Monday, 11 February 2013

Making decisions

Deciding what to do with such an important object is challenging in many ways. We have to test our ideas and prejudices by asking for advice and analysing data. Peggy is loved and admired by many, not only on the Isle of Man but also further afield, and it's very important that we proceed carefully and rationally when we make decisions.
National Historic Ships UK have been very helpful to us in finding ways forward. They made a special case for Peggy to be included on the NHS Register in spite of her location (the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom) and size (she's too small to be a 'ship'). The statement of significance for Peggy that they published on their website has been very useful. And they have helped us find professional consultants when that has proved necessary.
One example of this was our invitation to Eura Conservation Ltd. of Telford ( to survey Peggy in 2010. Their report is a very valuable addition to our knowledge of the boat. They showed in detail what a monument she is to long-lost boat building techniques, and gave us a clear insight into her structure and weaknesses.

This drawing accurately records the eccentricity of Peggy's frames.
Peggy's frames (image curtesy of Eura Conservation Ltd.)

Their report re-affirmed Peggy's importance through a number of features not properly recognised before. There'll be many more of these as we begin to study her in greater detail.

One of the great mysteries is how and in what colours Peggy was painted. The quantity of original paint left on her is absolutely unique for a vessel of her age (and there are very few of those), but it's completely covered by the paint applied in 1950. The appearance of the original paint was not recorded. It's possible that we may one day see those early colours once again, but first we must get an idea of what is there and how extensive it is. We commissioned Crick Smith Conservation ( to undertake a preliminary survey of small samples removed from the hull. It showed many interesting things, amongst which that the hull was once duck-egg blue...

Paint cross sections from Peggy (image courtesy of Crick Smith/ University of Lincoln)

With these reports and with the environmental data and the analysis of the corroded nails, we feel confident to make a firm case for action...

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