Decision to be made on plans for sculpture trail telling story of fishing in Whitby

An ambitious plan for a new history trail featuring seven wireframe statues telling the story of Whitby’s fishing industry is set to become a reality.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 10:19 am
Updated Friday, 1st November 2019, 10:20 am
Emma Stothard with a sculpture in Staithes. Picture by Richard Ponter

Local sculptor Emma Stothard has partnered with Scarborough Council for the project which would see visitors use a companion app to scan QR codes at the seven sites to find out more about the works of art and their links to the town’s history.

A planning application was submitted to Scarborough Council earlier this year for permission to place the steel wireframe sculptures around Whitby.

Scarborough Council’s planning committee will meet on Thursday next week to decide on the scheme with the authority’s officers recommending approval.

Emma Stothard sculpture. Photo from the planning application.

Under the plans a sculpture would be placed at each of the following locations: the west side of the Swing Bridge, the bottom of Flowergate, in front of Church House, the junction of John Street and Skinner Street, the Old Wishing Well, grass at Whitby Pavilion and the Khyber Pass Band Stand.

Mrs Stothard would create seven individual sculptures to tell the story of the fishing industry.

These will include a fisherwife, a man mending a net, a woman knitting a gansey, photographer and artist Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, a crow’s nest with a lookout, Dora Walker (the only woman to hold a skipper’s licence in the North Sea during World War One) and a herring lassie.

In her submission, Mrs Stothard states: “The sculpture trail and accompanying app is a wonderful opportunity for locals and visitors to the town to gain an insight into our local fishing heritage over the centuries.

“I have chosen some formidable characters that lived and worked in the town and on the sea.

“Their stories have had a lasting impact on our history from inventions to landing the day’s catch.”

The report prepared for the planning committee notes that it is hoped that the trail will lead to more people discovering forgotten areas of Whitby.

It adds: “The project has emerged from Whitby Coastal Communities Team and is being led by the council in an effort to increase visitor footfall up onto parts of West Cliff.

“The creation of a trail that would guide people through seven locations and in turn navigate to less-visited parts of the town.

“A fishing heritage theme was chosen as an opportunity to celebrate the town’s history. The project has been awarded a £50,000 grant from the Coastal Revival Fund to help bring the project to fruition along with a community-led steering group consisting of local residents, town and borough councillors and the council’s Regeneration Team.”