Beloved animal figureheads will be back on the water this year
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Visitors to Great Yarmouth’s Waterways will see a return of one of its most iconic features when it reopens later on this year.
A team of volunteers led by craftsman Kelvin Thatcher are restoring the former boat figureheads which will see the winged horse, the cow and the fish return to the grade II-listed seafront attraction.
The work to bring back one of the Venetian Waterways most loved features is part of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s £2.7m project, which hopes to re-establish the Waterways as one of the town’s most popular features.
The figureheads – made of mahogany – were added in 1956 to the electric gondolas which were used to take families around the lake of the site.
Mr Thatcher, 68, who is a conservator, has spent the last three weeks rubbing the boat heads down ready for painting as well as filling in small cavities.
He said: “The Waterways is a really lovely project because people have a lot of fond memories of it.
“It has been great working with a team of volunteers and I am really looking forward to seeing the figureheads all finished.
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“When you see the quality of the sculptures upon finishing, it makes the hard work worthwhile.”
The 68-year-old, who has been assisted by five volunteers, will spend the next week designing the final features of the animals.
The figureheads will then be painted before being attached to a plinth ready to be installed in the Waterways garden.
Project manager Claire Sullivan said she was delighted to be able to bring back one of the most iconic elements of the seafront attraction.
“The boat heads hold a lot of memories with people so for me this is definitely one of the most exciting parts of the project,” she said.
“Although they won’t be attached to the boats, we are displaying them in a different way which we hope people will like.”
Mrs Sullivan confirmed the project was progressing well but said an official opening date was yet to be agreed.
She also announced eight boats and eight pedalos would return to the site.
Last week it was announced the grounds would reopen to the public on Easter Sunday for the Rotary Club’s Duck Race. However, work on the boating lake remains ongoing.