A HISTORIC model boat which is nearly 100 years old has been given a new lease of life after experts were challenged with remodelling it.

The Nottage Maritime Institute, in Wivenhoe, was given the task of restoring a model boat originally built by Ernie Turner.

Ernie Turner is said to be viewed as “Wivenhoe’s answer to the famous naïve artist, Alfred Wallis".

The model is of a steam pleasure boat and is said to be unusually large and more detailed than other Ernie Turner models.

Gazette: Parts- the model boat in its partsParts- the model boat in its parts (Image: The Nottage Maritime Institute in Wivenhoe)

Ernie is mostly known for his paintings of Wivenhoe’s Quays and ships and yachts on the river - three of which the Nottage has in its collection.

The model was brought to the Nottage in bits in a box by its owner, Carolyn Donnelly, from Rowhedge, who had inherited it from her father, Denis, who was Ernie Turner’s nephew.

Carolyn told the Nottage Maritime Institute how she used to play with the model as a child in the 1960s, after which it was left in storage.

Over the years its condition deteriorated as the glue used in the construction became brittle and failed and the model slowly disintegrated in its storage box.

A spokesman for the Nottage Maritime Institute in Wivenhoe said: “Knowing that the Nottage had other works by Ernie Turner, and its custodians were familiar with the construction of such boats, Carolyn offered the model for restoration so that it could be displayed on permanent loan.

Gazette: Restored- the model boat back in working orderRestored- the model boat back in working order (Image: The Nottage Maritime Institute in Wivenhoe)

“Richard Barnard, one of the Nottage’s exhibition team, began the painstaking job of cleaning and identifying the parts and re-assembling them to bring the model back to life.

“There were some bits missing and these were replaced with new wood and blended in where necessary so that the “patina” that the old model had developed over its long life would not be lost.

“The boat in “kit form” below: The model was not restored or re-painted to look like new, but it was left in its antique state of wear and tear, as befits something that is nearly a hundred years old.”

Carolyn was recently invited to an unveiling of the model at the Nottage and was delighted to see it looking just as she remembered from her childhood.

The model now joins the Nottage’s collection of marine artefacts and paintings in its museum, which is open at weekends and Bank Holidays from May to September, 1pm to 4pm.

Entry to the museum is free.