SS Freshspring’s new wheelhouse is craned in
PUBLISHED: 09:51 17 April 2018
A new wheelhouse was craned into place on SS Freshspring in Bideford yesterday afternoon (Monday).
The wheelhouse, made by Cornish-based Butler and Co, has transformed the look of the steamship, which is being restored.
John Puddy, chairman of the Freshspring Society, said: “This is a great day for us because we have taken delivery of our new wheelhouse which has been fully restored by a yard in Cornwall.
“It has been a long time coming.
“One of the great things about this is the local support we have received, both from the district council, from the Bridge Trust, and importantly from the Heritage Lottery.”
The SS Freshspring arrived in Bideford in September last year, and volunteers have been working hard to restore it.
The Society’s vision is to restore the steamship - which is thought to take between three and five years - and use her as an educational tool for young people.
Initially the SS Freshspring will be a static exhibit, but the trust’s plan is to restore her and use her for short cruise trips.
The 120ft ex-Royal Navy Auxiliary water tanker is recognised as being of national historical significance on the National Register of Historic Vessels.
She was first launched on August 15, 1946, and after trials in February 1947, she sailed to her long term base in Malta.
She returned to the UK in 1967, and was put into reserve in 1976. In 1979 she was sold to a private owner in Bristol where she was last steamed.
She was based at Newnham on Severn before being towed to her new home in Bideford.
The £40,000 project to restore the ship’s bridge has been supported by funding from TDC, the Bridge Trust and Bideford and Northam Town Councils.