Mural celebrates last boat-building family in seaside town of Sheringham in Norfolk

A mural celebrating the last boat-building family in the Norfolk town of Sheringham has been unveiled at the site of the original business.

Lewis 'Buffalo' Emery started building boats in the 1850s after being unable to find a craftsman to make him a new crab boat.

Lewis' great great grandsons Jonathan, Michael and Malcolm were all present to see the work by artist Colin Seal which celebrates the Emery family.

The mural depicts family members Reginald, Chris and Harold in the workshop at The Old Boathouse.

Jonathan Emery, whose grandfather Reginald is in the mural, said: "The family are very proud of our family history and to see it immortalised here."

Reginald, Chris and Harold at work in the boatyard.

Michael Emery said he had been desperate to join the family business, but he was warned off.

Michael Emery said: "He [Harold] said wooden boats are dying out, so you stay in the building trade.

"He said people will always need houses but they won't necessarily need boats and he proved to be right really."

The Emerys last boat was built in 1957 but by then they had produced quite an armada, even supplying a ship to the Falklands to ferry shepherds between islands.

Malcolm Emery is a children's entertainer known as Razz The Clown. He said he had wanted to be a boat builder too.

He said: "I did. I very much did, just to keep it going, but my uncles decided no. They decided there's no future in it."

Lewis "Buffalo" Emery who inspired the book " I wanted a boat. I built a boat." Credit: Emery family collection

The mural was painted by Colin Seal whose other work can be seen along Sheringham seafront.

He said he used to come to Sheringham with his parents, and remembered the town as a hub of boat-building.

Richard Howitt, a former Member of the European Parliament owns Number 1 The Old Boathouse, where the business began.

"We wanted to keep that history and heritage alive and what better thing to do than to paint the boathouse as it was so everyone who visits here, everyone who passes by, can see the history and it will keep it going for future generations," he said.

Three generations of the Emery family at the unveiling of a mural to celebrate the boat building dynasty Credit: ITV Anglia

At nearby Sheringham Museum the Windsor Rose crab boat can be seen in the mural.

The vessel is a double ender - meaning it is pointed at both ends like Viking boats, so it could easily land on Sheringham's stony beach, as the town has no harbour.

A new book - I Wanted A Boat So I Built One - also celebrates the sea-faring family with plenty of pictures and tales. It will be published on 5 September.

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