Ralph Bird Collection (3 Items)

The Bird Collection brings together original photographs and film taken by Ralph and Marie Bird and collected material relating to Cornish Pilot Gigs.

Ralph was a master gig builder, maritime historian and author.

During his career, he built 29 gigs. Photographs by Ralph and Marie capture his work, skills and the vessels he crafted.

Ralph was a founding member of the Cornish Pilot Gig Association and was responsible for drawing up the specification, based on the Treffry, upon which all modern gigs are based.

Ralph carried out extensive research relating to the origins and uses of the gig. He drew on diverse sources and gathered information from key figures and historians including R. H. Gillis and Alf Jenkins.

The Collection documents the early history of Cornish Pilot Gig rowing and charts the modern revival of the sport, in part, through recording Ralph’s outstanding professional achievements.

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