Work can officially begin to create the UK’s first surfing museum following confirmation that a £250,000 funding package and building has been secured.
The Museum of British Surfing, will be based in Braunton, North Devon and will open by next summer.
The museum has a vast collection of surfboards and memorabilia tracing more than two centuries of the nation’s involvement with this ancient water sport.
Founder and director Peter Robinson has spent more than a decade researching the UK’s surfing history and putting together the collection, which includes almost 200 surfboards. British surfers have also donated many key items, keen that our surfing heritage is preserved.
The building includes a skate bowl and the surf museum will be sharing part of the site with the local youth service, and will collaborate with them on projects for young people in the community with the help of museum volunteers.
Building work to convert the space at The Yard in the village centre will be carried out over the next 10 months, with a scheduled opening date of May 28, 2011, and the lease is currently being finalised.
“We want to change people’s perception of what a museum is, with fresh and vibrant exhibitions each year, touring shows and working with schools. There will also be a community space where we’ll have acoustic music, film, club meetings and special events,” Pete told the Devon Week. “We have waited a long time for this to come together and the trustees of the charity and I are thrilled.”
For the last seven years the collection has been on a successful tour of museums around the British coast.
Pete said: “The concept of having a new exhibition each year at our space in Braunton that then goes off and tours the country means we can always offer something fresh and exciting, as well as delivering our environmental and educational aims.”
The main funding for the surfing museum has come via the Leader 4 programme, which supports projects in Torridge and North Devon with the aim of improving the economy, environment and quality of life in rural areas. The Leader 4 Local Action Group has offered its full backing, and says it is well aware of the economic benefits to the area.
(Image: Richard Gregory (left) chairman of the Museum of British Surfing trustees with a c1923 surfboard owned by Archie Mayne in Jersey, and founder Pete Robinson with the Tom Parrish Lightning Bolt shaped for the late VIscount Ted Deerhurst (Britain’s first pro surfer) in 1978. In the background is a 12 foot 1930s hollow wooden Tom Blake-style surfboard. Courtesy of Rob Tibbles)