Celebrating 50 years of Boatbuilding
2010 will mark Falmouth Marine School's 50th year of teaching boatbuilding.
As a site of education the School can trace its history back to 1825, when it was originally known as the Falmouth Classical & Mathematical School, providing education in Latin, Greek, French and Mathematics to the residents of a rapidly growing Falmouth Harbour.
After the Second World War in the early 1950s the school became a technical college offering its first boatbuilding course. In1980 it became Falmouth Marine School and part of Cornwall College providing as well as boatbuilding and engineering, marine science and watersports courses.
Today the College continues to teach students of all ages and levels the latest boatbuilding techniques in a hands-on and practical way. It is the only place where students can gain specialist training with access to dedicated workshops in both traditional and new wood techniques as well as in the latest range of composites.
Boatbuilding courses at the College take place both at the main site in Killigrew Street and at the workshop at Ponsharden in Penryn. Visitors to the College website can catch the day to day progress of students working on wooden boats on the Traditional Boat Restoration & Repair course at Ponsharden, on the boatbuilding webcam. Visit our website at: www.falmouthmarineschool.ac.uk and click on the boatbuilding webcam icon.
The majority of students on boatbuilding courses progress on to a higher level course after completing their qualification or go on to find work in the marine industry. Former graduates are working all over the country at amongst others Butler & Co, David Walkey Master Shipwright and Underfall Boatyard.
Currently the College offers the following boatbuilding courses:
As well as sailing and watersports available to all students at the College, students on boatbuilding courses also enjoy a number of visits and events throughout the year. In 2007 students were invited to Clovelly for the village's first ever Herring Festival by members of the Picarooner Trust as the students were building a replica of the Clovelly Picarooner, ‘Little Mary'. This year students visited Cornish Timber, getting a personalised a tour of their facilities and a fascinating insight into the workings of a timber yard. Students were shown around the saw mill and watched as expensive timber was selected, converted and kiln dried.
In the summer 2008 ten of the boats built or restored by students on boatbuilding courses were auctioned off on Events Square in Falmouth at the College's very first Boat Auction. Supported by Bonham's and National Maritime Museum Cornwall, the Auction attracted over 300 people and 40 bidders and all the boats were sold in just over an hour. Just last week at the Royal Cornwall Show the prestigious Duke of Cornwall Award was presented to David Walkey, who was nominated by tutors from the boatbuilding course at Falmouth Marine School.
The award can be made to apprentices, trainees or other learner-practitioners of skills vital to the maintenance or improvement of the rural economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and those who offer such opportunities to young people. Educational establishments are not eligible to enter, but may nominate entrants. David Walkey is a master shipwright, based at Gweek Boatyard on the Helford River, who has built a redoubtable reputation for the restoration of fine yachts and historic vessels. The College has enjoyed a long association with David, who has taken some of our best students. The boatbuilding courses offered at the College provide students with a quality of foundation training that enables David to put them straight to work with his highly skilled staff.
Alex Whatley, Curriculum Area Manager for Boatbuilding said: "Our courses equip our students with the latest techniques in wood techniques and composites and are delivered by a team of teaching staff of immense experience and knowledge."
Dave Linnell OBE, Principal of Cornwall College commented: "Falmouth Marine School has an international reputation and a long history of providing boatbuilding courses. The practical experience that students obtain is hard to match and furnishes them with important skills for their future employment in the marine industry."
If you are a former student of Falmouth Marine School, we would like to know what you have been doing since you finished your course. Please visit the Falmouth Alumni page for more details of how to get in touch.