The George Woods Collection of photographs held by East Sussex Libraries is a fantastic thing – and you can see it for yourself on Flickr.
Many of the photos are very posed – with men dressed in oilies on what are clearly dry, fair-weather days and girls in summer frocks – but they do present an interesting perspective on the gear that was in use. And some of the photos are clearly not posed at all…
George Woods was born the son of a draper in St. Albans, Hertfordshire in 1852, but after his father died became a successful stock market investor – which provided him with time to work on his photography.
During the late 1880s and early 1890s photographed Hastings beach and in the local countryside. He left the photos to his daughter Ethel, who donated most of his prints to Hastings Museum in the early 1960s shortly before she passed away. Woods’ glass plate negatives were acquired by local solicitor and historian, John E Ray, and were acquired by Hastings Library following Mr Ray’s death.
The hoveller fishing boat used by Cromer’s legendary lifeboat coxswain Henry Blogg this week arrived at Stalham for restoration by volunteers working with the Museum of the Broads, Stalham.
Old Henry was heavily decorated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and like all RNLI lifeboatman was a volunteer – he made his living catching the famous Cromer crabs.
The hoveller fishing boat differs from other fishing boats as it had a small deck at the bows enabling the fishermen to carry a small stove to boil water and make tea – which is of course essential for any boat belonging to Englishman, particularly if they’re working on the cold North Sea.
The boat is named the QJ&J – Queenie, Jack and Jim – and was named after Henry’s family members.
There have been a number of attempts over the years to save the historically important boat made from ash, larch and oak. Sadly, by the time it reached the museum, the stern was too bad to restore.
The plan is to restore the bow and return her to her Cromer home for exhibition next year.
Here are some recent photos of Tarka, the latest project from HJ Mears & Son Boat Builders of Seaton in Devon, taken just before she was due to go down the slip before going into winter storage.
Alex Mears comments:
‘The owner’s comments about her featured the word “sharp” a lot – and we were pleased with that. For us she’s been a joy to build.
‘The owner even had an offer from a chap to buy her the other day – we could not undertake to build another one due to our busy work schedule into next summer – but understandably he said no.
‘Our next commission is a commercial fishing boat for a local single-handed fisherman. Hope you like the photos – they say a lot more than words ever will!’
The photos do say much. I love the way everyone turned out to have their photo taken with the new boat!
For more posts from Alex Mears, click here.