Boathouse museum idea

THE RNLI'S lifeboat station could eventually be turned into a seafront maritime museum, after the new boat house, at Maer Rocks, opens this summer.

THE RNLI'S lifeboat station could eventually be turned into a seafront maritime museum, after the new boat house, at Maer Rocks, opens this summer.A new multi-million pound boat house is scheduled to open on June 6 - leaving the old boathouse on The Esplanade potentially unused.Town councillor Steve Gazzard says that once the old boat house is vacated - owned by East Devon District Council but rented by the RNLI - he would like to see it used to reflect Exmouth's long maritime tradition."There are lots of wonderful things we could put in it," he said. "Exmouth has a long and proud maritime tradition and a strong relationship with the sea. It would be a focal point for visitors. "The building would be perfect; it is well placed on the seafront. And, because of its history, it would be perfect for a maritime museum or exhibition."Obviously there would have to be further discussion at the district and town council but funding from the lottery and other sources might be available."Deputy mayor and Exmouth Champion Darryl Nicholas said: "If it were a possibility, then it would clearly be a good use for the building. Maritime activities have played a huge role in Exmouth's history and to have a good quality attraction reflecting this would be a worthwhile addition for residents and tourists alike."The current boathouse is the third of the town's lifeboat stations - the first was built in 1803 near Passage House but in 1814 was washed away during a storm.The second was built in 1859 - and the current one was built on the same site in 1903.However, if the building is not turned into a museum, there could be a limited number of uses for it - Exmouth county councillor Eileen Wragg applied to get the building listed and is optimistic: "English Heritage came to have a look around and they were very impressed," she said.A spokesman for EDDC, said: "The current Lifeboat Station building is owned by EDDC and leased to the RNLI. "Whilst the Lifeboat Service is still based in this building, it is too early to speculate about what future use it might serve. However, the council is happy to receive suggestions from interested parties. These ideas will be discussed in due course with the town council, Devon County and other agencies as part of the wider Exmouth Regeneration Programme.


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