Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 18:08 UK

Historic barge restored at wharf

Reliance is being restored at Dapdune Wharf, where she was built

A rare example of the barges that once carried timber, coal, corn, flour and wood to London from Surrey is being restored by the National Trust.

The 72ft (22m) barge Reliance was built at Dapdune Wharf on the Wey Navigations in Guildford in 1931 and carried cargoes of up to 80 tons.

A viewing platform has been built to allow the public to see the work in progress at Bates Boatyard.

They will see new planks being steamed into place and the foredeck rebuilt.

The rear cabin, which would have been the living quarters for the crew, has already been restored.

The work is being done with traditional materials, such as chalico, a molten brew of coal tar, pitch and dried horse manure.

It is being carried out by boatyard owner Jem Bates, and forms the centrepiece of the Dapdune Wharf visitor centre.

"This project will ensure that a rare example of Guildford's industrial heritage will continue to be a source of education an interest for many years to come," he said.

"I am privileged to be able to be a part of it."

The Wey Navigation opened in 1653 and was one of the first British rivers to be made navigable.

In 1764 the Godalming Navigation opened, creating a 20-mile waterway running from the Thames at Weybridge to Godalming Wharf.

The Wey survived the railway era and continued to trade right up to the end of the 1960s and was donated to the National Trust in 1964.

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