The Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society Ltd


November 2016

Posted by Allan Hickson (Mod) on December 7, 2016 at 3:05 PM

If October was a month of considerable achievements, November carried on where we left off as we reached a most important goal - the successful conclusion of the Heritage Lottery Fund Hull Repair Project. This came following many hours of work by the Projects ‘Admin Team’ for the submission of final documentation by Project Leader Peter Sutcliffe to the HLF. After several days of nail biting, we received the very welcome formal confirmation that our submissions were in order and that matters were complete to the HLF’s satisfaction.

The Project has, at times, been a testing exercise, but to see the condition that the vessel is now in, and the satisfaction and pride that the longer-term future of Kerne is now secure, totally justifies every single minute of the time put in. Not only have we secured the future of the vessel, but we now have better exhibition equipment and displays, a well researched and documented history of the vessel and we have attracted new volunteers to help with her future preservation and operation. And it is to the volunteers, new and old that we have to thank for the 9000+ hours of their time and labour that has been put in to ensure we met the targets agreed with the HLF during the project. So with grateful thanks to all concerned and particularly the officials of the HLF and the Management and Staff of Cammell Laird for the superb quality of their work and their help and understanding, we now move on as there is still much to do.

As with all the best-laid plans of mice and men, projects of this size and complexity are never without unforeseen consequences, and one of these related to the Forward Cabin. As the new steelwork was being welded in place up to the bulkhead between the Boiler Room and Forward Cabin it was necessary to remove the combustible lining and flooring abutting the Cabin bulkhead to negate any potential fire hazard. To cut a long story short, we got to the point that more was coming out than was staying in, so we decided to strip the entire Cabin out to enable us to access and treat areas of the inner hull that probably had not seen the light of day for a 100 years or so. No skeletons, contraband, treasure maps or valuable historical artefacts were found during the stripping out, only remarkably rust-free steel. A team of volunteers led by Paul Kirkbride have now power brushed all the steelwork and have applied a rust inhibitor and three coats of 2 pack epoxy paint, so all we now have to do is re-build the cabin floor, seating and fittings. No small job!!

Those who follow these News items and our Facebook page will probably have gathered that Paul is never short of and excuse to break out one or more of his array of noisy power de-scaling tools, and as reported last month, the needle gun was in action on the starboard deck, near deafening those of us trying to work below, whilst removing built up scale to good effect. Far be it for me to suggest that Paul can be somewhat over-zealous, but the fact that rain water was seen to be collecting in the Boiler Room precisely below the area that Paul had needle gunned seemed to lead us to only one conclusion…..

Suffice to say that following a couple of days work by a coded welder, with a large sheet of steel, a very large sledgehammer and a lot of flying sparks, we now have a very nice new section of deck and the rain ingress has miraculously ceased.

Down below, the firebars have been removed and, via human chain, have been hoisted out from the Boiler Room and stacked and sheeted up behind the funnel, fire tubes have been swept, furnace cleaning has commenced, lagging for the steam pipes has been purchased and installation commenced, bilges have been emptied and the towing hooks dismantled for overhaul.

Away from the vessel we again exhibited at the International Model Boat Show with a good number of visitors to our stand. Adam Slater from Mountfleet Models, who were also exhibiting, reported a great deal of interest in their forthcoming commercial kit of Kerne.

As we still have a rather large ‘To Do’ list to attack, work will continue up until Christmas when we will allow ourselves time to relax and enjoy the odd small libation and a mince pie or two, and trust you will join us in a toast to the achievements of 2016.

Merry Christmas to All.




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