As Newport council looks set to end support, the charity Friends of Newport Ship could take project on

Medieval ship supporters look to save Newport's treasure themselves

Medieval ship supporters look to save Newport's treasure themselves

First published in Gwent news
Last updated
South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by

WITH plans for a Newport Ship museum on the rocks, supporters are considering taking matters into their own hands amid consternation over plans to end its funding.

Friends of the Newport Ship chairman Peter Hayward says he’s been told Newport council doesn’t want to complete the project to restore and display the medieval boat found in the River Usk in 2002. And he says the only way forward is to set up a charitable organisation to take it on.

The Argus can reveal that archaeological experts, and even one museum in Germany, have reacted with dismay to plans by the council to cut funding to nothing by 2016.

Friends of the Newport Ship have told council officers the proposals are inconsistent, with the council making no provision for storage costs of the timbers, which are currently being preserved at the Ship Centre in Maesglas.

It also argues that with the potential value of the boat as a tourist attraction and as an asset for the city, abandoning the project would be a complete waste of the investment made in it.

The group has told the authority it is committed to setting up a charitable body that could take over the ship, but warned that can’t be done overnight.

Mr Hayward told the Argus: “What the council have said is there’s no way they are going to take the project through to completion.

“The only way forward that we can see at the moment is for us to set up a new charitable organisation that could take that forward.”

He said the group is working on trying to establish whether that would be financially viable.

On Tuesday, council leader Bob Bright told the Newport City Summit that while the Newport Ship should be exhibited, it isn’t “within the gift of the city council” and that a partnership approach was needed.

Mr Hayward said that Cllr Bright’s comments were “more positive than I dared hope” and suggested he couldn’t say it was a national treasure and then end the project by refusing it more funding.

Council documents show that most people who contacted the council over recent budget consultation did so to object to plans to cut the Newport Ship’s funding. Objectors include the German National Maritime Museum, the Institute for Archaeologists, the National Archeology Society and the editor of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

Two reports on the Newport Ship have been recently published in the journal. Under Newport council budget proposals it will have its funding cut totally by 2016 – losing £105,000 in 2014/15 and £145,000 in 2015/16.

Newport council is due to formally set the budget later this month, with cabinet set to discuss it on February 10.

‘Council is committed to storing the timbers’

NEWPORT council is committed to storing the timbers of the Newport Ship and is finalising options for where to put it, according to a senior councillor. Councillor Debbie Wilcox, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said she discussed the situation with the Friends and the public last year.

In comments made before Cllr Bright spoke on Tuesday, she said: “I was very clear about the dire financial situation we are in and explained I had met with the appropriate Welsh Government minister who was unable to offer any further funding for the project.

Newport City Council has invested significantly in the project since 2002 and is committed to securing suitable storage for the timbers. While there is no budget to progress the project beyond the conservation stage, we are committed to securing suitable storage for the timbers.”

Cllr Wilcox said the authority is committed to completing the conservation of the timbers, having entered into a contract with York Archaeology Trust for them to be freeze dried. “The project is moving out of its current base in Maesglas later this year when the lease ends and the council is finalising options for suitable storage in the future.”

Newport council documents say the authority is committed to the completion of the conservation of timbers, but there is “no funding to progress beyond this conservation stage”.

The council budget documents say staff working on the project are at risk of redundancy, but admits there will be on-going costs for storage and of managing contract with York Archaeological Trust.

Comments (19)

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9:53am Thu 6 Feb 14

altom23 says...

A very sad day for Newport yet again. A national treasure being thrown on the "Council Tip" Good luck to the Friends of the Newport Ship and thanks for the very hard work and dedication they have put into the project this far. Diolch yn fawr.
A very sad day for Newport yet again. A national treasure being thrown on the "Council Tip" Good luck to the Friends of the Newport Ship and thanks for the very hard work and dedication they have put into the project this far. Diolch yn fawr. altom23
  • Score: 8

10:47am Thu 6 Feb 14

Abertillery29 says...

Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.
Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC. Abertillery29
  • Score: 8

11:35am Thu 6 Feb 14

lowandhardandinthecorner says...

