You would have had to have been hiding under a rock for the past couple of months to have not noticed some exciting goings-on at Orwell Quay.
The LV18 Lightship was due to arrive at its temporary location on the Waterfront back in early September, but the trip from Harwich was delayed due to insurance issues and then further by adverse weather. On the 25th September, the ship was finally welcomed through the lock gate and settled into its new home outside Cult Café Bar.
The unique, historic vessel is the only surviving lightship in British waters not to have been stripped of its accommodation, and has been restored by a dedicated team of volunteers. LV18 still contains the original crew quarters, galley, messroom and six Gardner diesel generators to power the lantern, foghorns and ship’s equipment. Restoration of this landmark ship has enabled The Pharos Trust – LV18 owners – to cater for visitors with different needs; whether these be educational, disability-related or marine-based training and courses.
Alongside the historical and educational benefits of the vessel, pirate radio also has its ties to the LV18. The ‘offshore radio explosion’ of the 1960s may have originated in London, but the service was accessed and supplied in Harwich: the radio ships were anchored in Harwich waters, just offshore and outside of UK territories. Johnnie Walker – one of the first pirate radio DJs – was then asked (and delightfully accepted) the honour of becoming a Patron of the Trust. He and many other pirate radio DJs spent their time ‘spinning discs’ aboard the LV18. The ship is home to many items of pirate radio memorabilia.
The LV18 is available to view by arrangement now that we enter the colder seasons – for more information visit www.lv18.org