Last chance to see incredible display

Dedicated researchers putting together an exhibition on shipbuilding had no idea the depths to which they would go.

Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 5:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:02 pm
Hundreds of people in Shoreham and Southwick were employed in occupations such as shipwrights, ship chandlers, sailmakers, sawyers, anchor smiths, blacksmiths and rope makers

Delving into the past, the volunteers from Friends of Marlipins Museum uncovered a wealth of information about the history of Shoreham.

It was a wonderful result, for Shipbuilders of Shoreham is the first exhibition to be produced at the Marlipins Museum by the Friends.

It is dedicated not only to those men who risked their own money to build the shipyards but above all to the men whose skills built the ships, from sail to steam, in Shoreham for over 700 years.

Liza McKinney, from the Friends, said: “When the five museum volunteers started the research for the exhibition, little did they know what an amazing local story it would turn out to be.

“It is an incredible display, not to be missed, and a great piece of local history. Hopefully our schools will visit while they have the chance.

“As we discovered, the full story of this amazing part of Shoreham’s history has never been fully told until now, when the research knocked our team of volunteers for six.”

The exhibition closes this year’s season at the museum, in High Street, Shoreham, so people have only until Tuesday, October 31, to view everything.

Through photographs, paintings and words, the story of the shipbuilding industry is told. It brought success and economic prosperity to the area, thanks to the highly-skilled craftsmen who built the ships and the owners of the shipyards, which stretched along both sides of the River Adur to Southwick and Shoreham Port.

Liza said: “Hundreds of people were employed and it may be hard to believe now but these craftsmen created vessels which gained national and international recognition for their strong construction and excellent sailing qualities well into the 19th century.

“It was a community activity - few men and women were not involved in the building of ships or in occupations related to the sea.”

Men such as James Britton Balley, John Stow, R.H. Penney, Dyer and Shuttleworth owned yards which occupied sites where today you will find The Bridge pub, B&Q, Emerald Quay and the Lady Bee Marina.

Harry Stow’s Yard extended from Dolphin Hard, where the Adur Ferry bridge is now, to Surry Hard, close to Sussex Yacht Club.

Sadly, centuries of skilled local shipbuilding ended when the last yard closed in 1983.