Friday, 6 May 2011
Grimsby’s prosperity was built on work undertaken over the most extended hours in the harshest of conditions. This is obvious to anyone who visits former fishing families at home or tours the National Fishing Heritage Museum on the docks. It was brought home to me yet again at the launch of a new book at the Museum yesterday evening.
I’m involved in the Board of Directors for CPO Media, which began its life as the Community Press Office publishing local community magazines which were supported by regeneration funding. It continues to engage with the regeneration agenda through everything from other community publications to training those otherwise NEET (young people ‘not in education, employment or training’).
Its first venture into recording oral history was the important Lottery funded The Women They Left Behind which told an essential but otherwise neglected part of the Grimsby story. Now its North Wall Publishing imprint has now brought out a companion volume Distant Water which puts historical research alongside accounts from nearly fifty fishermen illustrated mainly with pictures from an unused 1959 Sunday Pictorial archive.
It was quite an evening. I was arrested at the very beginning by a display about the sheer number of young orphans running away from ships into which they had been pressed as apprentices in the nineteenth century, and ended up hearing stories from one of the contributors about being boarded from a suspicious Russian naval vessel when off the north Russian coast; he was grateful that such stories and their context are not being lost, which is probably most of the point.