20th February 2019
Sam North works as Project Support Intern on the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project. His work ranges from carrying out historical research to standing in public spaces with a selection of artefacts spreading the word about the project. He worked closely with volunteers who catalogued the Arctic Corsair collection, and was one of the staff who helped to remove the collection last summer.
In maintaining the Arctic Corsair as a museum, we at Hull Museums are fortunate to work with a number of people with connections to the fishing industry. This includes the fishing heritage charity STAND who we partner in preserving the ship. Many of their members worked as trawlermen, and I find it fascinating to listen to them reminisce about past trips to Iceland.
A number of the Corsair’s tour guides also have connections with the fishing industry. They bring their tours to life by recalling sailing on the Corsair, or on board similar ships. We also have a team of maintenance volunteers who have worked to ensure that the ship remains in a fit state for visitors since it opened to the public. A number of these volunteers have connections with the fishing industry as well.
Some of the most interesting parts of the ship’s onboard collection are items such as fishing diaries and logs, recorded whilst the Corsair was fishing. These often include the personal touch of the chief engineer, mate, or skipper’s notes. Much like the fishing community, these items tell the human story of the industry in Hull.
One fascinating part of cataloguing and removing the ship’s collection was sorting through the files found in the chief engineer’s cabin. Whilst most of the collection was catalogued by volunteers, these records were so jumbled that I was tasked with making sense of them. Hull’s fishing heyday had long passed by the time I was born, and walking around the preserved Corsair is the closest I have been to sailing on board a trawler. I was going to need some help in understanding the engineering diagrams and plans which were in front of me.
One of the extensive set of instructions relating to the main engine, showing wear-and-tear signs from a thirty year working life at sea!
One of many electrical diagrams found on board the Corsair.
Some of the files served to trigger Bill and Pete’s own memories of sailing on board trawlers. They recalled similar equipment on board the vessels they sailed on, connecting them with stories of their daily use. Amongst the files were repair lists from trips made during the 1980s, including the Corsair’s final December 1987 trip. The men duly critiqued their worthiness, all in good humour!
It is a real privilege to work with people who have these memories, and we are grateful for their continued support in helping us to preserve the Arctic Corsair.