Tales from the Treasure House with collections officer Sam Bartle

Cobles are shown along the wall of Bridlington Harbour as people take a stroll along the pier.
Cobles are shown along the wall of Bridlington Harbour as people take a stroll along the pier.

The words ‘boats’ and ‘Bridlington’ go together like ‘fish’ and ‘chips’. As long as anyone can remember, there have been boats sailing in and out of the quay at the harbour – in fact that’s the whole reason why the town exists in the first place.

Evidence of Bridlington’s long boating heritage can be found in the East Riding Archives at the Treasure House in Beverley, where volumes record the registration of vessels out of Bridlington, dating all the way back to 1786.

Bridlington Harbour is packed with sailing cobles.

Bridlington Harbour is packed with sailing cobles.

This summer, from 13th-14th August, this long maritime heritage will be celebrated when the seaside resort of Bridlington plays host to a flotilla of traditional fishing cobles as they descend upon the harbour for the first ever Bridlington Sailing Coble Festival.

Visitors to Bridlington will have the unique opportunity to see this ancient form of boat gathered together in large numbers; something that is a rare sight to behold nowadays, but once upon a time, Bridlington and the East Yorkshire coast was teeming with these vessels.

The coble was once the mainstay of the fishing industry throughout the 19th century, and the harbour at Bridlington, like those of many other towns and villages up and down the east coast, was filled with cobles.

It was only when the motorisation of fishing boats grew in popularity after the First World War, that the coble began to see its decline.

Crowding onto the boats within the harbour.

Crowding onto the boats within the harbour.

The decline of the fishing industry itself also saw the virtual loss of this boat from the East Yorkshire shoreline.

Archivist Sam Bartle said: “The archives of the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club, also preserved at the Treasure House, add to the picture of Bridlington’s maritime heritage through early photographs of cobles, and historic images from other collections help portray the love affair that Bridlington has always had with the sea.”

Historical records about Bridlington’s sailing heritage can be searched by visiting the East Riding Archives at the Treasure House, Champney Road, Beverley.

Visit http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/leisure/archives-family-and-local-history/ for more information, or call (01482) 392790.