Maritime history collated

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HISTORY is so often about dates and facts. What is often lost is the way people thought and how they felt.

Very few first-hand accounts of the lives of ordinary people exist. Yet they can be found hidden away in archives. A set of six booklets with first-hand accounts of the old maritime era has been put together by maritime enthusiast Colin Coupland.

Mr Coupland has painstakingly collated first-hand accounts from old books which are now out of copyright.

Together, they form a social history of Scarborough’s fishing and maritime industry.

Some stories have been shortened and summarised but care has been taken to preserve the words as they were written down. A particularly interesting story surrounds a ruthless pirate called Benito de Soto. Among his victims was the ship the Morning Star, owned by the Tindalls, a shipping family. De Soto was a firm believer in the phrase ‘dead men don’t talk’ yet his orders were not carried out by his crew. Some of the Morning Star’s crew lived to tell the tale and identified de Soto in Gibraltar. He ended up paying the price, dangling from a hangman’s rope.

The six booklets are entitled The Fishing Communities on the Scarborough Coast, When Scarborough Men Sailed the Oceans Blue, Shipwrecks on the Scarborough Coast, Wartime on the Scarborough Coast, Lifeboat Stories From the Scarborough Coast and The Darker Side of the Scarborough Coast.

They cost £1.50 each. The proceeds will go to the Maritime Heritage Centre at 36 Eastborough, where the booklets can be bought. They are also available in PDF format for free. Send an email to