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Buoyant future for the Southampton’s oldest boatyard, Dyer Bros
6:06pm Wednesday 24th July 2013 in Hampshire Business
Run by five generations of the same family, Dyer Bros (Marine) Ltd has this year celebrated its 110th anniversary of being at its current site next to Cobden Bridge.
And having provided thousands of city residents with the opportunity of recreation on the River Itchen its owners believe the firm will carry on going from strength to strength.
The Dyer Bros Boatyard was first established in 1856, the year of the end of the Crimean War and the birth of playwright George Bernard Shaw. At that time the firm built and hired rowing skiffs, which were a hugely popular form of recreation for the Victorians, as firm director Simon Tipper explained.
He said: “There weren’t any televisions or bowling alleys in those days, so boating was a major hobby.
“It wasn’t leisure boating as we know it, it involved rowing skiffs similar to those you might see at the Henley Regatta nowadays.
“It was so popular that people would queue down St Denys Road to hire out boats.”
In 1903 the firm was forced to move to its current site from its original location near the Northam Bridge to make way for the new railway line from Southampton to London.
The end of Second World War sparked a change in habits, which saw people move away from hiring rowing skiffs to owning leisure boats. Accordingly the firm started to develop its marina by adding pontoons, also offering boat maintenance, tidal pontoon moorings, storage ashore, a boat lift, repairs and supplies.
And that, to this day, is what the firm has continued to offer.
Mr Tipper said: “We use a traditional slipway and our costs are that much cheaper than the big marinas as a result.”
Land across the Itchen from the business will soon become a retirement flat development, but Mr Tipper says his firm is going nowhere, adding: “We’re hoping to offer the same affordable and quality service for decades to come.”
To contact the yard call 02380 555406.
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