The second National Boat Show, like the first, was held at the Empire Hall, Olympia, London. The show ran from December 29th 1955 to January 10th 1956.
Up until the Second World War, sailing was very much a sport for the rich, but in the post-war years, with the launch of more affordable boats, sailing became accessible to the middle classes and so there was demand for a show which could satisfy this trend. Sir Max Aitken, with the sponsorship of his newspaper the Daily Express, was one of the show’s founders.
Jo Barker recalls as a little girl, going to the second Olympia show. She says the town took on a stand for the local boat businesses to share the exhibition space, including Tucker Brown, Kings and others. Prior’s and Petticrow’s were also represented, as were Cranfield and Carter sails and naval architect Alan Buchanan.
The Scow in the foreground is Seamew, built by Stebbings and still sailing at Burnham. The yacht with the pale blue hull is Paprika, designed by Oliver Lee of Alan H. Buchanan Ltd and built by Tucker Brown’s. The larger yacht on the right was a Yeoman class, designed by Alan Buchanan and built by Prior’s.
Thanks to Clea Rawinsky and Jo Barker from the Royal Burnham Yacht Club and Bill Davies for helping to piece together the history of this picture.
Photo by Terence Wilson and Partners. Programme excerpts are Copyright of National Boat Shows, reproduced with kind permission.