc. Tender specification required. Funding may be available from HLF.
  5. Interpretation. Exhibition brief to be worked up in conjunction with Lincolnshire Museums, Electric Motor Institute of Electrical Engineers, refer Tony Johns.
  6. We also hope to arrange visit to Wigan Pier, which is a similar project.


Fortunately two individuals have come forward to help spread the work load. David Brook is a Rotary friend of mine who took early retirement as a director of RMC. David has a wealth of experience in business planning and construction, and has offered help with the business plan, visitor centre and mooring aspects.
Philip Dawson is a neighbour of mine who recently took early retirement from Lloyds TSB. Philip is an experienced sailor who is restoring his own yacht on the Humber. He is keen to get involved in the educational aspects and eventually would like to be considered for the position of project manage once the boat is restored, liaising with schools, taking bookings etc.


Henry Ruddock has very kindly printed 2 historic photographs featuring the Mary Gordon, one at Gainsborough c1943, and the other at Lincoln Water Carnival 1963. They have both been enhanced to show a wealth of detail and are available mounted, ready for framing, at 10 pounds each. Ring me if you want one or send a cheque payable to the Friends of the MG

Es Bates

It is with great sadness that I have to in form you that Es Bates died suddenly in May. Es was in fine form at our meeting at The Collection in May but took ill the following day. He was one of the original three, with Frank Baines and Mark Woodcock who brought the Mary Gordon to Lincoln in 1942. Es was a great supporter and will be sadly missed; our thoughts are with Brenda and the family at this time.
Finally, one area we could do with some help with is running the Friends. Someone who could keep the membership list up to date, promote the friends and maybe organise the occasional social event, please let me know if you know anyone who might be willing to take this on.

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