Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Return of the Samuel Fletcher

It’s time for an update concerning one of our previous stories, and for once it isn’t bad news. This makes a pleasant change in the world of Fylde and Wyre antiquarianism, it must be said; most of our news items unfortunately containing such words as ‘redevelopment’, ‘destruction’, and/or ‘sadly passed away’.
Remember way back on the dumpty-umptyeth of whatever (don’t ask me – I can’t remember dates…it was last year sometime whatever the case), when we went to visit Shirley Matthews (granddaughter of the famous Allen Clarke) at Little Marton Mill, followed by an enjoyable afternoon spent in the company of Ann and Bruce Allen?
No, I didn’t think you would.
Well, that’s what we did regardless, and Bruce (a former shipwright from Newcastle) explained to us his problems with the Samuel Fletcher, Blackpool’s historic oar-propelled lifeboat, which, at the time, was in considerable disrepair, having been turfed out of its shed at Stanley Park for reasons of…well…redevelopment as it happens.
Back then Bruce was searching for a place to keep said lifeboat free from vandals, idiots and redevelopers, where he could work on the rotting hull and bring the boat back to its former glory.
That was then.
As you’ve probably gathered, the problem with relocating the Samuel Fletcher has now been solved, as the following cutting from the Evening Gazette testifies. (If you’re having difficulty reading the print at this size, as always, just click on the image for a larger version):


Yes, you’re right, we have been a long time about posting this. To be honest we didn’t buy this specific edition of the Gazette and had to wait for a couple of months before we found somebody who still had a copy to lend us. (Fortunately my mum keeps hold of this sort of thing, because she knows what I’m like.)
Anyhow, that’s not quite the end of the tale.
Shortly afterwards our old friend Phil Barker (of Barkers Butchers – excellent sausages and beef pies available -- and Rossall Beach Co. dot UK fame) managed to get his hands on a signed, first-edition copy of Allen Clarke’s ‘The Story of the Blackpool Lifeboat’, which, amongst other stuff, includes photographs and information about the Samuel Fletcher…naturally.
Phil, because he’s that sort of bloke, decided to have the book reprinted (with Shirley Matthew’s permission, of course) – not for business or profit, you understand, but simply to ensure that the late Allen Clarke’s work was firmly back in the public domain.
The photograph below shows a certain handsome, young antiquarian (watch it) holding his own, personal copy of the aforementioned book (cheers Phil):


Look, no insulting comments, okay? Everybody needs to dream a bit (and let’s face it, nobody else is going to ‘Big’ me up), so if you feel inclined to make personal remarks about my hair/nose/whatever then I’ll be forced to change the photograph for one of Phil Harding in his shorts. And before you say, “That’d be an improvement”…believe me, it wouldn’t!
Anyhow, copies of ‘The Story of Blackpool Lifeboat’ are now available. I’m not sure where exactly, but if you drop by Barkers Butchers on Green Drive in Rossall to make enquiries, no doubt they’ll supply you with one.
And buy a couple of sausage rolls while you’re there, because they’re excellent.

16 comments:

rossallbeach said...

Hi Brian and all the book's there are only a few of them on sale here at green drive rossall beach from thursday. price just £5 each when they are gone thats it no second print.its a one chance offer.regards Phil (Shirley thanks for your permission your copy will be with you soon)

Brian Hughes said...

Phil,

No second print run? Get that price bunged up to at least a tenner in that case, young man.

rossallbeach said...

you get a free website with every book www.rossallbeach.co.uk (you can give more than a fiver if you wish)

Ann ODyne said...

Phil in his shorts? not at this time of your year I hope.
I am always gladdened when enthusiasts save any relic from disintegration so bless all those who gave life to the lifeboat.

Brian Hughes said...

Annie,

The one advantage of Phil in his shorts at this time of year, is that there's probably less that might be revealed...

John said...

Thank goodness... i needed some good news! And I did remember that post, and was quite concerned with that little boat.

So concerned that I made this replica I order to draw attention to it's plight.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_QgHOknM2y8s/S2NjqXtiPgI/AAAAAAAAA1Y/eCjpF38BDng/s1600-h/myboat5.jpg

See? Down to the oars, it is.

Glad I could do my part to preserve the Fylde and Wyre's ancient past.

By the way, you're looking more and more like me Mum every day... areyou sure we're not related?

JOHN :0)

John said...

By the way, the image isn't loading for me... I get only the top half, so can't read the article. Probably need to reboot again.

I wonder if I should name my little dinghy the Samuel Fletcher?

JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...

John,

Sounds like a good solid name for model dinghy to me.

Jayne said...

Good work on all fronts :)

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,

Apart from the western one, of course, where it's just quiet at the moment.

Jayne said...

Yes, Zane Grey :P

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,

Zane Grey's western front has been particularly quiet since his demise in 1939.

rossallbeach said...

All Books are now Sold Thanks Phil

Brian Hughes said...

All but one, Phil...mine's now up on Ebay with a starting price of three hundred quid.

John said...

I bid tuppance! Hope I win!

Brian Hughes said...

John,

That depends whose tuppence it is.