Today I took a look around the Mayflower project and thought it would be nice to give you a little look at a few things surrounding the actual build.
When I first arrived at the Project, the one thing to catch my eye was an old builders hut. It looked derelict and I assumed it was probably waiting to be pulled down (before it fell down). On closer inspection I saw a sign in one of the cracked windows “Visitor centre. Coming soon”. Visitor centre? It looked like the only thing holding it together were the cobwebs! It had no electricity to it and I had no camera to take photos. But a few weeks later I managed take a few pics. A few days ago when it had been cleaned up a little, I took the latest photo. As you can see, it’s well on the way to becoming a multimedia visitor centre for the Mayflower Project.
After a walk around the yard and a few more pics of the dozens of English oak trees laying around, I met a gentleman called Sean Day, who told me that for every single tree cut down, they plant approx. 100 in its place. I was invited to have a look inside the main building. There were several models of the Mayflower around and I was also shown the lofting floor. If you’re unsure of what ‘lofting’ is, it’s a drafting technique and is basically the transfer of a scaled down drawing of a plan to a life size version. The picture below shows the lofting floor of the Mayflower Project, with several life-sized plywood templates laid out on it. These templates will allow the shipwright to get the correct size and dimensions when cutting the timber for the ship.
Although Sean is a very busy man, he spent as much time as he could, showing me around the project and answering all my questions. If a boat could be floated just on pure energy and enthusiasm, I have no doubt that Sean would have the Mayflower in the water tomorrow. As it is, when he says the Mayflower will be ready by 2016, it will. I’ll hopefully be able to be there most of the way (if they’ll allow me) and give those of you who cannot come along to see this wonderful ship being built, a glimpse of the Mayflower as she rises from the old English Oak in the disused railway yard that houses the project. Photography and content: James Kelly.