John Connolly’s great song Fiddler’s Green

Thinking about the crew of the Humber sloop Spider T spending a night at Grimsby Docks caused me to reminisce and reminded me of the song Fiddler’s Green, made by local musician and librarian John Connolly.

As a song it has earned my respect over the years for the number of people who know and sing it, including fishermen in the area where we now sail – and for the way the Connolly’s lyrics manage to be sentimental without becoming mawkish. He’s a clever chap, that John Connolly.

I grew up a few miles away from Grimsby, and a trip to the docks with my father was a favourite outing when I was a teenager – it had smells, sounds and sights that I hadn’t come across anywhere else, and of course there was the impressive Dock Tower standing like a sentry near the dock gates. The Wikipedia says it’s modelled on the Torre del Mangia tower on the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, though I remember that it was often called the Venetian Tower by locals.

Whatever the derivation of the tower’s architecture, it remains a powerful symbol of Grimsby’s maritime past and is Grade 1 listed.