Cyril Southerland has generously given us his 1966 mussel flat, built in Kings Lynn, which we aim to restore with volunteer help and display at the Maritime Heritage Centre.
This is one of two mussel flats built by Vic Pratt for Cyril Southerland and his brother in the 1960s. Cyril used his right up until 2013. Originally the flat was used to move mussels from the lays (where the mussels were grown) to the hard where they would be riddled and placed in a saltwater pool for 24 hours before being sold to local hotels, pubs and further afield.
Nowadays, mussel fishermen use purification tanks to clean the shellfish before being sold. More recently the mussel flat was moored by Cyril's lays at Brancaster and used to hang nets of oysters from.
Mussel flats such as this example have been replaced by glass fibre work boats which are easier to maintain and have a smooth hold, which enables mussels to be shovelled out without the risk of catching on the wooden ribs used in the construction of clinker boats.