It has become a bit of a long running joke, the world’s only nautical museum not to have a boat, but now MNH is hoping that the Peggy will be back in Castletown in the next three years.

The Peggy, the last intact surviving shallop and the oldest surviving schooner in the world, is the oldest surviving vessel to have been fitted with sliding keels.

Once owned by George Quayle the Peggy was removed from the Nautical museum in the island’s ancient capital in 2015 to allow for conservation work to protect it. Since then the Peggy’s future has been regularly questioned, particularly by Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse.

Connie Lovel, Executive Director at MNH, said: ‘The Nautical Museum and the Peggy are irrevocably interconnected and interdependent in terms of their heritage values and significance.  A powerful and compelling authenticity lies in the story of George Quayle, the Nautical Museum and life in Castletown and the Isle of Man in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

‘Our vision for the site is ambitious but wholly appropriate, accommodating the Peggy in a suitable manner in stable conditions and sharing her unique story, as well as that of her owner and 18th century Isle of Man in a way that marks it out as a world class all-weather heritage visitor attraction that the Island can be immensely proud of, showcasing one of its most significant items in Manx National Heritage’s care for the nation.’

A Future Home

However, with MNH committed to returning Peggy to her home, it has now published a document which not only outlines its plans for the museum, but also answers many questions about how its restoration will be funded.

The plans, which you view below, show the boat being displayed in a bespoke, environment controlled boathouse. MNH said the plans include entrance from a reception lobby with views over and into the Peggy. Replica sails would also with projected images telling part of the story of the Peggy, George Quayle and 18th century Castletown.

The boathouse itself would have a curved roof in copper sheet with Verdigris finish which MNH says is ‘evocative of sails or hull’.

Funding

How do you raise £5m for a history project? Well MNH say: ‘A fundraising campaign will be developed with the target of raising 50% of the project costs. The balance will be requested from Government as a capital bid. The costs are based on the concept designs which were calculated using assessments by a professional cost consultant and recent ‘actual’ exhibition design costs. Market testing will be undertaken when full design details have been agreed and the whole project cost is secured.’

It does also accept that £5m is a lot of money.

It adds: ‘The vision for the site is ambitious but wholly appropriate if the Peggy is to be accommodated in a way that is suitable to maintain her in stable conditions and tell the story of the Peggy, her owner George Quayle, and 18th century Isle of Man in a way that marks it out as a world class Heritage visitor attraction adding significant value to the wider visitor economy and contributing to Exchequer benefit for the Government

‘The project is multifaceted and the budget cost includes the design, construction and development of the new boathouse for the Peggy at the Nautical Museum, together with the costs to conserve and redisplay the registered buildings, Quayle’s private dock and introduce a modern and engaging experience for all as part of the Nautical Museum Heritage visitor attraction.

‘The opportunity exists to return the Peggy to public display in Castletown, within a vibrant world-class, fully accessible heritage visitor attraction, for the enjoyment, engagement and education of current and future generations.’

Who Was George Quayle?

The Peggy’s history is synonymous with that of its owner George Quayle. The Peggy was designed and built for Quayle, who was from a prominent Manx family and who had a career in finance, commerce and as a long serving MHK. However, when he died, she was locked away for over 100 years, almost entirely forgotten, until she was rediscovered in 1935.

As well as The Peggy, the museum would also tell more of his life and of the Castletown he would’ve known.

Tynwald

When Tynwald sits later this month, members will consider a report into the future of The Peggy, which includes a number of options, with MNH showing its clear preference for the £5m plan.

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