Burwell man adds his woodcraft skills to the story of life at sea, mutiny and romance dating back to the 1700s
PUBLISHED: 11:55 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 13 April 2017
A man from Burwell has created a replica of a wood carving from a ship involved in the history of life at sea, romance and mutiny dating back to the 1700s.
Wood-carving hobbyist, Pete Welford, has produced a replica of an identification board for the Pitcairn Islands Study centre in America.
Pete, 67, asked for historical information about a carving he owns, from the Californian centre.
They ended up asking him to carve them a replica of a part of a ship that was closely associated with Pitcairn history.
He agreed and began designing a name board similar to one mounted for identification mid-ship on many sea-going vessels.
“Carving is a passion of mine,” said Welford, “so it has been a pleasure for me to produce this ship’s board for the Pitcairn Islands Study Center.
“It’s the world’s largest collection of materials relating to The Bounty Saga – William Bligh, HMS Bounty, Pitcairn Island, and Norfolk Island.” Pete’s carving reproduces the name board of a missionary ship, the Pitcairn, built in 1890 in the San Francisco Bay Area shipyard of Captain Matthew Turner - the largest ship builder in America at the time.
The ships were used to transport Seventh-day Adventist missionaries to islands throughout the Pacific Ocean.
It was to Pitcairn Island in 1790 that mutinous sailors on the British ship HMS Bounty fled to escape capture and trial for mutiny in England.
For nearly two decades, until 1808, the mutineers were successful in hiding from the world.
However, an American sailing ship captain discovered them and sent word to England.
The missionary ship Pitcairn made six voyages into the Pacific from San Francisco, calling first on each voyage at Pitcairn.
The ship also carried passengers and mail between the islands.
Pete, an illustrator/graphic designer trained at The Cambridge School of Art, worked in various advertising agencies and design studios before becoming a freelance illustrator working mainly for publishing companies.
For the past 10 years he has worked as a college porter at King’s College Cambridge.
• The Pitcairn Islands group is one of the remotest of the world’s inhabited islands.
• Pitcairn Island is two miles long and one mile wide.
• It comprises the islands of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno in the South Pacific.
• Pitcairn is the only inhabited island and has about 50 people living there.
• It is 1,350 miles south-east of Tahiti and 4,100 miles from Panama.
• The people of Pitcairn are descended from the mutineers of HMS Bounty and their Tahitian companions.
• The capital is Adamstown located above Bounty Bay.
• The Islands’ administrative headquarters are in New Zealand 3,300 miles away.
• If you call at Pitcairn, you will see a unique community of Anglo-Tahitian descent which turned a naval mutiny into a celebrated romance.
• The mutiny on the Royal Navy vessel HMS Bounty was on 28 April, 1789.
• HMS Bounty left England in 1787 on a mission to collect and transport breadfruit plants from Tahiti to the West Indies.
• A five-month layover in Tahiti, saw many of the men living ashore. They formed relationships with native Polynesians which proved harmful to discipline.
• Descendants of the mutineers and their Tahitian consorts live on Pitcairn into the 21st century.
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