Peggy, late C18 Schooner, nautical Museum, Castletown, Isle of Man: analysis of historic paint schemes

Crick-Smith, Neilian C., Crick-Smith, Michael G., Croft, Paul and Mcdonnell, Phillipa (2015) Peggy, late C18 Schooner, nautical Museum, Castletown, Isle of Man: analysis of historic paint schemes. Project Report. Crick-Smith.

Peggy, late C18 Schooner, nautical Museum, Castletown, Isle of Man: analysis of historic paint schemes

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“Peggy” is a clinker built late eighteenth century small schooner built for the Quayle
family of Castletown, that was rediscovered in a walled up boat house in the mid 1930’s
next to the harbour in Castletown, Isle of Man.
Since her rediscovery there has been some confusion regarding her precise date of
construction, which has shifted and changed as new documentary and archival
evidence has come to light. For example, in early publications of The Yachting World1,
Journal of the Manx Museum2 and Special Exhibition of British Fishing Boats3 her date
of construction is cited as 1793.
Two further subsequent appraisals of the evidence in the 1960’s cite the date of her
construction as 17894 and again as 17915.
More recently the Drury McPherson Partnership was commissioned by Manx National
Heritage in 2013 to produce a Conservation Management Plan for the Nautical
Museum and it’s historic contents, notably “Peggy”. This has prompted a reappraisal of
the documentary evidence relating to the Quayle family boats (there were at least
three) and in the light of an emerging understanding of the harbour buildings
associated with the Quayle family conclude this surviving vessel was built in 1789.
However, it is appreciated this document is still in draft form at this stage and until
finalized intended to provoke further discussion.
No attempt has been made in this report to pin down the precise date of Peggy’s
construction and will focus solely on the evidence uncovered following the analysis of a
number of key paint samples removed in late September 2015.
There is clear documentary evidence that George Quayle was experimenting with a
sliding keel on Peggy and sailed her across the Irish Sea to take part in a regatta on
Lake Windermere in 1796. His harrowing account of the return journey in bad weather
makes the specific reference “without the Slidg, Keels we cd not have carried enough
sail” 7. At some point after the Windermere trip, Peggy was considerably altered. Her
freeboard was raised by fitting a new strake (defined as area 6 in fig.3) and gunwale
(fig.3, area 7). The oar ports on the original strake were blocked with small timber
panels, a new stern seat fitted and the transom raised to approx twice its original
height8. Furthermore, according to Greenhill9 this turned ‘a strong, relatively light, fast
rowing and sailing boat with a low freeboard into a rather heavy, purely sailing boat
which was probably structurally weak’. He continues ‘In fact the Castletown Peggy may
never have sailed again after these alterations were made’. He makes this statement
based on the fact that the newly fitted mooring bits, mainmast and collars show no
signs of wear when compared to the earlier original fittings10. One of the objectives of
this paint research exercise is to either confirm or dispel this theory by defining the
number of paint schemes applied to Peggy following these alterations.

Keywords:historical buildings, Paint analysis
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K250 Conservation of Buildings
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
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ID Code:20085
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 10:35

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