Barge museum will rise from ashes

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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This is Kent

TRUSTEES of a Sittingbourne museum destroyed in a suspected arson attack say they are determined to keep the town’s heritage alive. The Dolphin Yard Sailing Barge Museum on Milton Creek, off Crown Quay Lane, burned down in a blaze at 8.20pm on Sunday and police are treating it as suspicious. Members of the trust sifting through the debris yesterday found the only object to survive was a large metal bandsaw. Chairman Clive Reader has received emails from supporters, including an Australian man with family links to barge-building who visited the museum the day before the fire. Mr Reader said three gas cylinders had been found in the wreckage and it is believed they were used to start the fire. Mr Reader said: "We are pig sick because we have been fighting for funds for years. Sittingbourne has lost a huge part of its heritage that we have been fighting to protect from lots of outside influences. If we are to rebuild the museum we will need all the help we can get." He added that feelers had already been put out to see where else the museum could go if it cannot stay at the yard. The museum, which reflected Sittingbourne’s maritime history, was housed in a two-storey timber-frame building originally used for barge-building.

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    by alan hull, Lincolnshire

    Thursday, November 06 2008, 12:45PM

    “I am horrified at the loss of the museum and I can only hope that the committee and team are able to build a newer and better ( if that is possible ) museum. The Dolphin was an amazing source of information to all of us ( I used to own C.I.V ) and a credit to everyone who worked in it and supported it. Many of our beautiful barges rose out of their ashes and with help from us all maybe the Dolphin will too.

    Alan Hull”

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    by Joe White Club, milton creek

    Monday, November 03 2008, 1:51PM

    “We are extremely saddened at this news of our beloved Dolphin Yard Sailing Barge Museum. Tony Lavelle, Peter Morgan, Chris Reader, Alan Cordell, Will Pretty and Chippy Wood must be also extremely disheartened at this brutal loss. However, the published book of The Past Glories of Milton Creek written by our good old friend Alan Cordell and Leslie Williams were also very important to our local history. Our aim as the Joe White Club is too keep these memories alive and teach our youngings the famous word of Milton Creek.
    We very much appreciate Lawrence P.H Bradley's brilliant word outlining his own opinion on The Barge Museum.
    We thank him, we thank the Barge Museum Trustees, The Creek comittee and all other supporters. We deeply acknowledge Gas roads, East and West and it's link with the SS way. In our hearts always, we are there for any help !!!!”

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    by Lawrence P H Bradley, Tacoma Wa USA

    Saturday, November 01 2008, 1:02AM

    “I recall the pride of Peter Morgan when he showed me the museum back in February 2001. I was stunned and sickened to learn of this senseless loss of a piece of our Sittingbourne heritage. Although I live in the USA I feel very attached to my Sittingbourne heritage: I feel this loss personally. My hope and prayer is for a phoenix like re-birth of this gem. Perhaps this re-birth can take the museum in a new direction. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps a living history museum rather than a memorial to the barge building industry?”

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Latest Comments

  • I am horrified at the loss of the museum and I can only hope that the committee and team are able to build a newer and better ( if that is possible ) museum. The Dolphin was an amazing source of information to all of us ( I used...

    Profile image for This is Kent

    by alan hull, Lincolnshire

  • We are extremely saddened at this news of our beloved Dolphin Yard Sailing Barge Museum. Tony Lavelle, Peter Morgan, Chris Reader, Alan Cordell, Will Pretty and Chippy Wood must be also extremely disheartened at this brutal loss....

    Profile image for This is Kent

    by Joe White Club, milton creek

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