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Lottery backing for Beverley heritage project

East Riding Archives has received £30,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project, “Trawling Through Time: The Story of Cook, Welton & Gemmell, Shipbuilders”. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on making digital images and cataloguing historic trawler plans from the archive of the former local Beverley shipbuilders.

The project will enable people to discover (or re-discover) Beverley’s maritime heritage, a part of the town’s industrial past that is rapidly fading from public memory. By delivering talks, workshops, oral histories, a digital display of trawler plans, and a television documentary by Estuary TV, more people will be able to learn about this fascinating aspect of East Yorkshire’s shipbuilding past.

Cook, Welton & Gemmell was founded in Hull in 1883, then moved to Beverley in 1901/2.  By 1954 there were 650 employees working in the shipyard at Grovehill, but the company went into liquidation in 1963.  Now, with an archive containing 259 ships’ plans for various vessel types built at Grovehill between 1905 and 1962, East Riding Archives’ project will help 40 participants from all generations to get involved.

Working with heritage professionals from the Archives service, Trawling Through Time participants will form an inter-generational partnership working towards preserving and creating access to the East Riding’s maritime heritage. The project will help them to gain a deeper sense of place in the community, as well as teaching them valuable new skills to use as they develop their careers.

The Archives Service is looking for volunteers who would like to get involved with the cataloguing aspects of the project. Volunteers should have experience of working in the maritime industry, for example ex-trawlermen and shipyard employees, or should be people with a real passion and enthusiasm for maritime heritage, who can come forward and help with the cataloguing of the technical trawler plans.

It is hoped to begin work in April, continuing for a year, with volunteers coming in once a month on a rotation basis.  The work of the volunteers will make an invaluable contribution towards safeguarding the collection.

Commenting on the award, Councillor Richard Burton, portfolio holder for leisure, tourism and culture, said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players, and are confident the project will support people to be active citizens with pride in their maritime heritage.

“There was tremendous competition to secure the Heritage Lottery funding, so I am absolutely delighted that our team’s efforts have paid off, to allow this excellent project to go ahead.”

Archivist Sam Bartle added: “It’s very exciting that the National Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby, and the ss.Great Britain in Bristol will both be hosting our talk and display over the course of the project, and we’re delighted that Estuary TV will be following our project and bringing the history of Beverley shipbuilding to a television audience.”

David Renwick, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Opening up our historic archives is important as they provide such a valuable resource to explore the past. The Trawling Through Time project will provide great opportunities for people to discover the shipbuilding heritage of Beverley, develop new skills and share local stories with a new audience, all thanks to National Lottery players