Looking Back to the Future

Members of the Pilgrim Events Team have been meeting at the Berry Head Hotel in Brixham. Now our Open days and school visits for 2018 are complete the team has been ‘looking back to the future’ to plan our public and educational activities for next year.

Looking back to the future
The Pilgrim Events Team meeting to plan 2019 activities

A key part of that is continuing our investigations into Pilgrim’s past and the life and times of fisher folk in Brixham during the Victorian Period.

Over recent weeks one of our team, Marion O’Brien has been looking deeper into the background of our original skipper Silas Pine and his family and she brought the team up to date on what she had discovered. Marion has been building on the work of the late Bridget Cusack who was Pilgrim’s archivist. Fishing was definitely in the family as our skipper was at least a fifth generation Brixham fisherman when he had Pilgrim built in 1895. We still haven’t managed to locate a photograph of Silas but that is still very much work-in-progress as we feel we have to put a face to the name.

Neil Davidson has been investigating the techniques used in those days to shoot and recover the trawl and the sequence of events that happened on-board every time they landed a catch. Understanding current bean trawling techniques is useful but the methods used in Victorian times were different because of the need to manually handle all the heavy gear. The crew were reliant on their own skill, ingenuity and muscle helped only by rigging blocks and hand operated winches. A project is now in hand to make a winch to fit onto Pilgrim where it would have originally been located. This will hopefully enable us to re-create some of those activities to improve our understanding of how it was done.

This work adds to our ability to tell the story of Pilgrim in a way that enables our visitors and sailing guests to see into the culture and heritage of our local fishing community. It’s a key part of our Foundation’s educational endeavours.

Open Day Dates for 2019 are now published here