Filey’s museum in plea for tales from the sea

Filey Museum trustee Michael Fearon. Picture: Tony BartholomewFiley Museum trustee Michael Fearon. Picture: Tony Bartholomew
Filey Museum trustee Michael Fearon. Picture: Tony Bartholomew
At one time, there were as many as 30 yawls – boats large enough to stay at sea for several days – fishing out of Filey and they would sit on the beach when they weren’t at sea.

Filey Museum, which is entirely volunteer-run, is asking for people to come forward with stories or information about the history of fishing in the town, with a view to publishing a book on the subject.

Trustee Michael Fearon says: “It’s remarkable that such a small town was responsible for such a huge fishing fleet, especially as there’s no harbour.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There’s been a fishing industry in Filey for at least 800 years, but it’s almost finished now. We’d like to document it, and want any stories or information with a view to putting together a book.

“The lifeboat is also a key part of the story – for 150 years at least, all the lifeboat crew were fishermen.

“With a history like that, there’s bound to be lots of dramatic stories and events that we don’t know about.”

Mr Fearon was a founder member of the Filey Historical Society in 1968, at which time the building which is now the museum was threatened 
with demolition. The-then 
Filey Urban District Council asked the society if it was interested in taking the 
building on and making it into a museum.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They offered it to us at the 11th hour,” says Mr Fearon. “We had no experience, no knowledge, and no money. But we knew if we didn’t take it on, it would be demolished.”

The property on Queen Street, which was built in 1696, became a museum in 1971, since when 
it has become Grade II listed. 
It is run by a team of volunteers, and opens each year from 
Good Friday to the end of October.

Anyone wanting to contribute stories is asked to contact Mr Fearon on 01723 513640.

Meanwhile seaside memories of a different kind are being recalled on another part of the Yorkshire coast.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Seaside souvenirs taken home over the years by holidaymakers in Scarborough will be the subject of the next store tour of the Scarborough Collections on Tuesday, April 1.

Bringing home souvenirs from a holiday beside the sea is about as traditional as buckets and spades and fish and chips by the seafront.

Often they sit on the sideboard as a reminder of summer holidays and a break from the daily grind. While others, traditionally seen as throw-away items, have not survived but one Yorkshire museum has a collection of the keepsakes and it is opening its stores to the public.

They range from a decorated shell souvenir which has a painting on the front of the Scarborough Spa, which it is thought dates back to the early 19th century to a folding hairbrush embossed with the word Scarborough from more modern times.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Scarborough Museums Trust’s chief executive Debbie Seymour will lead the tour, which will look at souvenirs dating from Victorian era to the present day.

“Souvenirs and ephemera are important pieces of social history,” said Mrs Seymour.

“They were usually cheap and mass-produced but because of that, they weren’t valued, so many haven’t survived. We have some fascinating pieces in the collections, ranging from basic items like a wooden perpetual calendar to a really rather beautiful alabaster 
viewer containing Scarborough scenes.

“I love the awfulness of them. They are not stylish at all generally,” said Mrs Seymour.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Collections tours are on the first Tuesday of the month. Each takes around an hour, and people are asked to meet at Scarborough Art Gallery at 2pm before heading next door to Woodend Creative Workspace, where the Collections are housed. Places on the tour cost £3 each. To book call 01723 374753.