Sussex luggers ‘for all the world like so many glow-worms’

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South Coast lugger

South Coast lugger, from HC Folkard’s The Sailing Boat published in 1870

I’ve been wanting to share a quote from Keble Chatterton’s entertaining history Fore & Aft Craft that I find rings in my head.

I’m hoping that you’ll find a similar appeal in it.

‘We spoke just now of the Sussex luggers. They are still to be seen in the English Channel. One meets them at work in Dungeness Bay, or off Fairlight, or between Newhaven and Selsey Bill, and at night the sea is dotted with a pattern of small yellow lights, as they pursue their calling, looking at a distance for all the world like so many glow-worms.’

The Science Museum has a splendid model of one of these craft from 1860.