Friday, 27 January 2012

Poachings: Noah’s Ark Hotel from Lincolnshire Life January 1970

Poachings: Noah’s Ark Hotel   from Lincolnshire Life January 1970

In our August issue we reproduced this photograph of the land-based boat at Gibraltar Point which was used as a dwelling house at the end of the last century. The following article about it was written by the late Mrs S. M.  Julian, formerly Susan Moody of Cheery Tree House, High Street, Skegness, in November 1897, when she was 18 years old. The photograph of her was taken a short time afterwards. I am indebted to her daughter Mrs M. E. Greenhalf of Cheltenham who leant e the original manuscript.

“Just south of Skegness lies a tiny hamlet, Gibraltar Point. On the map it is clearly seen on the East Coast. Hundreds of visitors from Skegness during the summer months drive down, the distance being about five miles. It is not noted for its fine scenery, nor is ancient history in any way attached to it.  In all there are about half a dozen houses and the Coast Guard’s Station.

The chief attraction to the almost isolated place seems to be an old boat-house moored near the River Haven.  Mr. and Mrs. Perrin have lived in it for nearly thirty years and sixteen children have been born there.  Glancing at it from the outside it does not look very habitable, but entering you are struck with its cosy and home-like appearance. The boast was once used for fishing and has braved many a gale. Now it is stationary and stands high and dry except at very high tides, when the water surrounds it.

The inside consists of two large sized rooms. You enter by a door, cut into the side of the boat into the living room. At the keel end of the boat are what used to be the sleeping bunks; they have been converted into very useful cupboards. The walls are grained and varnished and it is exceedingly comfortable, considering its build and curious circumstances.

During the summer the occupant do a very good trade in mineral waters and refreshments and the husband earns not a little in fishing and shooting wild fowl. The visitors from the large smokey towns and cities enjoy this wild out-of-the-way place. On the left are the sandhills where the blackberries grow in rich profusion, and where you can stand and gaze over the Wash (or more commonly called Boston Deeps) to the Norfolk coast. More inland the sea has receded a considerable distance and you may walk for miles on marsh land down to Wainfleet and Friskney Flats, picking the samphire as you go. When it is in season it makes a delicious pickle. Altogether Gibraltar Point is the ideal for the lover of nature in its wildest beauty.”

Robinson, David N    Lincolnshire Life     vol 9    no 11    Jan 1970    pp43-44

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Gibraltar Point - from Canon Rawnsleys 'Memories of the Tennysons'

“Four miles north or north-east of Skegness lay Gibraltar Point, a very, sea-wilderness. The sea at low tide went out of sight, and left samphire-covered flats and tiny rivulets  of salt sea water and cockles; further and further, it receded and left bare to the sunshine miles on miles of mud that shone like burnished ore. Nothing but the great stakes that guided the fisher-boats at flow of tide, broke the level prospect, save here and there a rusted anchor or the ribs of a wreck. The silence of the vast world of mud and sand and samphire was only disturbed by the cry of stints or curlew; it was to this sea-wilderness, devoid of man, that Alfred Tennyson delighted to wander. It was by pure accident I learned this.

Once, going in to rest at the only farm-house seen for miles near Gibraltar Point, I fell to talking with old inhabitant. He had just been getting a crop of pears, and pointed the way in which the earwigs had made havoc with some of them.

“Straangely constituted things them bottle-twigs is, as God Omighty knaws; he dallied, if they hevn’t gone with the best of my pears to year, and pears is as hard as owt.  I niver seed nobbut one as could manash them pears, as th’owd bottle-twigs has manashed them for sartin sewerness, and that was young Mr Alfred when he was a boy.”

“What young Mr.  Alfred was that?” I asked.

“Why, Mr. Alfred; you know Mr. Alfred. Ivvery one, in those days, knew Mr. Alfred here-about howivver. You’ve heard tell of Mr Alfred Tennyson, the owd doctor’s son, strange friend of owd Mr. Rownsley, as built the house at Skegnest?” The old fellow was wrong as to the builder, but I assented and he continued: “He was straangen fond o’ the jam as well as the pears, was Mr. Alfred. My Missus ud say, ‘Now here’s Mr.Alfred a ‘coomin; we must git the jam ready’; and she would open the door and let the cat out, for he was a regular boy for the cats was Mr. Alfred. I remember one cat, poor thing, went up the smoke-hole one time when he coomed in at the door and Mr. Alfred said ‘your  cats is so shan, Mrs G--,’ and like enough, poor things. Not that he meant owt, but cats is sensible things and they know who’s who, mind ye. We haven’t heard of him for years, but he grew up a straangen great man, I suppose and addles his bread by his writings; is worth some hundreds they do say.”

....Why you know i’ them days, we thought he wur daft. He was allus ramblin’ off quite by hissen wi’out a coat to his back and wi’out a hat to his head, nor nowt.

“I remember as if it wur nobbut yisterdaay, my man, as was a fiddler bit of a fellow, was off to Hildreds theer at Skegnest, to play fur quality at a dance; and he was coomin hoam in the morning early, and be-dashed, who should he light on but Mr.Alfred, a raavin’ and taavin’ on the sand-hills in his shirt sleeves an’ all; and Mr. Alfred said, saays he, ‘Good morning’, says he; and my man says, ‘Thou poor fool, thou doesn’t know morning from night’, for you know, sir, i’them days we all thowt he was craazed. Well, well! An the Queen wants to maake him a lord, poor thing! Well, I niver did hear the likes of that for sarten sewerness”.

It was probably not at Gibraltar Point only that Tennyson was thought to be “craazed poor thing, i’them days”; nor did he as a boy only “taave and raave” about the sand-hills at Skegness.

Pp37 – 39 Rawnsley H D (1900) Memories of the Tennysons Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons