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The Skylark IX Recovery Project has begun the conservation of Skylark IX, a historic vessel believed to be one of only two ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ from the World War 2 Operation Dynamo surviving in Scotland.

The initial conservation work on Skylark IX, which is also listed on the National Historic Ships UK Register, centred on preserving the name, a highly significant feature of the vessel and, before now, in danger of being lost.

The two day project to stabilise the flaking paint and timbers and preserve the name was made possible by the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and carried out by Conservator Rowan Gillis of AOC Archaeology Group.

The Skylark IX Recovery Project is now finalising a schedule of further repairs to ensure that the historic wooden hulled vessel, which sank in the River Leven in 2010 and lay half-submerged for two years, is stable enough to be transported back to Dumbarton in coming years.

Skylark IX will then be transported by road on a custom-built cradle from the vessel’s temporary home at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine to the grounds of the Museum’s Denny Tank in Dumbarton. There, it is hoped, funding allowing, Skylark IX will sit at the heart of a new £3m Spirit of Skylark Centre.

Claire McDade, Project Manager at the Skylark IX Recovery Project, explains:

“Over the last two years, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to build a true picture of Skylark’s condition and significance and develop a Conservation Management Plan.

Although, sadly, we have had to accept that Skylark IX will never sail again, our new Conservation Management Plan provides us with a clear pathway for the short, medium and long term repairs needed to care for such a significant historic vessel and keep Skylark’s nationally and locally important stories alive.

“We started with Skylark’s name as it is such a significant and valuable part of the vessel and such a wonderful symbol of our rich social history last century.

“As well as Skylark’s wartime service, that famous rallying call ‘All Aboard the Skylark’ resonates with so many people. It brings to life that period when the train network expanded, we fell in love with trips ‘doon the watter’ and shiny new seaside resorts sprang up across the country.

“We’re grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting us and enabling us to reach this point and begin work on Skylark IX.”

The Dumbarton-based Skylark IX Recovery Project currently runs a Boatbuilding Workshop delivering skills training for people recovering from addictions and heritage, textile and arts programmes supporting those in need across the community.

The Skylark IX Recovery Project hopes to begin fundraising for the proposed Spirit of Skylark Centre later this year.

For more information, visit www.skylarkix.co.uk

Issued on behalf of the Skylark IX Recovery Project
by Joanna Harrison PR
07884 187404 / joannaharrisonpr@aol.com

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