Woodbridge boatyard's new owner promises to keep up tradition
PUBLISHED: 17:23 20 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:23 20 July 2019
Picture: GEMMA JARVIS
It has been in limbo for five years, but now Woodbridge Boatyard, at Everson's Wharf, has finally found itself a new owner - and there have been reassurances that it will remain an established boat repair and restoration yard.
In April this year, Eric Reynolds dropped anchor at the boatyard, which has proudly stood on the riverside for 130 years, and promised that he was here to keep the local boating community alive.
Founder of Evolution Yachts and chairman of Save Britain's Heritage, Mr Reynolds is also the man behind Urban Space Management Ltd, a development and consultancy firm that he began in 1970.
It was almost by accident that Mr Reynolds ended up buying the new venture. Whule he was attending a business meeting in the town, his wife wandered in to Woodbridge and stumbled across the boatyard.
With her husband being a boat owner himself, Mrs Reynolds enquired about storage and by chance, discovered the yard was actually for sale.
Mr Reynolds, who is originally from London, said: "What we're trying to do is continue the tradition, it's a lot of work as we've got quite a bit of repairing of the yard to do but everyone has been very welcoming and supportive."
Tim Everson, the great grandson of one of the original designers and builders of the boatyard back in 1889, works on his boat at the yard and was always hopeful of keeping the Everson name going.
There had been concerns over the future of the building, with apprehension abound that it would be demolished and converted in to properties, so Mr Everson is thrilled about Mr Reynolds intentions to maintain the historic yard.
As he explained: "Pleased is an understatement. He is trying to keep the original structure of the building which is of great historical interest.
"It's a traditional shed with traditional boats outside which is quite rare nowadays.
"As part of the heritage of Woodbridge, it's great that Eric is preserving it."
Asked about his plans for the future, Mr Reynolds said: "Just keep going. And try to keep it as traditional as possible."
With Mr Reynolds steering the yard in the right direction, the community of Woodbridge will be relieved that a part of the towns' maritime heritage will continue to thrive.