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About the Baden Powell Project

  • Pictured left in the 1950s (we think) and in 2017

The Baden Powell Project is the restoration and public use of a unique and marvellous fishing smack.  She is unique – the only double-ended vessel of her type in existence.  The plan was a restoration, but extensive rot meant a rebuild.  Even with Heritage Lottery Fund support, she needed more money from local people to bring her to sailing condition.  She is now seaworthy, on the waterfront of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and busy doing summer cruises in the River Great Ouse and The Wash.  Volunteers of the King’s Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust spent a decade building the new Baden Powell and have saved an important part of the heritage of King’s Lynn.  She is now used to tell passengers about the town’s maritime history of fishing, trade and exploration, using the river as an unusual perspective.

One of our public trips, video by Mark Eves

Money is always needed to finance the sailings and subsequent maintenance programme.  Do you have any personal interest in boats and fishing, or any friends that may be able to help?  If so contact us and offer your support.

History of the Baden Powell

The Baden Powell was built in 1900 in a boatyard on the River Nar by Walter Worfolk. He had arrived from Stainforth in Yorkshire with his young family the previous year, staying in Bridge Street with his wife’s uncle, William Lancaster. Walter already knew that Lynn did not have a boat building company to service the fishing fleet and he put the skills he learned in Stainforth to immediate use by building the 34ft Baden Powell for Harry and William Cook, for £50.

It is a double-ended cockling boat.  The Cooks were so pleased with the workmanship that they gave Walter an extra fiver and presented his wife Lily with a cruet set for the table. Walter’s sons, Gerald (10) and William (8) at the time, were soon apprenticed to their father and continued building wooden boats in Lynn until 1981, when Gerald died.  William lived to just past his 100th birthday in 1994.

Passing the Customs House on Heritage Open Day 2017. Photo by David Ashfield

During 2018, we were visited by Kate Prout from ITV who made a very interesting report on Baden Powell