This film is part of Free

Model Clipper Sailor

Former shipwright turns his talents to model-making.

Current affairs 1965 2 mins

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Reporter Clive Gunnell meets Miles Burton who is a model ship maker. He is sailing model clippers on the tidal pools off the Hoe in Plymouth. As a shipwright by trade and a former ships’ carpenter he was first introduced to clippers in 1923 when travelling across the Atlantic in a tramp and one of the largest ships in the world the France II sailed briskly past. A tramp ship is equivalent to today’s freight liner but with no fixed itinerary, rates for tramp charter were negotiable.

Mr Burton has a small workshop in Plymouth’s mediaeval centre on the Barbican where he makes replica model cutters and clippers. A clipper ship is a sailing ship with three masts and a square rig and very fast. France II was built in 1911 second in size only to the Preussen, which was five masted and full rigged. Clipper routes existed in the late nineteenth century between Europe and the Far East and onward to Australasia but fell into decline with the introduction of steamships and the opening of the Suez (1869) and Panama (1914) Canals. Mr Burton has made replicas of the Cutty Sark (1869), Stag Hound (1850), Sir Francis Drake’s galleon Golden Hinde (1577) and Sir Francis Chichester’s ketch Gipsy Moth IV (1966).