Seven projects across the UK that have been awarded a share of £14.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to save and reimagine some incredible industrial, maritime and transport heritage and boost skills and opportunities within communities. Three are historic vessel projects, and two are National Historic Ships UK Shipshape Network projects. 

The Pioneer Sailing Trust in Brightlingsea, Essex, has been awarded £2.3m to enhance their facilities in Essex to restore and maintain historic vessels and create a new apprenticeship scheme. Jinnie, a hard-working historic oyster skiff, will be restored and equipped with an electric engine to pass on skills in caring for maritime heritage to the next generation.

Pioneer Sailing Trust is one of NHS-UK's two Shipshape Network East Hubs and was set up in 1999 to recover the wreck of the 1864 Oyster Smack Pioneer and bring her back to operational condition. The Trust also operates Priscilla, a 32ft smack recently restored and launched. Originally built in 1890 in Brightlingsea, Priscilla is used for racing and for teaching how to sail with Gaff rig. The charity now provides learning opportunities for young people to equip them with skills for life, both at sea and on land.

The Cellardyke Trust has been awarded £84,856 for their project The Manx Beauty – Cellardyke and Beyond. This Development Funding will allow the Trust to develop their plans and apply for a full grant in early 2026. The project, if successful, will rebuild the historic herring fishing vessel Manx Beauty and create education training opportunities and develop practical heritage skills.

Built 1937 in Fife, Manx Beauty was launched along with her sister ship the Manx Fairy  on 11 June 1937, part of a Manx Government initiative to revive the Isle of Man fishing industry and encourage young Manxmen back to fishing.  During WWII, Manx Beauty was requisitioned for Port Inspection duties along with her three sister ships, and had a machine gun placed on her foc'sle. After the war she was sold on to several different owners, in Tobermory, Isle of Mull; Conway, North Wales; Padstow, Cornwall; New Brighton, Merseyside; Port Penrhyn in Bangor, North Wales; and finally Birkenhead on Merseyside. 

The 'Bring Back the Beauty' campaign raised funds to return Manx Beauty from Birkenhead to the East Neuk area of Fife in February 2020, with the eventual aim to restore the vessel to her former beauty and use her as a community vessel.  She currently resides at Pitkerie, one mile out of Anstruther and two miles from where she was built in 1937.  The Cellardyke Trust is one of NHS-UK's Shipshape Network Scotland projects. As well as the restoration of the Manx Beauty, the Trust has numerous other projects and partnerships, including with local businesses, schools, community groups, a lobster hatchery, and a knitting group.  Regular talks are given to community groups, Women’s Guild, Rotary, local history interest groups and attendances at maritime festivals.

Lighting Up the Lea in Cody Dock, Newham has been awarded £1.6m to spotlight this corner of London’s industrial past by restoring a Thames Ironworks-made historic vessel, constructing a new heritage centre and developing three years of heritage activities and opportunities.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “What unites these projects is recognition of the heritage value of our industrial past, the incredible stories to be told and committed people. We’re delighted that National Lottery funding ensures that this heritage will be valued, cared for, and sustained, for everyone, now and in the future.”



Manx Beauty