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Insight into the finds of our Archaeologist – Hobbies Dereham, ‘Instructions how to build a Tea Clipper A craft of the Cutty Sark era’.

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Here we have ‘Instructions how to build a Tea Clipper; A craft of the Cutty Sark era’. sourced from Hobbies (Dereham) Limited. These plans and instructions were drafted up to allow:

‘With care and a deal of patience there is no reason why the average handyman should not make a good job of this striking model.’

Hobbies of Dereham, ‘Instructions how to build a Tea Clipper A craft of the Cutty Sark era’. Hobbies of Dereham, ‘Instructions how to build a Tea Clipper A craft of the Cutty Sark era’. Hobbies of Dereham, ‘Instructions how to build a Tea Clipper A craft of the Cutty Sark era’. ‘Instructions how to build a Tea Clipper A craft of the Cutty Sark era’. sourced from Hobbies (Dereham) Limited.

Click the images to enlarge.

The precursors to Hobbies Ltd was set up by John Henry Skinner in 1887, whose brother, Frank Skinner set up a revival firm, Handicrafts in the early 1900’s (and survived to 1937 upon being voluntarily wound up). John H. Skinner’s company had much better luck then his bothers, and became an established hobby company selling designs, materials and tools. These wares were sold through mail order catalogue and also through stores in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and of course Dereham itself. Hobbies Ltd was brought out by Great Universal Stores, whom winded down the purchases by closing the stores and the business itself, however through a management buyout, Hobbies Ltd was resurrected and now survives as Hobbies Ltd since 2007.

The model itself; while the instructions are how to build a generic Tea Clipper, the drawing themselves are of the first American built sea clipper the Sea Witch of 1846, a true Yankee built ship. The Sea Witch was built to transport Tea and other high value cargo quickly from the Western Trading Colonies/concessions, running the Hong-Kong to New York trade lanes. The Sea Witch still holds the mono hull record for sailing between Hong-Kong to New York from 1849, only being beaten by a modern trimaran Great American II which reduced the overall record to 72 and ½ days but without the burden of cargo. After being rendered unfit for the Sino-American trade run, the Sea Witch become used as an immigration ship and was lost on a coral reef 12 miles west of Havana with 500 low-wage labourers of South/South East Asian decent of whom all survived.   

Blog by Karl Hanson, Senior Archaeologist at Parker Planning Services.

Our Archaeology Services: Archaeology Consultancy & Project Management (parkerplanningservices.co.uk)

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