Campaign to restore historic Fife boat

The Manx Beauty.
The Manx Beauty.

A campaign has been launched to repair an old fishing boat and bring it back to its original home in Fife.

The Bring Back the Beauty campaign wants to bring it back to the East Neuk, and, with help from local groups and organisations, bring it back to life.

The campaign needs to raise around £5000 to get her back on a low loader from Birkenhead.

“We’ve looked at the boat for a long time,” said member Richard Wemyss.

“When she came up for sale, we contacted the owners to ask about the boat. It’s only in the last month we’ve talked about bringing her back.

“All we know is that she is in a poor condition.”

Richard, who used to be a curator at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, described boats as a “work of art”, saying he is also interested in the stories behind the boats and the personal stories of those who worked on them.

He wants the restoration of the Manx Beauty to be a community project, with local groups involved. The group is still in the process of working out how it could be used once the project is completed.

The Manx Beauty PL 35 was launched along with her sister ship the Manx Fairy PL 43 on June 11, 1937, in Cellardyke.

These two boats and two others were ordered as part of a Manx Government initiative to revive the Isle of Man fishing industry, with the boats suited for ring-net herring fishing and seine-net white fishing. The story of the East Neuk connections to these boats did not end with their launch. Lock Horsburgh, from Pittenweem, had already married a Peel lass in 1934 and had taken up residence on the island. He was appointed as first skipper of the Manx Beauty.

The Manx Beauty was sold in 1951 and re registered as CN 233. She was later sold to Cornwall and then on to Arthur Maddock, who took the boat to Birkenhead. When the boat arrived in Birkenhead there were more than 30 vessels working from the docks, however, over the years the fishing declined and eventually Arthur Jnr was the last fisherman to work from Birkenhead. He has now retired, and having owned the Beauty for 50 years, the family are keen to see her restored.

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