Historic shipbuilding returns to Buckler's Hard

Buckler’s Hard, on the banks of the Beaulieu River, could soon become a centre for the teaching and study of traditional shipbuilding with students able to work with large timbers under the supervision of a shipwright. This will soon be a reality thanks to a £3.75m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT) for its Boatbuilding & Heritage Skills Training Centre project, which includes a Shipwright’s School to be established at Buckler’s Hard.

Mary Montagu-Scott, Director at Buckler’s Hard & Trustee of the IBTC Portsmouth, said: “We are very excited to be working with PNBPT on this project and that our long held wish to revive traditional shipbuilding training at Buckler’s Hard, on the very site where Admiral Lord Nelson’s favourite ship Agamemnon was built, is now close to fruition.”

Plans have been drawn up to build a replica 18th century shipwrights’ workshop in an area at the bottom of the village street, near to the eastern slipways and by an existing display of timber workings.

The timber framed building will be used as a base for the school, which will be run in partnership with the IBTC Portsmouth, based in Boathouse 4 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The training provided will help to ensure the continuation of much needed skills at both a local and national level for the restoration of historic ships and support the traditional boatbuilding industry.  It is hoped that the first student intake will be in April 2015.

The close proximity of woodland with standing timber will present an important opportunity to teach arboriculture techniques and theory, and allow students to learn about the felling, conversion and storage of timber. The first stage of this exciting project will be to construct the workshop using local timber; this build will be a learning exercise in its own right, with students using traditional tools and methods.

Visitors to Buckler’s Hard will also be encouraged to visit the workshop.  By seeing a practical demonstration of shipbuilding methods, it is hoped that everyone will gain a better understanding of the industry which gave the village a place in British naval history.



NEWS - Historian Dan Snow Visits Buckler's Hard!

Join historian and TV presenter Dan Snow for a guided tour around Buckler's Hard - the 18th century shipbuilding village where ships for Nelson's Navy were built.

UPCOMING EVENT -  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester departing from the Beaulieu River to sail single-handedly around the globe, Gipsy Moth IV will return to Buckler's Hard on 12 & 13 August 2016.

In 1966, Sir Francis Chicester set out to begin his famous solo circumnavigation of the globe in his yacht Gipsy Moth IV - a phenomenal journey which he achieved with only a single stop.

On Friday 12 August, local people who helped with preparations for the original voyage will attend Buckler's Hard to celebrate the anniversary, including former Beaulieu River Harbour Master, Bill Grindley, and the sons of shopkeeper Rhoda Martin, who helped with supplies for the journey.

Click here to read more news from Buckler's Hard. 

NEWS - Fundraising party held for Shipwright School, July 2015


A fund-raising party has been held to raise money for the tools and fit-out of the new IBTC Shipwright School.

Students are to begin working at the site later in the summer.  In the meantime, the team are very keen to hear from a

nyone willing to donate tools to the school.  The types of equipment to be used at the site will include adzes, side axes, pit saws and in time they will be building a forge to make iron fastenings.  Read more.


NEWS - Shipwright School gets ready to welcome students, Spring 2015

The construction of the Shipwright School is complete and the workshop interior will shortly be fitted ready for the first intake of students in summer 2015!

The International Boatbuilding Training College Shipwright School will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn traditional shipwright skills in a beautiful and historic location. 

Keep an eye out for courses and ways to get involved - and make sure to visit Buckler's Hard to see this beautiful building.

Read more

NEWS - Visitors to Buckler's Hard see raising of the timber framework - August 2014

On Saturday 2nd August, the Buckler’s Hard attraction on the banks of the Beaulieu River, welcomed visitors to watch the traditional hand-raising of the timber framework for the replica 18th century shipwrights’ workshop and enjoy a range of themed activities, demonstrations and entertainment.

Read more.

 NEWS - Work continues on replica 18th Century Shipwrights' workshop - April 2014

A team of professional timber frame carpenters have been busy finishing off the conversion of timber for the workshop frame.  Crowds came to watch the demonstration of hewing and pit sawing in early April with a number of former Shipwrights coming to have a look.  One gentleman even kindly offered the team some old shipwrights' tools which they gratefully accepted!  You can keep up to date with all the latest progress through the following blog - Click here.

NEWS - Progress on plans to build replica 18th Century Shipwrights' workshop - January 2014

From March 2014, a new replica timber frame building is being built to become a ‘Shipwright School.’

A number of courses will be run including hand hewing, pit/ trestle sawing, timber frame building and raising the frame, all under the tutorship of Henry Russell, the well known expert in historic timber framing.

For course details please check the Buckler’s Hard website - http://www.bucklershard.co.uk/attractions/shipwright-school

Flyers for each course/event can also be accessed here:

Timber Frame Raising Weekend, 1 – 3 August 2014 (1)

Timber Frame Raising Weekend, 1 – 3 August 2014 (2)

Hewing and Pit Sawing Demonstrations, 2 – 4 April 2014

Timber Framing Courses, throughout July 2014

Hewing and Pit Sawing Course, March 2014

Region news headlines

Buckler’s Hard hosts star of Dunkirk movie HMS Medusa

Buckler’s Hard visitors will be able to take tours on board HMS Medusa while it is moored at the…

West Indies Boatbuilding Culture comes to the South Coast of the UK!

A fascinating story of personal perseverance, ribald tales of smuggling at sea and the completion of…

SS Shieldhall celebrates as steamship marks its 500th sailing under charitable ownership

A love for steam keeps historic vessel sailing!

Read all our news »

Contact us

Shipshape symbol Shipshape Network
Park Row, Greenwich
London SE10 9NF

tel: 0208 312 8558
fax: 0208 312 6632
email: info@shipshapenetwork.org.uk

Follow us