Even keel:

From dinghies to multi-mil­lion pound ocean-go­ing yachts, Broads boat­builder Lan­damores has crafted them all

EDP Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE - WORDS: Do­minic Cas­tle lan­damores.co.uk

96 years of boat­build­ing at Lan­damores

Boat-build­ing in the Broads has ex­isted for as long as the waters them­selves. Among one of the long­est-es­tab­lished builders to­day is the fam­ily firm of Lan­damores, based at Hove­ton.

Its story be­gan back in 1923, when found­ing fa­ther Ted Lan­damore opened a fledg­ling boat hire busi­ness. In the fol­low­ing years he moved to build­ing small cruis­ers and water buses as his busi­ness grew.

Lan­damores ac­quired a rep­u­ta­tion as first-class boat­builders, its crafts­men cre­at­ing some of the best-made ves­sels on the water. But, as with most firms, the ad­vent of the Sec­ond World War saw an abrupt change in di­rec­tion as all hands went to the war ef­fort.

Lan­damores was no ex­cep­tion and the boat-builders’ wood­work­ing skills were ini­tially put to use mak­ing do­mes­tic

ne­ces­si­ties like clothes horses, steplad­ders and iron­ing boards as well as am­mu­ni­tion boxes and floats for mine-sweep­ing.

But they were soon back do­ing what they did best. Through the rest of the war they made fast res­cue boats for the RAF, ships’ lifeboats and har­bour launches.

Once hos­til­i­ties ended, it was back to busi­ness for Ted with boat hire and build­ing new craft and the fol­low­ing decades saw dozens of clas­sic boats, sail­ing dinghies, cruis­ers and speed­boats leav­ing the yard.

New ma­te­ri­als were en­ter­ing the sail­ing world and Lan­damores was mov­ing with the times, fit­ting out glass-re­in­forced plas­tic hulls and de­vel­op­ing a new range of ever-big­ger ves­sels.

In 1973 came the al­liance which pro­pelled the firm to the big time. Oys­ter Marine, famed for cre­at­ing world-class ocean­go­ing yachts, took Lan­damores on as their boat­builder and for al­most four decades the Nor­folk crafts­men turned out dozens of multi-mil­lion pound boats.

The part­ner­ship came to an end in 2012 when Oys­ter took their build­ing in-house but the story for Lan­damores doesn’t end here, as Rob Spel­man-Mar­riott, who looks af­ter Lan­damore’s sales, mar­ket­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, ex­plains.

“Lan­damores had been one of the most rep­utable com­pa­nies in the UK for a very long time – nearly 100 years. When Oys­ter took their build­ing in-house the com­pany was go­ing to do some­thing else and al­ways con­tinue to build boats, it was just a ques­tion of what was right.

“Now we build a range of clas­sic launches which are suit­able for the Nor­folk Broads, the Thames and fur­ther afield. A lot of them are elec­tric but we also build them with diesel or petrol power

to suit the cus­tomer.

“We are also very much a work­ing boat­yard so we look af­ter loads of yachts and boats on the Broads and rivers, and we also have a 140-berth ma­rina site in Wrox­ham,” says Rob.

It is also still very much a fam­ily busi­ness, with An­thony Lan­damore and his sis­ter Anna Brooke as di­rec­tors of the com­pany. Anna’s son John and An­thony’s daugh­ter Jenny are also in­volved.

It make sbeau­ti­ful craft, like the Slip­per launch, an iconic 1940s Bri­tish de­sign. “They never get old; they are very, very el­e­gant. Very dif­fer­ent from the av­er­age day boat you get on the Broads!” says Rob, a for­mer pro­fes­sional rac­ing sailor who came to Nor­folk eight years ago.

He has fallen in love with his adopted county. “What I love about the Broads is that wher­ever you are, what­ever boat show you’re at, and you say ‘I now live on the Nor­folk Broads’, ev­ery­one has a story; ‘I went on the Broads when I was a kid!’ or ‘I re­mem­ber a sail­ing hol­i­day when my dad took me on the Broads...’

Lan­damores’ fame is world­wide. “There is a net­work of peo­ple who love wooden craft and want them main­tained,” says Rob, say­ing that they have a 1940s launch which has come to them from New­port, Rhode Is­land, in the USA, for restora­tion. Find­ing the crafts­men to help main­tain Lan­damore’s rep­u­ta­tion is not so easy these days. “It’s all about hav­ing the right peo­ple; as much as you’d like the num­bers it’s most im­por­tant you have the right peo­ple,” says Rob.

It took a num­ber of staff back from Oys­ter and has a re­la­tion­ship with the In­ter­na­tional Boat­build­ing Train­ing College at Low­est­oft as well as a good team of young­sters.

Most of their builds are be­spoke, with cus­tomers se­lect­ing a base boat style to put their per­sonal stamp on. “We’re in a day and age where peo­ple like to have things to suit them­selves,” says Rob.

Build­ing a boat may take two months to a year, de­pend­ing on spec­i­fi­ca­tion. And with or­ders com­ing in and the prom­ise of more as the firm tours the big­gest boat shows in the coun­try there is ev­ery prob­a­bil­ity that Lan­damores will still be in busi­ness in an­other 90 years.

BE­LOW LEFT: Boat­builders at work in the Lan­damores yard

Photo: Ian Ro­man

BE­LOW: De­tail from a Lan­damores craft

Stephen Sparks/Per­fect Pose Pho­tog­ra­phy

ABOVE: A clas­sic Mayfly 16, a Lan­damores best-seller, out on the water

Photo: Ian Ro­man

ABOVE: Rob Spel­manMar­riott, An­thony Lan­damore and Jon Brooke

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