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Originally deposited as a CD-ROM. Contains BBC Radio Humberside documentary about fishing cobles, including interviews with coble-makers and coble historians. Public access copy available in Audio-Visual Room. (00:01) An introduction to the programme. Sailing cobles are the traditional fishing boats of the Yorkshire and North East coast. Two new boats have been built at Bridlington Harbour, the first new cobles to be built since 1976 (00:36) A musical introduction. (00:47) The construction of the two new cobles was carried out by two retired boat builders, Joe Gelsthorp and John Clarkson (01:07) The builders describe the process as like completing a jigsaw puzzle; finding the correctly shaped trees getting them sawn and then putting the boat together (01:27) In September 2014 the two new traditional sailing cobles were launched at Bridlington Harbour; built by the two retired boat builders and a group of volunteers. A few fishing cobles still fish commercially but Joe and John were building the older type of sailing coble (02:02) John Clarkson says the project was the result of them having restored The Three Brothers, another sailing coble owned by the Harbour Commission. It was 102 years old and caused much interest when it was launched. They decided to document the process as no-one had recorded it previously (02:52) The two new cobles were built using traditional methods in the boatshed at Bridlington Harbour. Not all small wooden fishing boats are cobles. Gloria Wilson is a maritime author and illustrator who grew up in Staithes; she was also a journalist covering the fishing industry. Using a model of a coble called the Golden Crown built in Whitby by William Clarkson; she describes the coble as a curiously shaped boat, because it is designed to be launched or landed on the beach. The English coble has a central keel that runs from the front but ends in the middle. Towards the stem of the boat are two side keels, these help the coble to sit on the beach without falling over, making it easier to pull it up the beach or into the water. It also has a high bow and is a flared shape, to give it more stability in bad weather (05:23) Dr Rob Robinson, fishing historian from Hull University, explains that cobles were used from Holderness up to the Scottish Border, including the Northumberland coast. They all have their local design and vary in size. The origin of the coble is unclear, but it is certain that they are old; they are referenced in books in the Middle Ages and they were widely used in the nineteenth century (06:32) Dr Robinson speculates that the cobles probably had a series of ‘heydays’. In the nineteenth century with the coming of the railways there was a great market for fishing inland. He stresses that there were many different types of coble, including in the eighteenth century, smaller cobles transported to the Dogger Bank for line fishing cod (08:03) In the nineteenth century, coble crews often followed the herring shoals. Dr Robinson explains that drift nets were used. The herring is a very perishable fish so people were brought in to process them quickly. The Scottish herring lasses were well known for salting the fish and putting them in barrels. These were then exported to the continent (09:05) A traditional folk song about the shoals of herring (10:50).The lines were often baited with mussels and it was the fisherman’s wives job to shell buckets of mussels. In 1970 Mrs Mirfield married a fisherman in Filey, she talks about shelling – skeining – the mussels. The women skeined the mussels while the men were at sea, so they were ready for when the men came in. They used skeining knives to open the shells and put the mussels in a bucket to swell. It was bad for the hands as the knives were very sharp and eventually the wives no longer wanted to do the work (11:50) The cobles from Filey were versatile, their flat bottoms allowed the fitting of motors and in the 1900’s many fishing cobles were motorised. However in the late 1950’s a new generation of cobles was built, encouraged by generous government subsidies (12:15) Gloria Wilson again. At the start of the 1950’s only one coble was left, The Star of Hope. It belonged to the Verrel family, Titch and Matt Verrel were brothers. It was washed away in the floods of January 1953. In the late 1950’s three new ones were built. The majority of fishermen had left to work in jobs in the local steel industry and ICI at Teeside. The government financial help stimulated new interest in the cobles and Staithes bought three. Gloria can remember the Golden Crown arriving at the village with much celebration (13:58) At this time Graham Taylor was a young man starting out in the fishing industry in Filey, famous for its fishing cobles and the tractors that towed the boats to and from the water. He explains that there were about 18 cobles, each about 29 - 30 feet with three crew members. Line fishing started in Hull Fair week and went through to the end of March. Through the spring into summer they would go crabbing and lobstering. They would also take fishing parties out. There are no fishing cobles left in Filey, some of the men left to fish in Scarborough. (16:32) Some coble crews ventured out to sea when it wasn’t safe, so intense was the pressure to catch fish and earn a living. Charles Robinson describes a trip in the 1970’s that almost ended in disaster. He believes that safety depended on the experienced older fisherman in the crew; otherwise many of the younger ones would have drowned (18:25) Another traditional folk song about being at sea in high winds (19:12) There was great rivalry between the crews of Filey for the best fishing spots. They had no navigation instruments, so they depended on experience and a compass and if you found a good fishing area you tried to keep it to yourself (20:40) The decline of the fishing coble began in the 1970’s and has since accelerated. Rob Robinson says it has been a long process influenced by the introduction of fibre glass vessels and the requirement for larger vessels to work inshore. This has led to the decline over the second half of the twentieth century. What’s