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Visitor season to start early for historic steam drifter Lydia Eva

PUBLISHED: 13:16 04 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 04 April 2014

Great Yarmouth Town Hall. Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Town Hall. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2014

A cosmetic makeover this winter has left the steam drifter Lydia Eva looking the best she has ever been since her launch from Crabtree’s Slipway in Great Yarmouth in 1930.

All on-board fixtures have been painted or varnished, brass polished and many of the mechanical parts such as the ship’s telegraph have been completely overhauled. Now volunteers caring for the historic vessel on the River Yare near the town hall are aiming to make her a new early season attraction for visitors to the Yarmouth.

She opens to visitors on April 7 and visitors will be available to tour her seven days a week. Once again entry is free but there is also the opportunity for free guided tours for individuals, schools and private groups.

Following an appeal in the Mercury for new skippers, 12 people applied who have the qualification necessary to take charge of Lydia Eva when she goes to sea. That means once more she will take people out to sea on at least four occasions this summer.

Anyone interested in a “hands on” steaming experience can contact Don Edwards on 01493 700165 or see the Lydia Eva website for more details.

But this will be an expensive year for Lydia Eva because at the end of the aummer she has to go into dry dock and have her bottom scraped (very unladylike!) as well as many other essential maintenance jobs - an expenditure of £20,000 plus this year, a very high maintenance lady!

Last Saturday 60 volunteers and friends attended a pre-season dinner at the Star Hotel. Ernie Childs from Great Yarmouth Potteries gave a talk on his childhood memories of Yarmouth just after the war accompanied by pictures of how the town looked.

He also had strong memories of the then important fishing industry.

To help with fundraising raconteur Keith Skipper has agreed to do a concert to support Lydia Eva and Gorleston Pavilion is giving the venue free of charge for the event, which will also feature some of the area’s best musical talent.

The concert is on October 9 and tickets can be bought from the Pavilion box office on 01493 662832 or online at

Lydia Eva also has a sister ship, The Mincarlo, which is moored at the Maritime Heritage Quay in Lowestoft. She is the last trawler of her type and will be open to visitors from late May.

Mincarlo is in the early stages of restoration and it is hoped to get her fully operational like Lydia Eva.

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