Visit to the Gotheborg at Dover

On a very wet August bank holiday Monday, a small number of the Lenox crew visited Dover to board the Swedish replica ship Gotheborg which was moored there for a couple of days on her way to Great Yarmouth.
It was fascinating to find out about the 18th century ship which she was modelled on, and how the replica, which was built in 2005, had been adapted to allow her to travel the world and sail into port on all continents.
Despite the appalling weather the Gotheborg was still attracting a large number of visitors, and we were able to see the crew being put through their paces on the rigging, and receiving instructions and guidance on the tasks that they would be responsible for during the subsequent voyage.
We were lucky to be welcomed by the crew manager Andrea and bosun Woody who gave us a brief explanation of the set-up on the ship and invited us to visit the ship again once she is back in Sweden, so that we can meet some of those who worked on her construction and fund raising.

The Gotheborg left Dover at 4pm, firing a salute from her cannons as she did so. If you are able to make it to Great Yarmouth for the maritime festival this weekend, do take the opportunity to go aboard the Gotheborg, it is certainly worth the effort.


The Swedish ship Gotheborg at Sail Amsterdam

The Dutch really know how to celebrate ships – and the general public has an insatiable fascination with them! This short film of the Swedish replica ship Gotheborg at the recent Sail Amsterdam festival shows this very clearly!

The Gotheborg is currently making a brief visit to the UK – after stopping off at Dover last weekend she will be visiting Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to take part in the Maritime Festival from 4th-6th September.

Tall Ships Festival in Woolwich


The Tall Ships Festival in Woolwich provided a great opportunity for The Lenox Project to spread the word about our plans to build a replica ship in Deptford. With thousands of people expected on the Royal Arsenal site, we were able to bring our plans to a new audience and as usual, we were delighted to hear the enthusiasm and excitement of everyone we spoke to.
We had spent some time revising and updating the display boards in the trailer and these were put on show for the first time – we were also delighted that we were able to buy a new ‘all-weather’ gazebo using donations from our supporters. This was a fantastic improvement on the one we have been using – not only did it give us lots of space in which to store our merchandise, but the gazebo was sturdy and waterproof enough to provide shelter during the rainy afternoon and evening, keeping our spirits up during the last few hours of the day.
Thank you to everyone who came along to meet us, those who gave us words of encouragement or offers of help, and who bought merchandise or joined our mailing list. Even the mayor of Greenwich Norman Adams and his deputy Olu Babatola dropped by to hear about the project – don’t be surprised if you see us in Greenwich Time next week!




New t-shirts now on sale online!

We have some fantastic new t-shirts now available to help our fund-raising efforts, thanks to the designs created by Lush Designs in Deptford.

These t-shirts are exclusive to The Lenox Project and can be bought online for just £15 which includes second class postage within the UK. All proceeds from your purchase go directly towards covering our costs – printing flyers, updating our exhibition boards, paying our hosting costs and so on.

The design is printed on 100% cotton Fruit of the Loom t-shirts in ‘lady fit’ and regular unisex cuts. Ladies sizes are S (10-12 UK size), M (12-14 UK size), L (14-16 UK size) and XL (16-18 UK size). We also have unisex in S (40″ chest), M (42″ chest), L (44″ chest) and XL (46″ chest).













How to order

Please email with details of your order (number, type and size) and mailing address for delivery. Please also state how you wish to pay – by Paypal (we will then send an invoice to your email address), cheque or bank transfer.

The Lenox Project at the Tall Ships Festival

We are very excited to announce that we’ll be present at the Tall Ships Festival in Woolwich on Saturday 29th August. The festival is part of the five day event being organised by Royal Greenwich during which a whole host of visiting ships will be moored in Woolwich and Greenwich.

big lush tee

We’ll be in Woolwich on the Saturday and we’ll be bringing our Saker cannon and lots of new merchandise including some fantastic t-shirts carrying the design above that you can buy to help us with our fund-raising.

Tall ships at Woolwich. Photo: David Graham

A reminder of last year’s Tall Ships festival. Photo: David Graham

Festival events will be in full swing in Woolwich Town Centre – on Powis Street and General Gordon Square – and at Royal Arsenal Riverside, including No 1 Street with family entertainment from 10am till 10pm.

The line-up for the day includes:

– Live music with special guests
– Roving entertainers
– Nautical-themed children’s activities
– Traditional funfair rides
– Vintage vehicles
– Food and licensed bars
– A fireboat from the Fire Brigade
– Information stalls from local and national nautical organisations
– Nautical history re-enactors (musket-ball making, dockside rope and cordwaining, plus a – Naval encampment and Georgian Naval crews)
– Sunset picnic area
– Food, bar and activities at the Firepower Museum
– Local history and children’s activities at the Heritage Centre
– Fireworks grand finale at 10pm on the river

Great day out at the Evelyn Community Festival

It was great to meet you all at the Evelyn Community Festival last weekend – the weather could not have been better and it was lovely to meet some new faces and catch up with some of our long-time supporters. It’s always good to know that people are following our progress and keeping our project in mind, and it’s great to be able to spread the word about our plans even further into the local community.



