Sovereign c1960s pictured here at North Shields. Fish boxes are stacked neatly on deck and she is sitting outside Tyne Twines & Cordage Ltd.
c North East Maritime Trust
Sovereign was built by Wilson Noble in Fraserburgh in 1936 for a Newhaven (Edinburgh) fisherman called Tom Hall. At that time she was registered as LH171. During the war Sovereign was called up for naval service and when she returned she fished out of Seahouses registered as BK29. Whilst there, she was owned by members of the Dawson family. Around1955 her original Kelvin 66 engine was removed by the local boat builder, also called Dawson, and replaced by a Gardner 6LW engine; the engine which still powered her in 2009. She was sold from Seahouses before 1960 to a new owner in Port Seton, believed to be a G. Brown. At this time the number was changed to LH368. Mr. Brown sold her to Peter Greig at the same port. After this, she was sold to Victor Deere of Hartlepool and she was given a Hartlepool registration, HL165, which she carried for the rest of her working days. By the late 1960s, she was based in North Shields and stayed in the care of members of the Woods and Alexander families until she ceased fishing at the start of 2009.
Sovereign was subsequently placed in the ownership of the Northumbrian Fishing Heritage Trust, an associate body of the North East Maritime Trust. Conservation work started in June 2010 and the beautiful results of their labours can be seen now.
Sovereign was built for multiple fishing methods including the ring net but also for drift and seine netting. She has a small wheelhouse, the emphasis at the time being more concerned with fishing than with the protection and comfort of the fishermen. She has a canoe stern, this enabled swift maneuverability in the water ideal for the tight turning circle required for use of the ring net and seine net.
It used to be traditional on old boats to bury a coin beneath the mast. This act ensured that the vessel always had money to rely on and in this case was the source of the name of the boat.
In keeping with this lovely tradition, Sovereign has a coin buried somewhere on board today, it is no longer under the mast but in a different location.