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Securing Local Shrimping Stories

Families of some of Lytham’s best known shrimpers shared their memories of living and working in the local shrimping industry with arts organisation, Fable Arts last week in a dedicated day of story sharing.

Fable Director, Alex O’Toole, said, “The response to our call out to the shrimping community has been fantastic. Though most of the respondents to date still live in the Lytham St. Annes area, one gentleman has contacted us from as far afield as Somerset, where he has swapped shrimping for farming.”

“From listening to their stories, we know that life was clearly very hard for Lytham shrimpers and their families, particularly during the fifties and sixties and earlier - the shrimpers, tied to the tides, out in almost all weathers, reliant on their wits and their hard won knowledge of the river, coming back with hands so cold they cried when they began to thaw out; and the shillers, tethered to their kitchens by the size of the shrimper’s catch, their fingers eternally soft and shrivelled, often working till the early hours. Yet their sense of fun and community was what kept them going and still does.”

There is now only one full time shrimper now working in Lytham and a handful of part timers.  With the loss of the ports at Preston and at Lytham, the river no longer needed dredging. As a result, much of the estuary is now silted up so that the core shrimping areas enjoyed by Lytham’s shrimper’s in the fifties and sixties are no longer accessible. All of this means that today’s Lytham shrimpers have an exceptionally tough job on their hands.

“We should make the most of our treasured Lytham shrimps while we can and support our local fishermen. They really are the last of their kind in Fylde. When they stop working, a key part of heritage will go with them.

 It has been a real privilege to be able to capture these important memories of our social and industrial history directly from the men and women who have lived and worked in the shrimping industry all of their lives. We hope that in doing so, we can shed a light on the importance of the industry, and these incredibly hard working men and women, to the development of Lytham.”

Further sessions have been organised with other members of the Lytham and St. Annes shrimping communities over the coming weeks. If you would like to share your story of living or working in Lytham or St. Anne’s shrimping industry, please get in touch with Alex O’Toole by calling 07854 951266 or emailing alex@fablearts.org.uk



Contact the Press Team

For further information please contact Alex O'Toole on +44 (0)78 5495 1266 or on alex@fablearts.org.uk

For any press or PR enquiries, please contact press@fablearts.org.uk