TV’s ‘Time Team’ creator laments EDDC’s “crass ignorance of our maritime history”

8 Jun

The Daily Telegraph published an article this week (Weds 5th June), featuring Professor Mark Horton’s disbelief on hearing that plans have been approved to destroy Budleigh Salterton’s unique longboathouse…the only one left in Britain!

Here’s where it fits into  our seagoing nation’s proud history:

Eight and ten oared longboats were the utility boats of the Nelson era, carried as ships’ boats and also used in inshore waters e.g. by the Coastguard. They were one of the classics of boat design with fairly fine lines aft to permit its use in steep waves such as surf or when wind is against tide. They were more seaworthy than the cutter, and had good carrying capacity. It has proved difficult, however, to obtain a reliable drawing of one despite consulting the Curator, Maritime Museum and the South West Maritime History Society, but it would have been around 27 ft long. It seems that Longboats, despite widespread use in the C18, had ceased to be current in the active Royal Navy by mid C19 and do not feature on equipment lists. (Given this active service span describing the design as of the Nelson era seems reasonable). A Longboat replaced a gig at BS between 1840- 1850 . The boat house was the second to be built in BS and dates from the 1870s.

Longboat design_jpg@01CE6452


3 Responses to “TV’s ‘Time Team’ creator laments EDDC’s “crass ignorance of our maritime history””

  1. Marker June 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    You are making a meal of it. Have you seen the building? It is an eyesore. Knock it down! In Exmouth we have far finer buildings. The new bowling alley, new lifeboat station. And soon… A fine example of 21st Century architecture to be constructed on the site of the totally dilapidated Elizabeth Hall.

  2. David Daniel June 9, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    The seaworthiness of this extraordinary boat is vividly illustrated by a rescue recorded in the Times of 1856. Seventeen of the hands of the Spanish 800-ton steamer “Independiente”, wrecked at 4am one and a half miles east of Budleigh Salterton, were landed safely on Salterton beach through “tremendous surf” by the crew of the Longboat.

    The reason this is the last known example of a Longboat house is that when RNLI took over rescue responsibilities from HM Coastguards a radically different type of boat was introduced. This was the “self-righting” life boat with flotation tanks in both bow and stern designed specifically for rescue. These came in different versions but had a minimum length of 32 ft. (the Budleigh Salterton Longboat House has an internal length of 29ft). All the Coastguard boat houses (except this one) were knocked down and replaced by Lifeboat stations or simply redeveloped.

    The RNLI introduced standardised lifeboat house designs with features that clearly distinguished them from the Admiralty boathouse they replaced. For example many had extended eaves to the roofs under which the volunteer boatmen could dry their kit. Budleigh Salterton never had an RNLI station.

  3. Not a Developer June 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    That’s the problem in EDDC: rank amateurs who think they know more than experts (see employment land where 2 sets of experts in their field disagreed with the East Devon Business Forum about the amount of industrial land needed but where the “advice” of EDBF was the only advice taken). Unless, of course, the experts are employed specifically to tell them what they want to hear, in which case everything is fine.

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