Abertillery29 wrote:
Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.
...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.
[quote][p][bold]Abertillery29[/bold] wrote: Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.[/p][/quote]...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay. lowandhardandinthecorner
  • Score: 27

12:14pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Walter Devereux says...

lowandhardandintheco
rner
wrote:
Abertillery29 wrote:
Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.
...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.
Exactly. This is nothing to do with short-sightedness, just money.
[quote][p][bold]lowandhardandintheco rner[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Abertillery29[/bold] wrote: Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.[/p][/quote]...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.[/p][/quote]Exactly. This is nothing to do with short-sightedness, just money. Walter Devereux
  • Score: 15

12:44pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Crazydad says...

I can empathise with the frustrations that NCC cannot put any more money into protecting the Newport Ship however, if people want to protect and preserve something then really we as the community of Newport need to sort it out ourselves. Stop relying on the council (and state) to do things for you.

I agree that if it was found in Cardiff then it would become a Welsh icon and something else that assembly members could hang their hat on and take credit for, but that is the difference. in the eyes of the assembly Newport is insignificant compared to Cardiff and Sawnsea.
I can empathise with the frustrations that NCC cannot put any more money into protecting the Newport Ship however, if people want to protect and preserve something then really we as the community of Newport need to sort it out ourselves. Stop relying on the council (and state) to do things for you. I agree that if it was found in Cardiff then it would become a Welsh icon and something else that assembly members could hang their hat on and take credit for, but that is the difference. in the eyes of the assembly Newport is insignificant compared to Cardiff and Sawnsea. Crazydad
  • Score: 13

12:58pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Adrian Williams says...

lowandhardandintheco
rner
wrote:
Abertillery29 wrote: Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.
...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.
Bang on the money there
[quote][p][bold]lowandhardandintheco rner[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Abertillery29[/bold] wrote: Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.[/p][/quote]...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.[/p][/quote]Bang on the money there Adrian Williams
  • Score: 8

1:43pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Templar05 says...

Benefit cheats owing thousands and thousands of pounds get a slap on the wrist, but a piece of Newport history can't get funding ? The city is suppose to be bringing in tourism ,not scaring them out ....Shame !
Benefit cheats owing thousands and thousands of pounds get a slap on the wrist, but a piece of Newport history can't get funding ? The city is suppose to be bringing in tourism ,not scaring them out ....Shame ! Templar05
  • Score: 0

2:23pm Thu 6 Feb 14

whatintheworld says...

Templar05 wrote:
Benefit cheats owing thousands and thousands of pounds get a slap on the wrist, but a piece of Newport history can't get funding ? The city is suppose to be bringing in tourism ,not scaring them out ....Shame !
where in the world did that first line come from...
[quote][p][bold]Templar05[/bold] wrote: Benefit cheats owing thousands and thousands of pounds get a slap on the wrist, but a piece of Newport history can't get funding ? The city is suppose to be bringing in tourism ,not scaring them out ....Shame ![/p][/quote]where in the world did that first line come from... whatintheworld
  • Score: 6

4:50pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Stan Edwards says...

There'll be empty spaces in Friars Walk - put it in there. Oops, it costs £90m of public loan for a brand new white elephant.
There'll be empty spaces in Friars Walk - put it in there. Oops, it costs £90m of public loan for a brand new white elephant. Stan Edwards
  • Score: -1

4:51pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Stan Edwards says...

I should have said that Friar's Walk doesn't float my boat!
I should have said that Friar's Walk doesn't float my boat! Stan Edwards
  • Score: -3

4:56pm Thu 6 Feb 14

GardenVarietyMushroom says...

Crazydad wrote:
I can empathise with the frustrations that NCC cannot put any more money into protecting the Newport Ship however, if people want to protect and preserve something then really we as the community of Newport need to sort it out ourselves. Stop relying on the council (and state) to do things for you.

