Wrecked passenger boat gets new lease of life

Published: Thursday, 26 May 2022

A 100 YEARS old passenger boat found wrecked on the south coast has a new lease of life on the Avon in Stratford, Roger Fox reports.

The Merry Widow was originally built to take tourists out onto Lake Windermere in Cumbria by boatbuilder, Borwicks of Bowness, in 1922.

Merry WidowRebuilt from scratch

A  restoration project has seen the dilapidated 100 years old wooden passenger boat rebuilt from scratch and relaunched in Stratford to operate on the Avon.

Nick Birch, Managing Director of Avon Boating, was told there was a wrecked passenger boat at Christchurch on the south coast, so went to investigate, and discovered it was a wreck indeed and did not need repairing, but rebuilding from the keel up.

Eight months

Boatbuilder Mark Rolt, of the Bristol Classic Boat Company was commissioned to restore The Merry Widow which he did over eight months that involved a complete reconstruction, strengthening the hull and restoring the original design of the cabin.  Picture courtesy of Stratford Observer

The boat was delivered to Stratford where the team at Avon Boating fitted a new, powerful electric drive system and is now ready to carry passengers.