Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the news that the Steam Pinnace 199 has been shortlisted for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for Volunteering in the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact. Built in 1911, 199 is a small naval steamboat owned by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (Portsmouth) but operated and maintained by museum volunteers known as Group 199. Amongst them are several retired R.N. engineers.
After a year of fundraising, she began a 100-year refit in 2012 aided by a grant of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £30,000 from the Friends of the Museum. The group raised a further £30,000 from a huge range of smaller amounts and received a lot of support in materials and services from commercial firms. The group’s balancing contribution to the HLF award was made in volunteer man hours and over three years more than 12,000 volunteer hours was recorded.
Commenting Caroline said, “This is fantastic work by local people and just shows what can be achieved with dedication to a cause. I visited the 199 a few years ago and was amazed at the long hard work that had gone into its restoration, so am delighted that they have been nominated for this award. I understand that later this year the pinnace will be seen in steam around the Solent area and I hope to get a good view!”
Negotiations are underway for the 199 to have a berth in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Boatshed 4; significantly increasing public access to view her. The winner of the award will be announced at a ceremony to take place on 22 October 2015 at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London.