WATCHET
BOAT MUSEUM

 

 Free Admission
Opening times
2pm to 4pm every day
from Easter to the end of September.
 
Visits outside these times for parties or individuals can nearly always be arranged.

  Contact us

greatscott@dsl.pipex.com
Opposite the West Somerset Railway Station, Watchet

Home

 Our Attractions

 Visitor Information
 Background and history

 Links

 Boat Plans


 Background and history

The museum is run entirely by dedicated volunteers from Friends of the Flatner
and as admission is free, we rely on donations to keep us going.

 

Shortly after the closure of Watchet Docks, the Watchet Community Marina Association was formed to build and manage a marina. The Association heard that Somerset County Museums Service had ‘an old Somerset fishing boat’ in store and asked to borrow it for publicity purposes.

 

 

 

After inspection it was decided that the boat could be made fit for the water and permission was gladly given for the boat to be sailed at the 1996 Festival Of The Sea at Bristol

 

 

One of the boat's crew, Tony James, decided that this was just the sort of boat he wanted . An ad hoc group was formed led by retired Rolls Royce engineer Derek Vivian, some old plans appeared as if by magic and the boat was constructed over a period of many months in what had been the Old Goods Shed in Watchet.

   As the word spread, great interest was generated and a group was formed - The Friends Of The Flatner Association whose main aim was to find and preserve as many old boats of this type as possible, and to build new boats. The project was greatly encouraged by the County Museum and some of the boats on display are on loan from them.   Watchet Boat Museum started life as a goods shed built in 1862 as the terminus for the Bristol and Exeter Railway.  

 

When the railway was closed the building was used as a store for shipping companies

 

In the museum can be seen many different types of flatner, plus nets and other items associated with their use. There are displays of maps, knotwork and boards showing the various uses of withy.

 

 There are activities specially designed for children such as the block and tackle where even the smallest child can lift much more than expected!

    We have a small shop with items on sale ranging from pocket money to cheque book prices. Many of the items are made by our own Design and Print Department to ensure they meet our exacting standards. Postcards, greetings cards, keyrings, prints, boat plans, mugs and tea towels are just a few examples of the varied stock.
 Membership of FOFA is open to all for a very modest £5 per year, and newsletters are sent to members with increasing frequency.