See how the Lenox will be built!

We’re delighted to be able to share with you this breathtaking short film which demonstrates how the Lenox will be built and offers an up-close and personal insight into her structure.

The film was made by the Human Interface Technologies Team at the University of Birmingham, led by Professor Robert Stone, and was part of a project that was presented at a conference about the Anne, sister ship to the Lenox, which was held in Hastings this month.

While the Anne was the sister ship to the Lenox, the digital model used in this visualisation incorporates the detailed information about the ship’s construction that was compiled by historian Richard Endsor during his extensive research into the Lenox.

Best watched full screen!

A small group of researchers from the university developed a highly detailed virtual reality model of the Anne, in collaboration with the Shipwreck Museum in Hastings and using historical book references and paintings.









The University’s HIT Team specialises in advanced simulation technologies for defence, healthcare and heritage applications. Using historical reference books and naval paintings, the 3D model of the Anne was developed by two students visiting the HIT Team from Arts et Métiers, ParisTech, Laval in France, Cécile Thevenin and Emilien Bonhomme.


Questions raised over conflict of interest in feasibility study appointment

Serious concerns have been raised about a potential conflict of interest after the GLA announced its intention to appoint Buro Happold – which has been working for Convoys Wharf site owner Hutchison Whampoa for many years – to the role of independent assessor for the Lenox Project feasibility study.

The main justification the GLA gave for its decision – that the firm was the one most likely to be able to complete the work within the time allowed – has already been undermined by the GLA agreeing to an additional month for ‘information gathering’ ahead of the study period.

What’s more the claim by the GLA that the bidding process was competitive has been brought into question, with some bidders not able to participate because of the short time scale set for preparing the bids, and a time extension granted to two participants only extended to a third bidder after a request from the Lenox Project.

Buro Happold has been involved with the Convoys Wharf site for 14 years, most recently working for Hutchison Whampoa carrying out studies for the environmental impact assessment for the proposed development. The director intended to lead the feasibility study is the same director responsible for work carried out for Hutchison Whampoa. Furthermore, Buro Happold intends to seek advice on the heritage impact from archaeologist Duncan Hawkins of CgMs, another direct employee of the current site owner.

Given that Buro Happold has worked directly for Hutchison Whampoa in the past, and is likely to be employed by them again in the future, we strongly contest the GLA’s assertion that there will be no conflict of interest in BH fulfilling the role of independent assessor for the feasibility study. 

IMG_4353We have also made clear to the GLA our concerns about the way in which the bidding process was managed; the lack of clarity in the management of the process, the timescales, and the basis on which decisions have been made.

The GLA invited 11 companies to pitch for the contract, which involves carrying out an feasibility study into four options on two sites for accommodating the Lenox Project within Convoys Wharf. The GLA has dictated that the feasibility study must be completed within a tight timescale of just two months.

Both the site owner Hutchison Whampoa and the Lenox Project CIC were given the opportunity to put forward two consultants to be invited to pitch. The Lenox Project proposed Witherford Watson Mann Architects and Christopher Garrand Consultancy; Hutchison Whampoa proposed Aecom and Buro Happold. The GLA also issued the invitation to other consultants on its own list (Arup, Capita, WSP, Burns Owen Partnership, The Exhibitions Team, Dr Eric Kentley and Jura Consultants), none of which responded with a bid.

Invitations to pitch were issued on 24th April, with submissions required by close of business on 1st May – just a week later.

Of the 11 companies invited to bid, only two – Aecom and Buro Happold – were able to submit a bid by the deadline. One of the other bidders said that they were not able to submit a bid within such a short pitch time, and that three weeks would have been more reasonable for the work required.

After the deadline had passed, the GLA informed us that it had requested supplementary information from both the bidders, some of which related to potential conflict of interest (a matter that bidders were required to address in their pitch document). They were being allowed an additional two weeks to provide this information.

At the Lenox Project’s request, one of our nominees was allowed the same additional time to submit a bid and managed to do so. The revised deadline for submitting pitches was 22 May – a month after the invitations were issued.

On 9th June we were advised that the bids had been assessed and were supplied with  comments as follows:

Aecom – ranked second
Aecom has presented a generally well-balanced pitch which demonstrates excellent experience in delivering large scale projects of a similar multi-disciplinary nature. Notwithstanding the anticipated need to outsource viability work, the ability to draw on a wide range of specialists in-house would be likely to support timely assessments and good value for money. Furthermore, based on the information available, GLA officers are satisfied that there would be no conflict of interest, and that Aecom could deliver an impartial feasibility study to programme.

