Category Archives: General

August 2011

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Gateshead Millenium Bridge – Tenth Anniversary

Friday 16th September 2011 saw the tenth anniversary of the Gateshead Millenium Bridge. At 10.00am there was a parade of vessels under the bridge and NEMT  starred with Rachel Douglas, Favourite and Sovereign.

Posted in News, Events, Progess | 1 Comment | Edit

Back to St Abbs

                Returning from the Arbroath Sea Fest, NEMT took the opportunity to call in at St Abbs.   It was Monday 15th August and this was the first visit of “Favourite” since she … Continue reading

Posted in News, Events, Progess | 3 Comments | Edit

Arbroath Sea Fest

NEMT members had a sunny weekend at the Arbroath Sea Fest where they received a great welcome. The old fishing vessels “Rachel Douglas” and “Favourite” motored up to the event by way of Eyemouth and arrived just as the festival … Continue reading

April 2011

Sovereign Launched

Fred Crowell proudly stands next to Sovereign on Monday 4th April, having just launched her after ten months and approximately 5000 hours of restoration work by him and the small team of volunteers he led.

In spite of serious funding problems, the vessel is now structurally sound and working again. Seventy five years after building she is back in fine condition, restored to her 1950s condition.

Thanks must go not only to Fred but to National Historic Ships, The Community Foundation and The Port of Tyne Fund who all supported the restoration.

A few minor jobs remain: the accommodation in the forecastle is to be completed and some of the spars are still missing but it is hoped they can be finished for the summer when she will be travelling the north east coast.DSC_0099


2 Responses to Sovereign Launched

  1. carl robinson says:

    well done

  2. Barry Winn says:

    I saw her in the shed in her undercoat, and still having work done on the winch. She looks fantastic in her full glory.
    You’ve all done a great job.
    It would be good to see her back in Seahouses one day.

March 2011

Workshop Upgrade.

Our workshop is continually evolving and has recently been up graded with the addition of a 20inch Wadkin BSW Rip Saw suitable for the new stock of oak.

The saw was purchased from VWM Ltd Machines Lancashire. This has been a considerable investment for the Trust and it was a pleasure to conduct the buisiness with VWM

February 2011

Henry Frederick Swan Restoration on- Full Ahead!


It is great to report that tremendous enthusiasm is maintaining the schedule of the restoration of the Henry Frederick Swan.Progress has been very encouraging for 2011 thanks to all of the hard work from a dedicated team of volunteers. Such tasks as the removal of the drop keel and drop keel casing ( away for shot blasting at the moment) have tested our ingenuity but where there’s a will there’s a way.( reference: Dec 2010 News Letter) Most of the internal deck bearers have been removed along with the aft whale back and aft bulkhead. These are now on the joiner’s bench awaiting reconstruction. The dismantling of this class of vessel is very different to conventional boats. There are no glued sections, no steel spikes or nails ; just beautifully made close fitting interlocking joints all fastened with bronze csk screws. It is more like taking apart a piece of furniture than an old boat! Amazingly so after nearly 100 years, the majority of screws come out with very little problem at all.

Stem and Stern post timbers have been removed ready for renewal. New, large radius, oak crooks have been obtained along with sufficient oak planking for gunwales, stringers, frames etc. Sincere thanks must go to A&J Scott Timber supplies ( for their superb co-operation and professional help in the choice of timber, slicing and transportation to our workshops in Wapping Street.



One major challenge underway is the removal of the 15inch wrought iron Keel Bolts. As to be expected, these have been found to be severely corroded by way of the oak keel. The top and bottom section where they sit in contact with the steel is of reasonable condition but the acid from the oak, has made a short meal of them. However, with the use of a specially made sliding hammer puller, the bolts were drilled and tapped into their heads and with a carefully applied hammer inside the boat along with plenty of grunting and groaning from underneath! we are managing to extract them!

A purpose built work platform has been erected to facilitate the rebuild of the aft bulk head. Precise (well, as close as possible!) templates have been taken from the badly rotted frame followed by the careful separation of the the frame from the double planked in filled section.

East Coast Fibre Glass Supplies Visit Workshop

We are very grateful to East Coast Fibre Glass Supplies for their enthusiasm and support shown towards the North East Maritime Trust.

Visit their splendid web site

Take a look at the “Articles” and the NEMT video!
Thanks to Gary and Nick.


November 2010

National Historic Ships supports Sovereign

Repairs to the Sovereign have been given support by the National Historic Ships Committee who have awarded an emergency sustainability grant. This enabled Fred Crowell to start repairs to the seriously deteriorated hull.

Once on Fred’s slipway, it was found that the spikes holding the planking onto the frames were badly corroded. Some had rusted away entirely leaving nothing to hold planks in place other than water pressure and the caulking. Several planks have now been entirely replaced, about 2000 spikes replaced, re-caulking undertaken and a lot of filling carried out, making Sovereign secure below the waterline.

Many thanks to National Historic Ships for contributing.DSC_0075

2 Responses to National Historic Ships supports Sovereign

  1. Jeff burns says:

    Hi Lads.
    It’s Jeff Burns of South Shields a well known friend of David Parker & Fred Crowell,I am currently at work offshore and have just heard that the “Sovereign” has been put back in the water if possible could you email me some photos of this occasion.

     2. cal boal says:

    I’m researching my family tree and I have traced a long line of Crowells living in south shields who were connected to boat building. Is Fred Crowell from the area?

June 2010



Forthcoming Events Include:

18th to 20th June – Seahouses Festival, music and cultural events with Rachel Douglas and Favourite in the harbour.

9th July- St Abbs, where we plan to have Rachel Douglas and Favourite on display in the harbour.

10th July – Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival –  Rachel Douglas and Favourite again, this time following the Herring Queen on her journey from St Abbs, then spending the day at a hopefully accessible place in the harbour.

7th to 10th August – Tall Ships Hartlepool. We hope to be positioned at an accessible location to accept visitors to our vessels which are planned to include Royal Diadem II, Peggy, Rachel Douglas and Favourite

11th and 12th September – Heritage Open Days at our workshop in Wapping Street South Shields, including visiting heritage vessels tied up alongside Corporation Quay.


The next NEMT Restoration Project to get under way is the Henry Frederick Swan Ex Tynemouth RNLI Lifeboat built 1917.

Read about this important vessel under  “Boats”



  1. liam lenihan says:


    I was just looking for some information or help about going about trying to save a lifeboat that is in the training yard of a cadets training school in blackpool. This lifeboat was in blackpool in 1886 and was decommisioned in 1930. Its name is the samual fletcher of manchester and has some veary interesting history, i just think it should be brought back to its origional it server this area for over 44 years,

    liam lenihan


May 2010

Favourite Refurbished


Favourite has been in Fred Crowell’s boat shed for attention to a few defects and is back in prime condition, being launched again on 10th May. She has had attention to hull caulking, a damaged deck beam, a little new decking and repairs to her stem. Before leaving the slip a full external repaint was undertaken. A last little detail improvement has been the making and fitting of new nameboards by Fred. These followed the style of the boat’s builder, Walter Reekie.DSC_0027


Response to Favourite Refurbished
  1. Derek Smith says:

    Favourite made a fine sight in the intro to “A Journey back to Newcastle” on BBC4 9.30 Sunday 12/09/2010.