First and foremost, I hope that all our supporters are keeping safe and staying healthy.
Many of you may have noted the lack of activity on the website over recent months. The Lenox Project entered a period of review and reflection after our crowd-funding bid to support a visitor centre and operations base in the undercroft at the former Rum Warehouse was unsuccessful.
Since then, our core team has reduced in number, as a result of what we consider ‘combat fatigue’ after ten years of campaigning.
Despite the excitement that the project generates among those who learn of it, our fatigue has been exacerbated by the cumulative effect of a decade of effort by a small team, a lack of tangible progress on the Convoys Wharf site, and the ongoing uncertainty regarding the status of the protected wharf area on which our project is intended to be located.
A decision on the latter is awaited from the Secretary of State; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has recommended that the wharf protection remains, but the Secretary of State may take the opposite view. If the protection is removed, it could have a serious impact on our future plans.
Nonetheless, we have a sizeable mailing list of supporters and are confident we still have the support of Lewisham Council and the London Assembly.
For the time being, our plan is for the charity to continue at a reduced level of activity, in particular since there are more pressing needs in the current pandemic.
However, in these ‘interesting’ times we must adapt to survive, and we have been giving thought to another option that might improve the viability of the project. Our historical advisor Richard Endsor has just published his latest book, The Master Shipwright’s Secrets; in my view his best yet.
Again it is Deptford-centric and deals with the construction of the fourth rate, Tyger. This ship is about two thirds the size of Lenox and would use about half the timber. It may prove a better option than building a ship the size of the Lenox.
As always, my desire is to get on the ground and get started; having something to show is in my view the best way to get further backing.
We need to look to boosting our team of volunteers during this time. Vitally, we need someone with skills as a co-ordinator; and someone to work on our website and social media presence. An interest in Deptford and its history would help but is not essential.
My desire is to see the project survive, and become a creative adventure that will stimulate and revitalise everyone once this challenging time is over.
Julian Kingston, director of The Lenox Project
If you think you can help, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org