To preview our 150th Anniversary hundreds of local folk turned out on October 5th last year to watch a sail past of historic and contemporary fishing boats, including the LT 472 Excelsior, the last gaff-rigged sailing trawler on the East Coast and The Leila, a fishing smack that was restored at Harbour Marine Services in Southwold. They were joined by the RNLI’s ‘Annie Tranmer’ and Marcus Gladwell’s ‘Coastal Voyager’ and many other fishing trawlers and sailing boats from the Harbour. The Sail Past began with a single cannon shot, accompanied by the Southwold and Reydon Corps of Drums’s superb rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’.
The day continued with talks in The Reading Room about Southwold’s Fishermen of the past, given by John Winter, and a guide to the key exhibits in the Room given by Doug Pope. Also ‘fishy Tales’ – a series of readings from folk stories and epic poems about the sea, including a section of ‘Peter Grimes’ from George Crabbe’s original poem ‘The Borough’ and the audiences were entertained superbly by this popular part of the programme by local actors Donald Gee and Caitriona Vulliamy. ‘Music on the Cliff’ outside continued with The Saint Felix Preparatory School Choir, The Town Band, Derek Simpson’s excellent ‘Harbour Lights’ and Will Windell’s ‘Mojosa’. Our new Merchandise was on sale and there was a Prize Draw for superb prizes donated by local businesses.
We were indebted to our main sponsors, Southwold Pier, Nick Haward (Southwold) Ltd. + Suzie’s Café, and Durrants Estate Agents, without whom this special Day would not have been possible. The Open Day was recorded by local photographers, Bill Hancock, Keith Warren, Michael Mayhew and others and we are indebted to Bill Hancock for providing the photo-album in The Reading Room as a permanent record of the day. For a selection of photos see: Our Gallery.