Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Archaeologists move 'Britain's oldest yacht'

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Media captionArchaeologists move 'Britain's oldest yacht'

Archaeologists in the Isle of Man have moved "Britain's oldest yacht" for the first time in 200 years.

Manx National Heritage (MNH) said Peggy has been moved from the Nautical Museum in Castletown.

The vessel was built between 1789 and 1793 and is thought to be the earliest surviving example of a British yacht.

An MNH spokesman said Peggy is one of the most important historic artefacts in the British Isles.

"Peggy requires urgent conservation work," he said. "We are looking to conserve her, create a suitable environment in which to house her and to tell her story for future generations."

Image caption Peggy was built for George Quayle, of Castletown, between 1789 and 1793

The boat was lifted by cradle and crane before being transported from the south of the island to a climate-controlled facility in Douglas.

Peggy, which was built for Castletown politician and bank owner George Quayle, will now be stabilised, examined and conserved.

"The humidity of the new surroundings has to be lowered carefully in order to retard the corrosion of her iron fittings without damaging her timbers," added the spokesman.

Image copyright Manx National Heritage
Image caption It is believed Mr Quayle built his own private dock underneath his Castletown home

"At the same time preservation work on her painted surfaces will also commence."

After Mr Quayle's death, the boat was locked away for almost 120 years until she was rediscovered in 1935.

The conservation work, which is expected to take about five years, will involve a team of specialist archaeological contractors from England.

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