Book Review-‘The Beachman’s Coast: Suffolk coastal communities and their boats’ by R. Simper

By Cathryn Pearce, published October 2020


Ostensibly this book is about the demise of the beachmen of Suffolk and their work boats, mainly open yawls, smacks and galleys, which Robert Simper argues needs to be included in the better-known story of the decline of the North Sea fishery (p. 5). Beachmen were traditionally fishermen who worked from the sandy beaches of East Anglia, and supplemented their fishing income by salvaging wrecked ships, piloting, and provisioning passing vessels with supplies, ships’ tackle and even recovered anchors. In all these communities beachmen formed loose companies, often centred on local public houses. The nineteenth century was ‘the golden era of the beach companies and every gale blew them more salvage work’ (p. 116). Simper claims that the beachmen’s work supported over a thousand families at its height (p. 5)…

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Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Whaling & Fishing

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