Monday, 25 February 2013

What can we do about the environment in the cellar?

As I said before, the cellar in which Peggy sits is very wet. In fact 'a river runs through it', quite literally - though perhaps 'stream' would be a better description. Our first thought was to see whether we could regulate this environment. This would mean sealing the walls, floor and ceiling of the cellar against water from the stream and tidal flooding. It could only be acheived by 'tanking' the cellar, i.e. rendering the walls and floor with cement, rather like a swimming pool.
There are several problems with this plan. We cannot afford to cover or damage the walls and floor because they are of archaeological importance in their own right. We would also have to seal the ceiling and it's not clear how we could do that. The room would end up too small for the boat (!), and it's very unclear how the public would access the space. And finally, a structural engineer advised that the tidal pressure is so high in Castletown that it would be difficult to achor the 'tank' to the rock sufficiently strongly to safeguard the historic building above it!
This leaves us with two alternatives. Leave the boat where it is and do nothing, or remove it to a safe, controlled environment, off-site. We have agreed the latter.
We are fully aware of the radical impact this will have on the boat and building. Separating them is a grave step. So we plan to re-unite them somehow, in due course. Meanwhile we will take the opportunity to study and record the boat cellar, winding gear, boat, masts and spars. We will ensure that the public can see more, not less, of Peggy while we work. And we will take gradual and measured steps to stabilise and conserve Peggy herself.
In my next post I'll describe how we intend to move Peggy.

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