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Rescued from a watery grave: history of Wherry Maud to be told in Diss

PUBLISHED: 09:41 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 15 August 2018

Wherry Maud was restored following her rescue from a watery grave in Ranworth Broad. Picture: Andrew Stone

Wherry Maud was restored following her rescue from a watery grave in Ranworth Broad. Picture: Andrew Stone

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The fascinating past of Wherry Maud, one of only two trading wherries left on the Broads, will be the subject of a talk in Diss.

The history of Wherry Maud and the story of her restoration will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Neil ThomasThe history of Wherry Maud and the story of her restoration will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Neil Thomas

Linda Pargeter, a trustee of the Wherry Maud Trust, will be telling the interesting account of Maud’s history and her restoration following rescue from a watery grave in Ranworth Broad.

Maud was built in 1899 by Halls of Reedham at a time when wherries were still an important part of the Broadland cargo transport system. At one stage during the 1800s there were several hundred plying their trade along the waterways between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

The Norfolk Wherry is a unique design that evolved to suit local conditions. Wherry masts were designed to lower so they could pass under bridges. They were typically crewed by a skilled skipper and a mate, who may have only been a boy.

Wherry Maud Trust trustee Linda Pargeter who is giving a talk in Diss. Picture: Andrew StoneWherry Maud Trust trustee Linda Pargeter who is giving a talk in Diss. Picture: Andrew Stone

In her early days Maud was skippered by members of the Powley family, and carried timber and general cargoes. In 1911 the three sister vessels (Dora, Maud and Shamrock) were sold to the Yare & Waveney Lighter Company, then in 1918 to J.S. Hobrough of Norwich.

Hobrough was a river transport contractor and civil engineer who dis-masted Maud and used her for carrying mud as part of dredging operations. She eventually sunk below Ranworth Broad in the 1960s.

For many years the Wherry Albion was the only trading wherry left on the Broads until the rotting hull of the Maud was pulled from the Ranworth mud in 1981 and re-floated as a restoration project by her new owners, Vincent and Linda Pargeter.

Wherry Maud was restored following her rescue from a watery grave in Ranworth Broad. Picture: Neil ThomasWherry Maud was restored following her rescue from a watery grave in Ranworth Broad. Picture: Neil Thomas

Eighteen years later she was ready to sail again and her re-commissioning took place on Wroxham Broad in September 1999.

Mrs Pargeter will be in Diss to talk about Maud’s working life and owners from when she was built in 1899 up to date.

• Maud’s Story – the Life of a Norfolk Trading Wherry is at St Mary’s Church Hall, Mount Street, Diss, on August 17, 7.30pm, entry £3 for Friends of Diss Museum, £5 for non-members. No need to book just pay on the door, all welcome. More details on 01379 423892, dissmuseum.co.uk

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