Four out of the five originalboat figureheads, dating back to the 1950s, have returned to their rightful home of Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways, after being lovingly restored by local restoration expert Kelvin Thatcher.
The figureheads – made of mahogany and in the shape of various animal heads – were added to the gondolas which were used to take families around the Waterways site between the late 1950s and 1980s.The work undertaken was of a delicate nature due to the condition and age of the wood, with many of the boat heads rotten and missing parts, with one boat head damaged beyond repair.
Now returned to their original beauty, the figureheads have been placed on the most Northern island of the recently restoredVenetian Waterways as standalone pieces, where they can be viewed by those who visit the park to stop and relax for a while, to take a ride on the Boating Lake or to enjoy exploring the plant life.
Listening posts have also been recently installed onsite which play recordings of bird sounds and stories. The posts, two of which can be found on the Waterways and one at the Boating Lake, are part of the project which was match funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund.
Michelle Burdett, Head of Inward Investment at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “It’s exciting to have the restored boat heads returning to the Waterways and displayed throughout, as they are really interesting pieces of work to look at with a lot of history.
“Now the boat heads are to stay on site permanently, we are working with our partners to bring visitors back to the Waterways for events, such as the upcoming Fire on The Water extravaganza, led by Out There Arts, for them to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”