On board for history lesson!

Wednesday 18th May 2022 4:00 pm
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East Quay
East Quay, where the boards would be located (Onion Collective )

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A TOTAL of 22 information boards highlighting Watchet’s history, traditions and celebrated characters, will become a major feature of the harbourside if a planning application to Somerset West and Taunton council is successful, it was revealed this week.

The application comes from the Onion Collective, the community interest company behind the controversial £7 million East Quay development.

It is intended to “provide information for visitors outside of museum hours, build a cohesive piece of nostalgia and explore less well-known history.”

If planning permission is granted, the boards would be mounted in large metal frames along the marina’s East Quay railings in front of existing seating.

The applicants explained: “The signs will cover subjects like the industrial history of the former port, the transition to the marina, and some of the less-well known but extraordinary stories of the people who have animated the town’s heritage, from Yankee Jack to the Hobblers (sailors who traditionally moored boats in the harbour).

“The inspiration for these panels came from a similar initiative that took place in 2017 when Contains Art, with partners including the Market House Museum and Watchet Conservation Society, created 12 information panels about Watchet’s paper-making heritage, and which were displayed along the Esplanade over a period of six weeks.

“They were hugely well-received by visitors and locals alike, but not permanent as they had only a temporary licence. This proposal is for 10 new boards and to refresh and remake the 12 original boards.

“East Quay is now home to a handmade paper mill once again - Two Rivers Paper is a tenant at East Quay - bringing the connection of paper making and maritime history full circle.”

The Onion Collective added that - if approved - the boards would be granted funding as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project that is currently under way, run by Contains Art CIO related to maritime heritage.

The boards would be made from galvanized steel tubing and clamps to match the existing fencing with the information and text printed on to sheet metal to provide longevity and security.

The planning committee will make a decision on the application at a future meeting.

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