It was 124 years ago this month that Pilgrim was launched from No.3 slip at J W & A Uphams shipyard in Brixham. The year was 1895 and she cost £667 7s 6d. We believe the seven shillings and six pence was for the work boat that went on board although that may just be a tale! She was one of six sailing trawlers to be launched form Upham’s yard that year. She was purchased by owner and skipper Silas John Pine who was 28 years old and a sixth generation Brixham fisherman. Local church and chapel registers list five previous generations of Silas Pine who were all fishermen dating back as far as 1720. He also had a son named Silas john Pine continuing the family tradition.
Pilgrim was configured as a gaff rigged ketch and was built of English oak and elm with decks planked in oak and pine and the masts cut from Douglas fir. Her restoration which took place between 2009 and 2013 has preserved her original presentation above decks but with a contemporary fit our below. That enables her to be sailed in the traditional manner while providing crew and guests with safe modern facilities.
Over her long life Pilgrim has been a fishing boat, a cargo boat, a sail training vessel and today she provides a platform for witnessing and understanding Brixham’s fishing heritage. The Victorian sailing trawlers, typified by Pilgrim, were the forerunners of today’s modern beam trawlers. The ingenuity and craftsmanship of the shipwrights in Victorian times created an industry that, despite its up and downs, is still thriving in Brixham today.
124 years on, Pilgrim is a proud member of the UK National Historic Fleet reflecting her status as a pre-eminent example of her period and type and being of both regional and national significance. Today she is charity owned and opearted by the Pilgrim Heritage Sailing Foundation. https://www.pilgrimofbrixham.co.uk
The sources of the historic images are not known.