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Barnstaple ship replica could revitalise ‘underused’ Strand

PUBLISHED: 11:47 02 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:54 02 April 2014

The ‘Prudence’ Prize at Barnstaple Quay, 1590, painted by Mark Myers in 1977 and gifted to the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore. The ‘Prudence’ is pictured to the left of the main ship in this painting.

The ‘Prudence’ Prize at Barnstaple Quay, 1590, painted by Mark Myers in 1977 and gifted to the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore. The ‘Prudence’ is pictured to the left of the main ship in this painting.

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Plans for £1.5m tourist attraction to boost visitors to town centre.

The Golden Hinde II, built in Appledore in the early 1970s, is pictured sailing off the east coast of America in 1987. © Joel Rogers, 1987. The Golden Hinde II, built in Appledore in the early 1970s, is pictured sailing off the east coast of America in 1987. © Joel Rogers, 1987.

PLANS are being drawn up to revitalise Barnstaple’s ‘underused’ Strand area with a traditional timber Elizabethan ship.

A replica of The Prudence, a sixteenth century ship owned by local merchant and former Mayor of Barnstaple Richard Dodderidge, is being seen as a possible attraction to boost visitors to the town centre.

The reopening up of the Great Quay and improvements to the Heritage Centre also form part of a suggestion being explored by North Devon Council.

A report by the council’s senior regeneration officer said improvements to the Strand in 2006 had not increased footfall as anticipated and the open space was not fully utilised.

The Golden Hinde II pictured under construction at J Hinks & Son Shipbuilders in Appledore, in 1971. The ship was launched on April 5, 1973. It is coincidentally the ship’s 41st birthday this weekend. © Hinks Family The Golden Hinde II pictured under construction at J Hinks & Son Shipbuilders in Appledore, in 1971. The ship was launched on April 5, 1973. It is coincidentally the ship’s 41st birthday this weekend. © Hinks Family

It said a ‘wet weather attraction’ was needed to draw tourists across the river from the proposed Asda store at Anchorwood Bank.

A footbridge and cycleway across the river is also in the offing as part of the Asda development.

The report, set to go before the council’s executive committee on Tuesday, April 8, said: “The intention is not that the ship would sail, but that it would be a tourist attraction forming part of the museum, and host corporate events.

“The ship would be visible from both bridges and celebrate the town’s maritime heritage.”

The report said the ship would cost in the region of £1.5million and be built in situ to provide opportunities for apprenticeships and training.

The entire project would be funded by The Coastal Communities Fund pending a successful application.

The only known picture of the Prudence was painted by Hartland artist Mark Myers in 1977 and gifted to the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore.

It is understood, the galleon would be similar to the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, built at J Hinks & Son Shipbuilders in Appledore, in the early 1970s.

What do you think? Could a traditional ship replica help boost footfall on the Strand in Barnstaple? Email newsdesk@nborthdevongazette.co.uk telephone 01271 345056 or write to us at the usual address.

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