remarkable is that some have survived and you still see working cobles to this day (21:35) The last two decades saw a sharp decline in the number of cobles, partly because of the EU decommissioning scheme. The EU was keen to reduce fishing in the North Sea so paid fishermen to take their boats out of the fishing industry. According to Paul Arrow, a coble historian, this led to the cutting up of fine fishing cobles. However, a few have survived and are kept as working vessels in Whitby (23:15) Martin Hooper owns a coble called the Courage. An average day’s catch includes 2 boxes of brown crabs, about 80-90 kilos and a box of lobsters at about 30 kilos. Much is exported to Spain and Portugal but some is processed and sold to local restaurants. In winter a lot of days can be lost because of the weather and the days can be long, as time is spent repairing and making fishing gear after coming in from the sea (26:00) When Martin Hopper first started fishing there were 30 cobles in Whitby; now there are just two full time working cobles left. They are costly to maintain and many fishermen have moved to larger fibreglass boats. Cobles are very good for salmon fishing; because of its shape they can sail over the net without it getting caught in the propeller, so for Martin it’s an ideal boat for the job. It would be expensive to build a new coble, seasoned wood is difficult to get and there are not many skilled builders. It would probably cost about £100,000, whereas fibreglass would probably be half the price (29:12) In 1976 Dave Wharton ordered a new coble Gratitude to be built by Hector Handyside?, the foreman at Harrison Boatyard in Amble, Northumberland. He was funded by the Tourist Board. The Gratitude is widely travelled, having taken part in Sydney Bicentennial celebrations and then spending time in Brisbane (34:38) Joe Gelsthorp and John Clarkson want to keep the region’s heritage alive, so started building two cobles in the summer of 2014 They constructed their cobles in the boat shed at Bridlington Harbour. They advertised for apprentices who could use the project to learn about boat building, but instead a number of retired craftsmen approached them and offered to help (35:05).Malcolm Smale, retired joiner, offered to assist. Although they mainly used traditional tools, they did use a planing machine and band saw. Putting the boats together is a hands on job; he’s probably spent about 360 hours working on the project, which has been good therapy for him. There are no plans to work from, because of its shape it’s built mainly by eye. The shape of the tree used determines the shape of the boat. Slowly over the summer of 2014 the sailing cobles took shape (38:36) On the 12th September 2014, ten weeks after construction began, the cobles were launched in front of a crowd and TV reporters. Joe and John also restored the Three Brothers coble. The new cobles the Free Spirit and the Misnomer were built for their historic interest and they are up for sale. A few motorised cobles still operate out of the harbours of the Yorkshire and NE coasts, but most have gone. As the numbers have fallen interest in the cobles and the culture around them has grown. Margaret Taylor in Filey is helping to keep the culture alive. She knits the original gansies or guernseys, the jumper the fishermen wore to keep the cold at bay (41:00) Margaret explains her great grandfather and grandfather fished out of Filey and wore guernseys and when she married a Filey fisherman she began to knit them. A guernsey is a wool garment made out of 100 percent 5 ply Yorkshire wool, special for the guernsey; knitted on the round with 5 fine needles. They are designed so that when the sleeves wear out, they can be taken back to the elbows and re-knitted. Back and front are the same so it evens out the wear. The design for the guernsey is different in each fishing town and all the patterns have different meanings (44:42) With a growing interest in fishing cobles, they are appearing in some unlikely places such as museums and public gardens. Mike Cotterill a former Filey councillor is supporting the idea (45:15) He remembers about 30 cobles being birthed on Coble Landing. In 2013 a lot of sand disappeared off the beach and he believes this marked the decline of the cobles as fishermen were having difficulty launching the boats. Many of them left and went to Scarborough. There are still two remaining privately owned vessels in Filey, but they need a lot of work to make them seaworthy. Coble Landing is still used for fishing boats but there are no cobles and Mike Cotterill would at least like to have a static coble presence to maintain the tradition in Filey. He is trying to find the funding to do this (48:40) The Coble and Keelboat society, established in 1987, is a charity dedicated to keeping the NE’s coble heritage alive. Coble historian Paul Arrow is one of its members (50:06) Fishing historian Rob Robinson remains optimistic about the coble’s future, he believes there is increasing interest in their heritage and preserving the old skills (50:46) The internet has allowed coble enthusiasts to share their stories, arrange get togethers and swap photos. Paul Arrow has a large collection of photos. The coble coast runs from the River Humber up to the River Tweed and at one time every little harbour between these two would operate cobles (51:28).End music including a traditional song about the number of Yorkshire fisherman lost at sea (56:00) End of programme Public access copy available on Preservica: (Search 'DDX2098/1')

Dec 2014

