Coracle preservation project update - come join us in Shrewsbury on 26/27 June!

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21 June 2024

We will be completing our first build with the Shrewsbury Branch of the UK Men's Shed Association on 26th and 27th June, located at the Shropshire Agricultural Showground on Gravel lane in Shrewsbury, which is adjacent to the River Severn. We are constructing six traditional pattern Shrewsbury coracles using locally grown air dried sawn ash laths and heavyweight calico proofed with low risk waterbound bitumen emulsion paint; the design we are using is based on James Hornell's book "British Coracles and Irish Curraghs" which was published in 1938 and is the first definitive record of UK craft of this type recorded and based on extensive field research and observations.

The building team will consist of 2 to 3 volunteers per boat,comprising Shrewsbury and Cleobury Mortimer Shedders, UKMSA staff , some of the local Repair Cafe Team, possibly Young Farmers and youth groups, and whoever the Shed press gangers can find around the taverns and workhouses up Town?

The Shedders have cleared a path through  the edge of the Showground to access a sunny beach by the river ,and on completion of the build around 3.00pm on Thursday we will be having a practice paddle for survivors on the river (as a stress buster?)and maybe a bit of sunbathing?

I am reliably informed that the kettle is always on the boil at Shrewsbury Men's Shed, and always welcome visitors (with their own biscuits) so if any Society or Men's Shed visitors happen to be in the area on 26th or 27th June please drop in between 10.00 am and 3.00pm and come and see us and have a natter and watch the build as it progresses. Better still - bring your own coracle and join us for a paddle on Thursday before the bailiffs finish their afternoon tea break.

Please do not be put off by the " Steptoeish" appearance  of the yard and buildings when you arrive, which we fondly refer to as "work in progress." In contrast, the amenities block with fully fitted stainless commercial kitchen (you could eat your dinner off the floor if that is what you are used to) is a joy to behold and worth a visit on its own, and the woodworking and metalworking workshops will be swinging also.

We have the largest car park in Shrewsbury, so please park outside to avoid congestion inside the compound.

In my next bulletin I will let you know about the builds we are organising at Pontypridd and Blaenau (South Wales) and Brunskill (Norwich) Men's Sheds which are currently being planned, and the Coracle Society/Shrewsbury Men's Shed and the Heritage Crafts Association stands which will be seen for the first time at the UKMSA Annual Conference at Worcester University Complex on Thursday 11th July 2024, and some further information on the second phase of our project to resurrect some of the obsolete Regional designs of British coracles.\

Dave Purvis