I agree that if it was found in Cardiff then it would become a Welsh icon and something else that assembly members could hang their hat on and take credit for, but that is the difference. in the eyes of the assembly Newport is insignificant compared to Cardiff and Sawnsea.
Spot on
[quote][p][bold]Crazydad[/bold] wrote: I can empathise with the frustrations that NCC cannot put any more money into protecting the Newport Ship however, if people want to protect and preserve something then really we as the community of Newport need to sort it out ourselves. Stop relying on the council (and state) to do things for you. I agree that if it was found in Cardiff then it would become a Welsh icon and something else that assembly members could hang their hat on and take credit for, but that is the difference. in the eyes of the assembly Newport is insignificant compared to Cardiff and Sawnsea.[/p][/quote]Spot on GardenVarietyMushroom
  • Score: 4

5:02pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Woodgnome says...

A sad day for heritage and culture in Newport. I suggest it's housed in the Council chamber where this will serve two purposes. It will be housed properly and will also star as the best bit of dead wood in there amongst the current administration.
A sad day for heritage and culture in Newport. I suggest it's housed in the Council chamber where this will serve two purposes. It will be housed properly and will also star as the best bit of dead wood in there amongst the current administration. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

5:03pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Dave on his Soapbox says...

....where's CADW and the National Lottery Fund in all this.....when you see some of the things they fork out money for......
...and when you get the 'it puts Wales on the map' when the like of the Ryder Cup and he forthcoming NATO conference have £££'s of taxpayers money squandered on them......
look at the Mary Rose experience and the recently opened purpose built building....
typical of the lot in power at Newport CC.....full of big ideas.....but full of hot air when it comes to action.....
although there'll be plenty of space once the White Elephant in the city centre gets build......which they were able to justify borrowing money for....
....where's CADW and the National Lottery Fund in all this.....when you see some of the things they fork out money for...... ...and when you get the 'it puts Wales on the map' when the like of the Ryder Cup and he forthcoming NATO conference have £££'s of taxpayers money squandered on them...... look at the Mary Rose experience and the recently opened purpose built building.... typical of the lot in power at Newport CC.....full of big ideas.....but full of hot air when it comes to action..... although there'll be plenty of space once the White Elephant in the city centre gets build......which they were able to justify borrowing money for.... Dave on his Soapbox
  • Score: -2

10:59pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Charles Street says...

We here talk from the ReNewport group about changing the way Newport is seen from outside and then the council behave true to type and threaten to discard a unique piece of Newport and Europe's maritime heritage. The ship would be a huge asset to Newport in economic terms, educational terms and in boosting our tarnished reputation. It would be immensely short sighted of the council to throw this once in a century chance away, Sadly Newport councils 'enjoy' a reputation for destroying our heritage, the loss of the Corn Exchange, Lyceum Theatre, Town Hall all testify to that, not to mention some of the horror architecture they approved at times as well. Some of it so was hideous and unpopular it got cheered as it was blown up recently. I am also sligtly concerned that having destroyed a popular and effective mural depicting the Chartists we wil get a substandaard and tacky budget replacement.
The ship could be a centre piece of the regeneration programme worth many millions in terms of visitots revenue and media attention, so wake up Newport Council. I also agree with the points made earlier that if it was in Cardiff, more would have been done. What are our AMs and MPs doing about this? Good luck to the Friends of the ship. If we all joined them, that would help. I will do that tomorrow.
We here talk from the ReNewport group about changing the way Newport is seen from outside and then the council behave true to type and threaten to discard a unique piece of Newport and Europe's maritime heritage. The ship would be a huge asset to Newport in economic terms, educational terms and in boosting our tarnished reputation. It would be immensely short sighted of the council to throw this once in a century chance away, Sadly Newport councils 'enjoy' a reputation for destroying our heritage, the loss of the Corn Exchange, Lyceum Theatre, Town Hall all testify to that, not to mention some of the horror architecture they approved at times as well. Some of it so was hideous and unpopular it got cheered as it was blown up recently. I am also sligtly concerned that having destroyed a popular and effective mural depicting the Chartists we wil get a substandaard and tacky budget replacement. The ship could be a centre piece of the regeneration programme worth many millions in terms of visitots revenue and media attention, so wake up Newport Council. I also agree with the points made earlier that if it was in Cardiff, more would have been done. What are our AMs and MPs doing about this? Good luck to the Friends of the ship. If we all joined them, that would help. I will do that tomorrow. Charles Street
  • Score: -2

12:59am Fri 7 Feb 14

nodnyl says...

