Restoration work to begin on Maggie Helen at historic Hay's Dock

This week Shetland Museum and Archives will welcome traditional sail vessel the Swallow to Hay's Dock with its crew of shipwrights from Brittany and England to begin the long-anticipated work to complete the hull of the Maggie Helen.

Traditional sail vessel the Swallow arriving in Lerwick

The Museum and Archives’ boatshed and Hay’s Dock will be alive with noise and activity over the coming months as the expert team bring with them the materials, equipment and experienced skillset which will ultimately see the vessel back in active use.

Curator, Dr Ian Tait said: “We are delighted to see this team of skilled shipwrights arrive in Shetland to embark on the next restoration phase of the Maggie Helen. After many years as a working fishing boat, then later as a yacht, the vessel had fallen into disuse. She came into the boatshed at the Shetland Museum & Archives in 2007, where the first stage of restoration work was done, stripping the boat back to the hull, and replacing defective planking. Since then the vessel has been in indoors storage.

Maggie Helen

“We knew that once the craft is launched, it entails constant funding to cover maintenance. The Trust realised that it could not operate such a vessel, nor was it likely that any other organisation or individual in Shetland could. We approached various boating experts and enthusiasts locally and beyond, and whilst some expressions of interest were received, these dropped out once the challenges were evaluated.

“We’re pleased to have secured a commitment from the Swallow crew to take on the considerable cost and work required to bring the Maggie Helen back to her former glory. Once work is done, the vessel will leave Shetland for completion further afield, to take up a working life especially along the west coast of Britain and in France. Having been built in the same shed she’s in, 120 years ago, Maggie Helen will leave there for a second time in her life, ready to start her new chapter back where she belongs. Whilst we are reluctant to see her go, it will provide us with the space to showcase the restored open boats from our collection, repaired in the same shed, and where they will accessible for all to enjoy.”

Related Posts

Research project commissioned to encourage locals to grow more aets!

Shetland Amenity Trust has commissioned a research project with two local straw makers to understand more about the growing of ...

Read more

‘Logical Confusion’, a retrospective exhibition of Mike McDonnell opens at the Shetland Museum

An ambitious new exhibition dedicated to the artistry of well-known local artist Mike McDonnell opened this weekend at the Shetland ...

Read more

New poetry book - ‘Love in Human Herts’

‘Love in Human Herts’, a new publication celebrating Vagaland’s finest poetry has been launched today by the Shetland Amenity ...

Read more

Film celebrating the achievements of Johnnie Notions launched by Shetland Museum and Archives

A new film which brings to life the incredible story of 18th century inoculation pioneer and Shetland crofter Johnnie Notions has been ...

Read more

Keep a look out for Skeklers this Halloween

We had a great time at our recent Skeklers Hat workshop with local artist Eve Eunson in preparation for Halloween.

Read more

Pre-school Activity Mornings

Bring your little explorers to the Shetland Museum & Archives for our heritage-filled fun sessions, designed especially for under 5's ...

Read more

National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day we asked assistant archivist (and poet) Mark Smith to uncover a hidden gem from the archives. This ...

Read more

October Holiday Workshops

Join us this October Holidays for heritage inspired workshops and some spooky Halloween fun! From witchcraft to skeklers and faas ...

Read more

Treasure Trove Comes to Shetland

Members of the public are invited to come along with their ‘treasures’ and meet experts from Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit ...

Read more

Bold exhibition featuring photography by legendary Diane Arbus opens at Shetland Museum and Archives

A new display of powerful and iconic photographs by Diane Arbus, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, opened ...

Read more

Shetland Museum and Archives Launches New Online Archive Catalogue

A new online Archives catalogue has been launched today (Tuesday 8 August) at the Shetland Museum and Archives.

Read more

CLOSED: Friday 12 noon - Sunday 12 noon

Shetland Museum and Archives will be closed from 12 noon on Friday 21 July until 12 noon on Sunday 23 July, due to a private ...

Read more

A celebration of Shetland’s maritime heritage at the museum

Shetland’s maritime heritage will be at the heart of Shetland Museum and Archives’ summer programme, with a series of themed ...

Read more

Preparing for the herring – photos from the archives

George Gen and Sarah Mackintosh, members of our Visitor Experience team have pulled together a selection of photos from our online ...

Read more

Online Survey: Have your say on our learning and outreach activities

From exhibitions and workshops to family activities and evening talk, we would love to hear your thoughts on our current offering and ...

Read more