Report on the social evening on 5th December 2019

The ACA returned to The Miller’s Hotel at Sibson for an illustrated talk by Tim Coghlan (of Braunston Marina fame) on the shipwright Aubrey John Berriman, who spent much of his working life in Braunston, and who died in March 2019 at the grand old age of 94.

Aubrey was born in the coastal town of Bideford, Devon, which had a long tradition of wooden ship building. In 1940, at the age of 14, Aubrey learnt the craft of boatbuilding, working at Blackmores. However, by the 1950s, trade had dried up, and layoffs began.

When Samuel Barlow Coal Carrying Company Ltd. of Braunston Marina put an advertisement in the Western Morning News for a shipwright, Aubrey applied and was offered the job. He and his young family moved to Braunston.

Aubrey was instrumental in building Raymond. It was launched in 1958 and proved to be the last wooden narrowboat built for the canals. When Barlows ceased trading in 1962, the yard was acquired by Blue Line Cruisers. Aubrey was made their foreman and he diversified into building leisure craft. He retired at the age of 63 and continued to live in Braunston until his death.

He is commemorated in a plaque on the so-called Braunston Wall of Fame at the marina.