A defaced flag isn’t normally something you would want to shout about.
But the Red Ensign being shown off here by Paul Gray and Paul Nicholson, trustees of the South Shields-based North East Maritime Trust (NEMT), is actually a proud acquisition.
The ‘defacement’ is the addition of the emblem of the National Historic Ships Register at Greenwich, which allows the flag to be flown on four of the Trust’s four boats, by authority and warrant of the Secretary of State for Defence.
All are listed as being of national importance, after being restored at the NEMT’s workshops in Wapping Street in the town.
Three of the old wooden boats are moored at St Peter’s Marina.
They are the seine net fishing boats Sovereign, Rachel Douglas and Favourite, that are often to be seen on the river taking part in festivals and special events.
The fourth boat is the 1917 ex-RNLI lifeboat Henry Frederick Swan, an icon in the maritime history of the river having served as the Tynemouth lifeboat, based at North Shields from 1918 to 1937 and 1941 to 1947.
She is one of the longest serving lifeboats in RNLI history, has oars, sails and an engine, and is in the fitting-out stage of a 10-year rebuild at the workshops.
Visitors are welcome to see progress on the lifeboat, and other vessels, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer, or in joining the evening boat-building training sessions that are held between 6pm and 9pm on Mondays and Thursdays, should call in or ring Phil Smith on 0191 5361851.
Alternatively, email Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.