Originally deposited as a CD-ROM. Contains BBC Radio Humberside documentary in which John Peel, musician, plays a number of instruments depicted in stone carvings inside the Minster. Also includes interviews with Professor Barbara English, formerly of University of Hull, and Dr Diana Wyatt of the REED Project, University of Durham.Music played at Beverley Minster from the 12th to the 16th centuries Public access copy available in Audio-Visual Room. Duration: 26 mins Timing: Action on film (00:05) An introduction to a programme about three musicians playing in Beverley in 1438 and the music they played in Beverley Minster (00:28) A recording of the preparations for the Beverley Festival of Christmas in 2011. Today Beverley holds many festivals, but this is nothing new as festivals have taken place here for centuries. John Peel is a resident of East Yorkshire and was for many years a history teacher at Pocklington School. He is an enthusiast for early music and for playing early instruments. At some stage in its history Beverley became home to the Musician’s Guild, for musician’s between the Trent and the Tweed. Although unsure of the actual date it is certain that in the 14th century Beverley was the tenth town in the Kingdom in terms of trade (02:22) The Alderman of the Guild of Musicians was always appointed on Ascension Day, followed by a ten day festival. This included stalls, entertainment and trading people from all over as Beverley was not only a trading centre but also a place of pilgrimage. About ten days after the festival there would be the Corpus Christi plays (03:02) Unaccompanied songs (04:14) Beverley is no longer a music making centre, but if you know where to look you can find evidence of Beverley’s music making past (04:31) Sitting in the choir stalls of Beverley Minster you can see the Misericordia; there are 68. They are ‘mercy seats’ as they can be used as an ordinary seat, but when the seat is lifted there is a little ledge to rest on when standing. Underneath these seats which date back to 1520, there are carvings of domestic scenes and music making. One example is a monkey playing a bag pipe to a dancing bear. The monkey has a bagpipe with a drone over its shoulder and a double chanter. The carvings contain interesting details that give an idea of how the instruments were made (06:15) On the walls on the nave of Beverley Minster there are stone carvings of medieval minstrels and musical instruments. In some cases these are Victorian copies as the original carvings were destroyed during the Reformation or the Civil War. Higher up are original carvings that were out of reach. This programme aims to bring the carvings and the music they depict to life. It also intends to search for the musicians that played them. John Peel is going to be a guide (07:10) In the nave, you can see a harp that would have been played in the 1330’s. All the instruments in the nave are about this old. It’s a harp you can hold: the basic shape is familiar from that time. In the Middle Ages the harp was extremely popular with the upper classes. Most of the harps depicted in Beverley have their carrying bag carved at the bottom, another attention to detail by the stone carver. The harp is much smaller than a modern one it can be carried around (08:33) A recording of harp music (10:15) Further down the nave is a carving of a psaltery. It has a framework that you can rest on your lap with strings running crossways, that can be plucked like a zither. It was very sweet sounding and Chaucer mentions it in the Canterbury Tales (11:44) Recording of a piece of psaltery music (12:22) The carvers had a sense of humour as there’s a carving of a wind instrument, the shawm, being played with a second carving above it of a man holding his hand over his ears (12:54) John Peel explains that the same melodies would be used in different ways, high court music, village green music, street music with the instruments crossing the social divide in different social settings (13:48) The two carvings show the division between loud and soft. Instruments tended to play softly like the psaltery or loudly like the shawm, the ancestor of the oboe. It was much louder and could be played more wildly (14:38) A carving of a lute that looks like half a pear with the carved side towards the players body. It has a fretted finger board played with a plectrum in the 1300’s and depicted in the carving. In the 1400’s it was played with the fingers. A smaller equivalent of the lute is the guitar. Lutes were popular but were expensive so were probably found higher up the social scale. By the 1500’s when the Misericordia were carved, lutes were extremely elaborate. (15:52) John Peel talks about the lute piece he is about to play. It is an annunciation carol ‘Tidings True’ found in a manuscript now in the Bodleian in Oxford. Probably an original service book from Beverley and the tune is thought to be local to either Beverley or East Yorkshire (16:23) ‘Tidings True’ played on the lute (18:50) The shawm came across from the Middle East during the Crusade. It is a short instrument with a reed played very loudly. When they were brought back they were made bigger and louder and could be played at different pitches. The carving is of two shawms of different lengths with a bagpipe, like a three man band (19:00) A piece of shawm music called Green Ginger from the album Cherwell Thy Wyne, played by the York Waits (20:22) The shawm was the instrument of town bands in the 1300 -1400s (21:00) A carving showing a portative organ. Big organs in churches are called positive organs because they have been positioned, whereas the portative organ was a small keyboard that could be carried. One hand worked bellows at the back and the other played keys at the front (21:30) The next instrument is a pipe and tabor, England’s oldest folk instrument. One musician does two jobs, beat a stick in one hand and with the other play a tune on a whistle with three holes. There are two types of tabor depicted in Beverley, the older one is a shallower instrument and John Peel will use this to play a Spanish piece. In the choir stalls a jester is depicted playing a deeper pipe and tabor which would be more resonant. John will play a piece from Henry VIII’s court using this instrument (22:45) Spanish pipe and tabor piece (23:22) Taken from a piece called ‘Who so that will for grace sue’ a gentle love song by Henry VIII (24:54) St Mary’s Church on North Bar Within in Beverley also contains stone carvings of musicians (25:16) The presenter introduces Barbara English, a retired professor of History from the University of Hull. Beverley was the tenth largest town in England with a population of 3000. The wealth of the town. Public access copy available on Preservica: (Search 'DDX2098/2')


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