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York Marina, Naburn, York YO19 4RW

Marina History

A Brief History

York and the surrounding country has a wealth of history, and the Marina at Naburn is no exception. The history of the Marina stretches back to the end of the Second World War as a boat yard, before the marina itself was dug out in the early seventies.

The story begins with Yacht Service Ltd (YSL), a company that began life at Naburn immediately after the Second World War in June 1945. It was a tough business in the early days, but as peoples lives began to settle down after the war the business grew slowly, developing facilities on the river Ouse.

Naburn Marina History Image Gallery – Please click on the page numbers below to view further photographs

Charles Pool joined the company as manager in 1959. This turned out to be the first breakthrough year; people by now had more leisure time and disposable income on their hands, so interest in personal boating began to grow. By 1963 it was decided to expand the repair side of the business to include construction of new cruisers.

Cruisers were timber throughout in those days; Mr. Pool used boat frames from Stanilands of Thorn which were then planked and fitted out by YSL. The business later expanded to include the fitting out of fibreglass hulls purchased from Senior. It was a proud day for all involved when the first cruiser ‘Suni Malu’ was launched in 1966.

The beginnings of production line building in the boating industry made single line production uneconomic, and the company turned to selling rather than building. Bill Richards joined the company as sales manager and began to sell Seamaster, Shetland and Norman Cruisers, followed by Freeman, Fairline, C-Kip and Grand Banks.

As the interest in boating grew, so did the need for moorings. In 1968 a new company, Naburn Marina Ltd, was formed by Mr. Pool and Commander Palmes, a local land owner. With incredible foresight, they hatched plans for a Marina to be dug out between the boatyard and the East Coast railway line. These plans went ahead and a small Marina to accommodate 50 boats was dug out and completed over the long hot summer of 1971, with machines working continuously from 7am to 7pm to get the job done. The Marina proved very successful and it wasn’t long before expansion was necessary.

The 70’s were the boom years when the Marina was expanded to cover its present 18 acres and the latest hydraulic boat lift was installed to enable boats to be moved around the site.

Shortly after the death of the commander in 1974, Mr. Pool sought to buy the moorings along the Ings bank below Naburn Hall which the company had rented for many years. The Ings were sold along with Naburn Hall to Mr. Pool in the mid 70’s.

The companies continued to trade through the recession in the 1980’s and moved away from selling small boats to concentrate on larger cruisers such as Fairline, C-Kip, Sealine and eventually Rodman Cruisers from Spain. The floods of 2000 were the highest on record and nearly caused havoc in the Marina with the pontoons only just staying on their poles thanks to the vigilance of the staff. You’ll be pleased to hear that since then a further metre has been added to the height of the poles!

It was decided to seek a private buyer for the companies to guarantee their future and allow Mr. Pool to retire. The new owners, the Bleakley family, took over the business in September 2006, and with them the story of the Marina continues to this day and onward.