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Condition survey carried out on historic Boat Store in Sheerness

Published Thursday 24 February, 2022
Last updated on Friday 25 February, 2022

Swale Borough Council has teamed up with Peel Ports and Historic England to commission a condition survey of the Grade I listed boat store in Sheerness.

The almost £12,000 survey will help Peel Ports understand what work is needed to restore the architecturally significant building.

Completed in 1860, the boat store was constructed using a pioneering all-metal frame, a design which later paved the way for the first skyscrapers in Chicago.

It’s the world’s oldest surviving example of its type following the destruction of the Crystal Palace and the first South Kensington Museum.

Used for storing and maintaining small boats for 100 years, the building has been used intermittently since the Royal Naval Dockyard closed in 1961. It was listed in 1962 and is currently on the Heritage at Risk Register.

Richard Goffin, Port Director at Sheerness, said:

“We’ve partnered with Historic England and Swale Council to carry out a condition survey that will help us understand the restoration requirements of the boat store.

“The survey will recommend a schedule of repairs with estimated costs that we can use to collectively to look at funding streams that will help us deliver the work.

“The boat store sits within a very busy working port with more than 200 workers, so we’ll need to carefully balance any future work with our International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) health and safety requirements.

“Historic England and Swale Council are specialists in this area of conservation and will help us determine what the building needs, and how we can secure funding to preserve this historically significant building.”

Emily Gee, Regional Director for Historic England in London and the South East, said:

“We are pleased to be part-funding this survey and working with Peel Ports and Swale Council to better understand the condition of this internationally important Grade I building of outstanding interest.

“A true understanding of the repairs needed at the boat store is the first step in planning for its reuse. We are keen to get it repaired and back into use to secure its future.”

Cllr Mike Baldock, cabinet member for planning at the council, said:

“We’re pleased to contribute to the condition survey of the boat store in Sheerness port.

“When we adopted our heritage strategy in 2020, addressing the longstanding poor condition of the boat store was a priority for us.

“We’re pleased to support the work of Peel Ports and Historic England as they work to understand the extent of restoration needed to ensure this important building survives into the future.”