An exhibition is being held in Arnside in Cumbria on the weekend of 14-15 July 2018 to celebrate the village’s maritime and boat building heritage.
Arnside is located at the top of Morecambe Bay in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with views across the estuary to the Lakeland Fells.
Historically the estuary acted as the port for Kendal. The Victorians held regattas; the first yacht club in the village was set up in 1852.
From 1850 to 1950, Arnside was a leading boat building centre.
The Crossfields of Arnside built yachts and fishing boats. They were the leading builders of Morecambe Bay Prawners or Lancashire Nobbies, which were fast sailing boats designed to catch prawns, shrimp and flounder.
The boats featured in the BBC’s Britain Afloat programme last year. Lancashire Nobbies are raced annually on the Mersey at Liverpool.
Crossfield boats which are still in existence include Bonita (1888), which took part in a round Britain race in 2013, Ziska (1903) which is on the west coast of America having been sailed across the Atlantic and Molly (1914) which is in the Mediterranean.
Arthur Ransome’s Swallow was built by Crossfields and was kept in the estuary at Arnside in the late 1930s by a local teenager.
In 1900 there were two Crossfield boatyards operating in the village: Beach Walk on the shore run by William Crossfield and the Top Shop on Church Hill operated by John, his younger brother.
With the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, Arnside Sailing Club has brought Severn, built in the village in 1912.
Severn is one of 10 Rivers Class yachts built by Crossfields for the Royal Mersey Yacht Club just before the start of the First World War.
Owners of Rivers Class yachts included three Olympic medallists from 1908 Olympic Games, Liverpool ship-owners and the 17th Earl of Derby who was Commodore of the Royal Mersey Yacht Club, Secretary of State for War 1916-18 and a leading racehorse owner.
Alasdair Simpson for Arnside Sailing Club said: ‘The Heritage Lottery grant has enabled us to bring Severn back to the village so there will be a Crossfield boat in the estuary. We hope to have her back in the water by mid June.’
Mary Hamilton of Arnside Archive Group, who are holding the exhibition in partnership with the sailing club, added: ‘Arnside has a long maritime heritage. The exhibition is a great way of finding out about our heritage. We would love to hear from owners of Crossfield boats.’
The exhibition will be held on 15-16 July 2018 in the Arnside Educational Institute which is located on Church Hill above the Promenade, opposite the former Top Shop Boatyard.
Anyone wanting further information can either contact Alasdair Simpson, of the Arnside Sailing Club, on 01524 762386/email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Hamilton, Arnside Archive Group at email@example.com