Heritage restoration work takes place on historic island property

Heritage restoration works are under way to protect an historic pub on a remote island off the Furness Peninsula.

The Ship Inn has proudly welcomed visitors to Piel Island, near Barrow, for hundreds of years.

Now, Westmorland and Furness Council – which is the custodian of the 50-acre island and its unique pub – is carrying out vital repair work to the exterior of the historically important property to ensure it is protected and remains in the best shape possible for years to come.

The work will include restoration of the inn’s windows as well as the application of limewash to its walls.

The Ship Inn will remain open for the duration of the works.
Aaron Sanderson, the landlord of The Ship Inn, said: “Both Piel Island and The Ship Inn are treasured by so many people in Barrow and Furness and indeed from further afield, with thousands making the journey to visit by ferry every summer.

“The island’s wildlife and atmosphere as well as the legend and history associated with The Ship Inn itself make it one of the most special and unique places in the world to me and so many others.

“It’s great that this important work is getting underway to make sure the building is safe from the often harsh coastal winters we experience here while also keeping it looking its best.

“The pub will be open as normal throughout and everyone will receive a warm welcome as usual, so no-one should be put off their visit while it takes place.”

The works will be funded from Westmorland and Furness Council’s capital programme and carried out by local firm Leck Construction. They are taking place during the summer months so that the limewash can be applied at the temperatures required for it to provide long-lasting protection to the building.

As well as an historic pub, Piel Island is also home to the English Heritage-run Piel Castle, a now derelict structure built in the 14th Century, and several cottages.

In the 15th century, pretender to the throne Lambert Simnel landed on Piel Island declaring himself King of England. Today, if you sit in the King’s throne in the pub, you have to buy a round of beer for everyone.

Councillor Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Cabinet member for Highways and Assets, said: “Piel Island and The Ship Inn have played an important and fascinating role in the history of the area and we are very pleased, as the custodian of this special place, to be able to carry out these vital works to protect and enhance the building.

“Taking care of an important building, particularly one with such a valuable heritage and history, is usually more complicated and requires special materials or techniques to be undertaken.

“In this instance, The Ship Inn requires limewash which has to be applied during the warmer months to prevent it from becoming susceptible to frost damage.

“The work won’t stop anyone from enjoying a trip to Piel or the pub this season and we wish everyone who does visit a wonderful time.”

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