Friends of the Maritime Museum

Newsletter No 72 November 1999

Jesse takes to the water

The re-launch of Jesse with Fiona at the next berth, both dressed overall, took place in sunshine. They both looked splendid thanks to Bob Asplet and with the house-flags of Commodore, Condor and the Friends flying adding to the colour of the occasion. The Acting Chairman K Le Scelleur welcomed guests and members, thanking Boots the Chemists and the Jersey Association of Charities for having donated the major part of the money for the restoration of Jesse. He also thanked the Corporate Members of the Friends for their continued support as without them the task of maintaining the wooden historic boats would be more difficult. The Blessing of Jesse by Reverend Jane Ilton followed and Mrs Colette Riches poured champagne over a commemorative plaque on the bow.

Many people were taken by the words of Reverend Ilton's blessing which were composed for the occasion, so we thought it would be nice to include them. Almighty God, whose Son stilled the waters of the storm, and first called fishermen to follow you, accept our thanksgiving this day for all those who design, build and restore boats of all kinds, especially Jesse. Bless her as she is recommissioned for service at sea today, and all those who will sail in her. May she challenge and enchant them, may they safely steer a fair course, and come in safely to their landfalls. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Boats from Bob Asplet

With winter approaching, the boats are being taken out of commission. Fiona is covered and the mast is in the museum workshop. We plan to keep her afloat until the spring, but will be undertaking renewals whilst afloat. Florence has been towed across from St Aubin and she will soon be going into the workshop. The JHT have secured funding for her restoration which we hope will be completed in time for next summer - depending on what we find on closer inspection. Jesse remains in the water at present but the mast will be taken out and she will be covered. Martlet is still in use for towing boats around the harbour (and a spot of fishing), but as some stage she will come out for painting and a look at the engine.

Diana (large) is on hold at the moment as the engine is being worked on out of the boat. Diana (small) the blue dinghy is in the water and will remain there to prevent her opening up. We hope to carry out most of the work on Florence in house without having to employ too much outside assistance. In view of this any volunteers willing to help with working on the boats will be most welcome. We can only have access to the boast when the museum is open (10:00am to 4:00pm until 2nd April 2000) for security reasons. If you want more information phone me on 731255 or Dave Hocquard on 743655 or call in at the museum workshop on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday and have a word with Trevor Bull - seen here in the photograph working on Jesse.


After some delay the new software is now installed and functioning and work has been resumed on entering up the ships crews.


We have received some more books for our Library including one of particular local interest. Un voyage en Afrique is an account of the death of Charles Bois in 1858 off the coast of West Africa on board the schooner Token. The circumstances of his death led to the legal requirement for ships to carry a First Mate.

International Congress of Maritime Museums from Doug Ford, Head of Education Services

In September I attended the 10th Triennial International Congress of Maritime Museums held in Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia. The Jersey Heritage Trust training budget paid the registration fee and I paid for the travel and accommodation. There were about 150 delegates from all over the world - Australia, South Africa, Russia and Europe with the largest group coming from the USA and Canada. There were five business sessions, a specialist workshop and a day visit to the Annapolis Naval Academy and Chesapeake Bay. The main theme of the business sessions was partnerships - with industry, tourism, museums, education and with communities. I attended the workshop on small craft restoration culminating in a rowing race on the Delaware River between two skiffs brought down from New England. Amongst the delegates were educators, directors, curators, academics and the secretary of the Friends of the Mersey Maritime Museum who had recently visited us in Jersey. Because of this mix the business sessions were excellent. The visit to the outstanding Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum was marred by foul weather but I did get the chance to sail on a Delaware Bay Oyster Schooner, the AJ Meerwald built in 1928. This was the second ICMM conference I have attended and it is a good opportunity to meet others in the same field and exchange views and ideas. One of the contacts I made this year was able to supply us with an illustration of HMS Havick from their collection.

Winter Lectures

The talks will be held in the Members' Room of La Société Jersiaise, Pier Road, St Helier starting at 8:00pm.

3rd December 1999: Doug Ford - Ploughing the whales path - Viking Ships and Styles

24th March 2000: Admiral Woodward - The Royal Yacht "Britannia"


Last Opportunity

We learn from Lucy Allchurch, Curator of Social History that the redecoration work at the Broad Street Post Office will result in the covering up of the existing wall images of mail packets. The images will be photographed but we have only a few days to take a last look at them.


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Editor: S Billot, La Porte, Rue du Pont, St Saviour, Jersey JE2 7HT.