Yarmouth's historic boat heads restored and returned home

Four out of the five original boat figureheads have returned to their rightful home at Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways.

Four out of the five original boat figureheads, dating back to the 1950s, have returned to their rightful home at Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways. - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Restored historic boat heads dating back to the 1950s have returned to their home in Great Yarmouth. 

Four out of the five original boat figureheads have been returned to Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways.

They were “lovingly” restored by local expert Kelvin Thatcher. 

The figureheads – made of mahogany and in the shape of various animal heads – were added to the gondolas which were used to take families around the Waterways site between the late 1950s and 1980s.  

The work undertaken was of a delicate nature due to the condition and age of the wood, with many of the boat heads rotten and missing parts. 

Four out of the five original boat figureheads have returned to their rightful home at Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways.

Four out of the five original boat figureheads, dating back to the 1950s, have returned to their rightful home at Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways. - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

But one boat head was damaged beyond repair. 

Now returned to their original beauty, the figureheads have been placed on the most northerly island of the recently restored Venetian Waterways as standalone pieces. 

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Michelle Burdett, head of inward investment at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “It’s exciting to have the restored boat heads returning to the Waterways and displayed throughout, as they are really interesting pieces of work to look at with a lot of history.” 

Angela Frisby

The cow's head before the restoration. - Credit: Angela Frisby

Fish head

The fish head before the restoration. - Credit: Angela Frisby

The cow's head

The horse's head before the restoration. - Credit: Angela Frisby

Kelvin Thatcher

Kelvin Thatcher in the process of restoring one of the boat heads. - Credit: Angela Frisby

Angela Frisby restoring one of the boat heads.

Angela Frisby volunteered to help with the restorations. - Credit: Angela Frisby

The horse head

The horse's head before the restoration. - Credit: Angela Frisby

The horse's head with filler

The horse's head during the restoration process. - Credit: Angela Frisby

The cow's head during the restoration process.

The cow's head during the restoration process. - Credit: Angela Frisby

Fish's head before the paint had been applied.

Fish's head before the paint had been applied. - Credit: Angela Frisby

Horse's head

The horse's head after receiving the first coat of paint. - Credit: Angela Frisby

The cow's head

The cow's head looking in much better condition. - Credit: Angela Frisby


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