Models to be skip-wrecked if new home can't be found

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A UNIQUE collection of hand-crafted model boats could be thrown away because nowhere can be found to store it.

CRAFTSMAN: George Scammell pictured with his model of the Great Michael. Picture: BILL HENRY

The boats were created over 50 years by amateur enthusiast George Scammell. After his death last August, his son Harry was faced with the prospect of finding a new home for the models, most of which had been crammed into his father's cramped flat in Granton.

In February, 21 of them were put on display at The Lighthouse in West Harbour Road, Granton, by community architecture and development project Art in Architecture (AiA), so that the public could enjoy them.

But now the organisation, which has stored 18 of them ever since, is having to move premises and is looking for a new home for the boats - but so far has not found anywhere. It says that if it can't find a new owner for the boats by the end of next week, they will have to be thrown away.

Artist Ross McEwen, who runs AiA, said: "We've got about 18 of the boats. They should be preserved as a collection, rather than being split up and sold off. At the end of the day we can't take them with us, and if they're not taken away from us by the end of next week and we don't find somewhere, they'll be going in a skip.

"We had said to Harry, George's son, that you've got to find somewhere to put them, and he hasn't been able to sell more than two or three."

Harry Scammell said: "I don't know what I'm going to do. I can't keep them in the house. I don't have quite the same interest in them as he did, I love them to death but it's not practical for me to keep them. I'd be quite willing to disperse them and give them away if we had to. There's only one that I wouldn't want to give away, and that's the main one, the Great Michael.

"I'm quite willing for them to go to people who would appreciate them. Perhaps if a charity wants to take them they could auction them off, then the money could go to charity."

Mr Scammell first began making model boats after becoming fascinated by the craft in his 30s. His entire collection included copies of all 30 of the Scottish fleet from the 14th and 15th centuries, the Titanic, an Egyptian funeral boat and several Viking longships. It also includes a model of the Great Michael, the vast warship launched at Newhaven by King James IV in 1511, which was the largest warship in Europe.

Although some of the boats have been put on display in museums or sold to private collectors, when Mr Scammell died last year, his home in Granton Terrace was still full of many of the models he had made.