Manx Beauty PL 35

A Community Restoration Project – LATEST NEWS


23rd May 2021 saw the launch of our Crowdfunder

Thank you to everyone who donated, The page remains open as a way to support us. Please consider donating and send the link out to anyone and everyone that may be interested in our community project

Link to Manx Beauty Facebook page. Further links to this project at the foot of this page.

In 1936 The Isle of Man Government ordered two ring net herring fishing boats from the East Fife Boatbuilding Co, Cellardyke.

These state of the art boats were core to a Manx Government initiative to revive their herring fishing industry. The plan was to create opportunities for young Manxmen to gain employment a fishing industry thriving off their coast but declining on the island.

A crowd of almost 2000 turned out to watch the launch of the Manx Beauty PL 35 and Manx Fairy PL 43 on the 11th June 1937. Two further boats, the Manx Lad and Manx Lass were ordered and built in Sandhaven near Fraserburgh

Local Skippers

The East Neuk connection did not stop with the launch. The Manx Beauty’s first skipper was Lockhart Horsburgh from Pittenweem and John Deas of Cellardyke became skipper of the Manx Fairy. These fishermen would help local crews gain experience and hopefully regular decent wages encouraging young men back to the industry.

This scale model completed in lockdown 2020/21 by Davie Tod was presented to the group to use in education work and at talks, to show the vision for the future. It was made from line taken off the boat in 2020 and is an accurate hull shape.

The Admiralty requisitioned the boats into service during WW2. After the war the Manx Beauty successfully returned to fish from the Isle of Man until eventually being sold. For the last 50 years the Manx Beauty has been in the ownership of the Maddocks, a fishing family of Birkenhead. Arthur Jnr decided to retire a couple of years ago and the boat came up for sale.

The Manx Beauty a boat of local importance.

The Manx Beauty is iconic, her build photos are fondly displayed in many houses in the town. She is a symbol of the end of an incredible period of growth in the town of Cellardyke. This boat represents a pride in our fishing community, supports businesses and not forgetting the hardship. Cellardyke suffered more than its fair share of losses to the sea with the community suffering multiple tragedies.

A thriving innovative boatbuilding industry developed in Cellardyke in the 19th C, with over a hundred boats being built there. The Manx Beauty is one of the last Cellardyke built boats in existence. Only one year after her launch in 1938 the last yard closed down.

National Importance

Locals describe being able to walk across Anstrurher harbour on the decks of the ringnetters in the 1930s

The Manx Beauty is one of the last surviving 1930’s built ring netters. Hundreds of varnished ring net vessels built and worked the herring ports.

As a WW2 veteran she holds a particular place in the story of this country’s war efforts. see Manx Beauty – Detailed history

Bringing her home

In the summer of 2019 a community group formed to look at the potential of saving and restoring the Manx Beauty. After two trips to see the vessel, “Bring back the Beauty” campaign launched with the purpose of returning the vessel to the East Neuk and to restore her for community use.

The group have many and varied skills including experience in multiple boat restorations. We are under no illusions that this will be a major rebuild project to bring the boat back to her former beauty.

Leaving Birkenhead
Being lifted out at Carmet Marine in Bromborough
Transported to Fife
Lifted into Position
Off Williamson Haulage’s flatbed

To read more about the first steps of the restoration project click here

here's a 2 min video thrown together on a phone, sorry about the sound quality it's been really difficult to get a non windy day. Thanks to all the young folk that took part especially our Coull Deas! we'll aim to up our game for the next one ..

Posted by Bring Back The Beauty on Saturday, 14 March 2020

The Vision of the project

Our Vision is to inspire intergenerational skill sharing and community ownership . We wish to motivate individuals and organisations to share in the process of bringing this vessel back to life. When restoration is complete The Manx Beauty will take part in multiple events and projects and in her new role she will represent our modern community rooted in a unique maritime history.

A recent talk to the Anstruther Inprovements Association on the Manx Beauty Project

For further information click on the links below:-

Manx Beauty – Detailed history

Manx Beauty – Build, Launch and Naming Ceremony

Lockhart Horsburgh – First Skipper of the Manx Beauty

Johnny Deas – Skipper of the Manx Fairy

Alasdair Maclean – Skipper/ Owner 1964-1972


Status on Acquisition

Post Restoration

The Music Project

Sustainability and the Fruitful Fund


The project would like to thank all the individuals and companies involved in helping us save this important vessel.

Trust support has come from the Norah Webber Trust who understand the educational potential of the whole project, subsequently it was their intervention enabled us in the early stages to save the vessel.

Our supporters so far (in no particular order). Those who have donated time or money.

  • Ian and Sybil Murray
  • Sylvia Sharples
  • Peter Aikman
  • Richard Fielder
  • Kenny Ward
  • Gillian Crozier McLaren – Pittenweem Properties
  • Andrew Chalmers
  • Alan Tricker
  • Eric Govan
  • John Chalmers
  • Andrew Gould
  • Dave Crowther
  • Pam Moncur
  • Kate and John Shearer
  • Billy Field
  • Sheila and John Taylor
  • Nick and Janine Chalmers
  • Bob Flann
  • Mike and Laura Griffin
  • Coull Deas
  • Billy and Alean Morris
  • Darren Peattie – East Neuk Salt Co.
  • Willie Deas
  • Michael Deas
  • Elsie Deas
  • Susan Innes
  • Eleanor and Sandy Bowman
  • John Deas
  • Dave Smith
  • Wendy Gow – The Haven
  • Johnny and Jennie Brown
  • Alan and Astrid Brown and Family
  • Lawrie and Lynn Smith
  • Morven and Ian Ovenstone Jones – East Neuk Pianos
  • Jo Hilton and Chris Oliver
  • John Spink
  • Linda McBride – Gibbles
  • Douglas Patterson
  • Davie Tod
  • John Doig
  • Jo Morgan
  • Tom McDonald