Offer could save museum

High hopes that motor boat museum can relocate to West Country




Since the Motor Boat Museum (pictured) was closed to the public two weeks ago efforts have been made by certain members of the Committee of Friends to find a new home for what is the world’s only collection of historic power craft and equipment.

Although established for more than two decades at Wat Tyler Country Park near Basildon, the annual cost of maintaining the building and staff in the current economic climate, estimated in the region of £100k, has become too much of a burden for the local council. Closure has also been accelerated by a large Government grant to turn the site into an eco friendly exhibit. This will require a complete refurbishment of the premises and eventual conversion into a more financially self-supporting activity.

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The current building must be totally cleared in order building work can begin in May.

Many of the exhibits are on permanent load to the museum. Others have been donated and this includes several famous racing craft including the 1966 Sonny Levi design race winner, Surfury. It is vital therefore that a new home can be found before the collection is broken up irretrievably.

There is now a glimmer of hope. A likely venue has been offered in the West County. Although the size of the proposed site itself is large enough, suitable headroom between the floors and sufficient access to allow entry of bigger craft and exhibits are important factors which need to be considered.

The Committee of Friends will be following up the possibility of the relocation with a decision by mid-January.


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