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2nd September 2021

Two historic ships are to be restored.

A long-established shipyard company has been appointed to repair and restore two of the city’s much-loved ships, the Arctic Corsair and Spurn Lightship.

A decision record published by Hull City Council today (Friday 3 September) confirms the appointment.

Following a competitive and highly technical bidding and review process, the detailed submissions were extensively reviewed by a team of project staff and independent maritime experts.

With more than 100 years of experience in repairing ships, Hull firm Dunston (Ship Repairs) Limited, will undertake the work to secure the long-term future of the two vessels and give them a new lease of life as part of the £30.3m Hull Maritime project – funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Hull City Council.

This complex specialist work is a major part of the heritage-led regeneration scheme to preserve and celebrate Hull’s rich maritime heritage. Both ships will continue to play an important role in showcasing their national and historical significance to visitors and residents alike.

Hull’s last remaining sidewinder trawler, the Arctic Corsair will be the first vessel to be restored. The ship was last moved from its original berth in August 2019, when it captured the hearts of thousands of people who came to see the trawler move for the first time in 20 years. She will make its penultimate journey to the shipyard in William Wright Dock in the coming weeks.

Once restoration works are complete, the Arctic Corsair will then move to its final berth at the North End Shipyard on the River Hull, and is expected to again draw large crowds, a former dock and an historic site in its own right.

North End Shipyard
Creating a new visitor attraction for Hull
Arctic Corsair
The Arctic Corsair, Hull’s last remaining sidewinder trawler will be restored

Dunston’s thoroughness in their attention to detail, and their experience along with their extensive knowledge of the supply chain stood out. The commitment to training, apprenticeships to young people and utilising local labour was also a standout factor, all supporting the city’s economy and improving skills within the local workforce.

Councillor Daren Hale, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “I am delighted to see this project is moving forward, and this decision is a key and important milestone.

“It is great to have a specialist shipyard on board who fully understands the importance of working closely with our curators and volunteers to restore these two ships and the significance they have within the city.

“Dunston's will work to preserve the historical integrity of the ships, enabling visitors to discover their true physical connection to what makes them so special.”

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The journey of the Arctic Corsair in 2019 captivated many people, and its restoration and that of the Spurn Lightship is sure to do the same.

“We’re thrilled to see this element of Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City and the project as a whole progressing well. Thanks to National Lottery players, this important heritage item will be preserved to be enjoyed by locals and visitors from further afield, whilst also playing a significant role in boosting the local economy and aiding the wider regeneration of Hull.”

Richard Bourne, Managing Director and co-owner of Dunston (Ship Repairs) Limited together with Mr David Clark, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this once in a lifetime contract to restore two of the city’s historic ships which are cherished by so many. We appreciate how important they are, what they mean to the city and the vital role they played in our maritime story.

“Dunston’s have a long and established history in restoring ships and we are proud to be able to work on these two significant vessels.

“Not only will the restoration of the ships support the local economy with most of the supply chain being from Hull, the opportunities to enhance the skills and learning of young people and our team will also be an important and exciting element of the contract.

“We are looking forward to working with the Hull Maritime team to create two special museum-ships that will be displayed on a national and international stage, for residents and visitors to explore and appreciate for decades to come.”

Thanks to funding from Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, these two ships are being restored as part of the Hull Maritime project. There will also be significant improvements to develop three important sites: the Maritime Museum; the Dock Office Chambers and the North End Shipyard.

The next step will be to move the Arctic Corsair from its current location to the shipyard and work is expected to get underway in the autumn.

The new visitor attraction at the North End Shipyard is expected to open in summer 2023.