True’s Yard is all that remains of King’s Lynn’s old fishing community, the North End, which existed for hundreds of years, and which was finally demolished in the clearances of the 1930’s and the 1960’s. Once hundreds of families lived within a stone’s throw of their chapel of St Nicholas, which still dominates the area, and the North End had its own boat builders, chandlers, sail makers, pubs, bake houses and school. Now, although the fishing fleet still sails regularly from King’s Lynn, the old way of life has gone.
Brian started boatbuilding in 1973 and has been involved in many different projects. Many Essex Smacks have been restored by him and he has worked on a number of Lottery funded Historic Vessel restorations including Thames Barges and Dunkirk Little Ships. Brian also builds the 12ft. GRP Smacks Boat which is available in rowing and sailing versions.
Recent and up and coming projects include fitting out a Smacks Boat for a vicar in Devon, the complete Lottery funded restoration of the Kings Lynn cockler ‘Baden Powell’, the restoration of the Chelmer Lighter ‘Susan’ and restoration of Maurice Griffiths yacht ‘Storm’.
Centred at Stiffkey close to the boatbuilding yard of David and George Hewitt, Rescue Wooden Boats has a visitor centre telling the story of wooden fishing boats and lifeboats along the north Norfolk coast. In the boatyard the Lucy Lavers lifeboat is undergoing restoration and new wooden boats are under construction. They have Worfolk boats in now and then for maintenance and repairs.
Their website includes a wide-ranging archive of filmed interviews, including one with Bill Worfolk and another with Vic Pratt, the Worfolk apprentice who is helping us with the restoration of the Baden Powell.
There is much else to explore on www.rescuewoodenboats.com
This Trust is fundraising to restore the historic vessel ‘Britannia’, built in King’s Lynn by the Worfolks, so she can be used to teach seafaring and boat restoration skills to future generations www.britanniasailingtrust.org