Shorelines: Voices of Southwold Fishermen

Thursday 11 November, 6.30-8pm

Tickets £5 (price redeemable against book purchase on the night, tickets include a glass of wine)

A fabulous book - rich and strange… Daring, tender and fascinating, this is wonderful work.’ – Robert McFarlane

Shorelines is a ground-breaking new work about Southwold’s longshore fishermen, a vivid account of both the history and culture of this community. Jarrold is delighted to welcome author Robert Jellicoe, descendant of a longstanding Southwold family, who will be in conversation with the biographer D J Taylor about this unique new book.

Jellicoe first began collecting oral testimonies about the disappeared culture of Southwold’s fishing and beach life in 1976 and went on to salvage, amass and piece back together the experiences of this once-forgotten community.

The result is a beautiful book with illustrations including photographs of P H Emerson, paintings of Joseph Southall and the novels of Neil Bell.

This event will be followed by a book signing and will include an audience Q&A.

About the book

Shorelines is a ground-breaking work about Southwold’s longshore fishermen. Written by Robert Jellicoe, who comes from a longstanding Southwold family, it brings a lost way of life into sharp focus using first-hand testimony and original archival material.

Inspired to start collecting in 1976 after attending a series of lectures given by George Ewart Evans, a pioneer of oral history, Jellicoe recognized that a culture of fishing and beach life had disappeared. He began to tape record those who remembered it, gathering an unprecedented insight into a long forgotten way of life and language. Fascinated by what he learnt, Jellicoe went on to research other aspects of beach life.

Shorelines creates a vivid account of both the history and culture of this community. We hear of the Beach Companies, the exploits of the Lifeboat, the annual round of fishing seasons, the experience of ‘big-boating’ from Lowestoft on voyages to the Shetlands and to Cornwall and of surviving the winter months through back-breaking work, poaching and even stealing root crops from the fields.

This is a book of voices, including those imagined by the author himself, speaking from the beach, the sea, the pubs and the depths. Illustrated by P H Emerson’s extraordinary photographs, the paintings of Joseph Southall and local artists and the novels of Neil Bell, the result is a magnificent salvage operation and a fitting tribute to the Southwold fishermen, their own men and a ‘right royal lot’.

About the author

Robert Jellicoe, Southwold born and bred, was entranced by the sea from an early age. Maritime artefacts in his father’s Dickensian office and in the Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room deepened his curiosity. He became Head of English at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham where he taught for thirty-four years. He has written an introduction to To The Town, a book of photographs about Southwold and reported on a tribute to Roger Deakin for the Caught by the River blog. He is archivist at Southwold Museum and the Reading Room. He now lives on a small farm not far from the sea.


About the interviewer

D.J. Taylor’s latest book is Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature 1939-1951. His most recent novel is Rock and Roll is Life, and he is currently working on a new biography of George Orwell. He lives in Norwich with his wife, the novelist Rachel Hore.

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