LIn September 2019, we were given the opportunity to take on the long unused and derelict Arctic Dry Dock, in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The potential of the facility was obvious. The need for a ship repair center for smaller ships was clear.
Arctic Dry Dock – Marvins Yard – Yacht building and fitting yard. Constructed by George Henry Marvin in 1885. Comprises chimney, arch, which originally contained the Pattern Shop, and slipway. Engine chimney of stock brick, square in section about 50 feet high, tapering to top with simple cap with modillion cornice. This is attached to a stone segmental arch with stock brick voussoirs, the arch filled in with weatherboarding with 2 C19 industrial windows and unloading doors. Two lean-to weatherboarded structures are attached, one of which is the winch house. The arch bears a tablet inscribed GM 1885. The interior contains the original 1885 2.5hp beam engine driving a winding drum through a four stage reduction gearing now adapted to run on compressed air. The boiler has been moved and adapted to act as an air reservoir chamber. Attached to the arch is the slipway constructed of local stone blocks with 4 steps at each shore end and flights of 13 steps two thirds of the way along ending in a wooden pier each side with mainly chamfered concrete supports. The floor of the dock is made of large concrete slabs on which lie three railway tracks to support the cradles. At the end of the C19 this was probably the single largest yacht building and fitting enterprise in Britain, its importance shown by its work on King George V’s racing cutter “Britannia”.In World War I the slipway was used to convert large yachts and pleasure boats into patrol boats. In World War II Coles Yard was the base for Free French naval patrol boats.