Buro Happold – ranked first
Buro has presented a generally well-balanced pitch, demonstrating excellent understanding of the site and sound experience in delivering large scale projects of a similar multi-disciplinary nature. The ability to draw on a wide range of specialists in-house would be likely to support timely assessments and good value for money. Furthermore, the working knowledge of the site that Buro already has is likely to allow for a more detailed and rigorous assessment within the budget and time allowed. Based on the information available, GLA officers are satisfied that there would be no conflict of interest, and that Buro (working also with CgMs) could deliver an impartial feasibility study to programme.

Christopher Garrand Consultancy – ranked third
CGC has presented a generally sound pitch. Whilst the balance of the team is weighted predominantly towards heritage experience/disciplines, the skill set of the identified project team appears to be capable of addressing the key areas of brief (albeit the relationship between project lead and support consultancy appears somewhat ad hoc). The firms forming the project team (CGC, Lathams, Arup and Press & Starkey) have demonstrated their ability to deliver various heritage-led projects individually, as well as a number in affiliation. Whilst GLA officers are satisfied that there would be no conflict of interest, based on the pitch response officers are not certain that the project programme would be adhered to.

Following the announcement of the preferred bidder, the GLA then granted Buro Happold an additional month for ‘information gathering’ ahead of the official start of the study – a move which endorses our claim that the programme for the feasibility study is too short. During the Section 106 negotiations we raised our concerns with the GLA about the proposed timescale, but no revisions were made.

Had this ‘information gathering’ allowance been made clear in the terms of the original bidding document, more bids would undoubtedly have been returned, and the process would have been more competitive. We are also concerned that granting the extra time after the contract has already been awarded makes the process thoroughly unfair to the other bidders.

Our other main concern is the lack of emphasis on heritage expertise and heritage-related placemaking in the winning team. The third-placed team has a strong background in heritage-led projects, as the GLA acknowledged in its assessment of the bids, and yet the value of this is not given sufficient weight. The study is intended to assess the most feasible location for a heritage-led community project, and it is reasonable to suggest that expertise in heritage projects should be the main requirement of the lead firm.

Buro Happold’s bid referred to the restoration of the Cutty Sark – in which the firm was employed as structural engineer – as the sole example of its involvement in a heritage project. This raises serious questions over the firm’s experience in relevant fields.

Their continued employment by Hutchison Whampoa not only risks a conflict of interest, but makes it extremely difficult for Buro Happold to be regarded as independent by outside observers. As a result, the conclusions of the feasibility study would be put under greater scrutiny than would otherwise be necessary; in our view this brings into question the firm’s suitability for the role of independent assessor.

All about the Anne – learn about the sister ship of the Lenox

The Anne was the sister ship of the Lenox, and her wreck, which lies off the English coast at Pett Level near Hastings, is owned by the Warship Anne Trust; part of the Nautical Museums Trust that owns the Shipwreck Museum in Hastings.

King Charles II had the Anne built at Chatham by Phineas Pett II and she was launched in 1678. She was also one of the 30 ships programme and was visited by King James II in 1687, before she carried a German princess to Lisbon to be the bride of King Pedro II of Portugal. It is believed that she was named after James II’s daughter Anne who later became Queen.

She was run ashore in July 1690 after being seriously damaged by the French navy in the Battle of Beachy Head, and was ordered to be burnt by her Captain, John Tyrrell to stop her being taken as a French prize. During that battle several Dutch ships were lost, but this was the only English fleet casualty.

Last year some of our team went down to Hastings on a very low tide to help the Shipwreck Museum with some surveys of the ship’s remains.


The Shipwreck Museum is hosting a one-day seminar about the Anne on Saturday 4th July at St Clement’s Church in Hastings. As well as a presentation by Lenox expert Richard Endsor, the programme includes David Davies, Ann Coats, Peter Marsden and Robert Stone.

For full details and to book tickets visit the website.

Countdown to L’Hermione’s voyage to America

The project to construct the replica ship Hermione in Rochefort, France, was one of the main inspirations for the Lenox Project.

It is thrilling to see her now in the final stages of preparing to set off on her first voyage – across the Atlantic to the USA! After two decades of construction she will set sail on 18th April to cross the Atlantic and visit 11 ports on the eastern seabord of the USA.


The journey will start from the mouth of the River Charente, in Port des Barques, where Lafayette boarded on March 10th, 1780. The transatlantic crossing is expected to take 27 days in total, before making landfall at Yorktown, Virginia.

As the Hermione moves up the Eastern seaboard, she will be accompanied by a range of pier side activities. These include in some ports a traveling exhibition and a heritage village that will be accessible to the public. The Hermione Voyage 2015 is part of an expansive outreach programme with cultural events, exhibitions, and educational programmes that celebrate the trip and mark its progress.

The ‘grand depart’ takes place on 18th April and you can follow the ship’s progress on the website and on the Hermione Facebook page.