Walter Devereux wrote:
lowandhardandintheco

rner
wrote:
Abertillery29 wrote:
Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.
...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.
Exactly. This is nothing to do with short-sightedness, just money.
ask yourself this walter? can you remember the industrial and maritime museum in Cardiff Gone knocked down for cardiff bay
[quote][p][bold]Walter Devereux[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lowandhardandintheco rner[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Abertillery29[/bold] wrote: Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.[/p][/quote]...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.[/p][/quote]Exactly. This is nothing to do with short-sightedness, just money.[/p][/quote]ask yourself this walter? can you remember the industrial and maritime museum in Cardiff Gone knocked down for cardiff bay nodnyl
  • Score: 0

8:52am Fri 7 Feb 14

Walter Devereux says...

Yes, but how much taxpayers' money was spent on Mermaid Quay and all the other regeneration around there? The point is not specifically about maritime assets, but money being poured into Cardiff schemes in general, whatever they may be.
Yes, but how much taxpayers' money was spent on Mermaid Quay and all the other regeneration around there? The point is not specifically about maritime assets, but money being poured into Cardiff schemes in general, whatever they may be. Walter Devereux
  • Score: 4

9:10am Fri 7 Feb 14

ncfcr says...

All this over some rotting wood. It's not as if it was a ship of any historical significance. I found an old bundle of newspapers behind my house from the early 1980's once; you know what I did with them? Burnt them.

I agree that Newport is an absolute hole compared to what it could and should have been based on its history and architecture, but I don't think you can blame the Council for not funding the preservation of a boat with no historical significance any longer.

Look for private funding somewhere. I am sure there are plenty of multi-millionaire's that would like to have their ego massaged and identidy enhanced with some free press coverage.
All this over some rotting wood. It's not as if it was a ship of any historical significance. I found an old bundle of newspapers behind my house from the early 1980's once; you know what I did with them? Burnt them. I agree that Newport is an absolute hole compared to what it could and should have been based on its history and architecture, but I don't think you can blame the Council for not funding the preservation of a boat with no historical significance any longer. Look for private funding somewhere. I am sure there are plenty of multi-millionaire's that would like to have their ego massaged and identidy enhanced with some free press coverage. ncfcr
  • Score: -4

2:07pm Fri 7 Feb 14

regaturn says...

I seem to remember quite recently reading that the timbers originated in Spain, suggesting that the Newport Ship is actually Spanish and was effectively dumped here by the Spanish, can't we just give it back to them, it's hardly in the same league as the Mary Rose.
I seem to remember quite recently reading that the timbers originated in Spain, suggesting that the Newport Ship is actually Spanish and was effectively dumped here by the Spanish, can't we just give it back to them, it's hardly in the same league as the Mary Rose. regaturn
  • Score: -1

5:34pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Woodgnome says...

nodnyl wrote:
Walter Devereux wrote:
lowandhardandintheco


rner
wrote:
Abertillery29 wrote:
Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.
...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.
Exactly. This is nothing to do with short-sightedness, just money.
ask yourself this walter? can you remember the industrial and maritime museum in Cardiff Gone knocked down for cardiff bay
The museum went to Swansea with quite a lot of publicity at the time I recall. I visited not long before it transferred.
[quote][p][bold]nodnyl[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Walter Devereux[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lowandhardandintheco rner[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Abertillery29[/bold] wrote: Another example of the short sighted approach of Newport CC.[/p][/quote]...and of the total lack of support from the Senedd. If this ship had been found in Cardiff , a brand new museum would have already have been built to house it in Cardiff Bay.[/p][/quote]Exactly. This is nothing to do with short-sightedness, just money.[/p][/quote]ask yourself this walter? can you remember the industrial and maritime museum in Cardiff Gone knocked down for cardiff bay[/p][/quote]The museum went to Swansea with quite a lot of publicity at the time I recall. I visited not long before it transferred. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

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