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Ferens Art Gallery to host Swinging the Lamp

A performance showing the drama of a life at sea is coming to Hull.

Swinging the Lamp, told in the words of a former fisherman, will be shown at Ferens Art Gallery on Saturday 9 March.

The show remembers the life of skipper Jim Williams and tells tales of Hull and Grimsby’s past fishing communities through storytelling, theatre and folk music.

Jim spent his whole working life on the sea. He worked on the country’s last surviving sole sidewinder, the Arctic Corsair, and fished the Arctic seas at the height of the fishing industry. He was at sea when Hull’s triple trawler tragedy happened in February 1968.

Writer and producer Gordon Meredith has been involved in the region’s fishing heritage for more than 30 years. He said he wanted to retell the dramas of life at sea for future generations and remember the bravery of the thousands of men who sacrificed their lives.

Gordon said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing this piece of theatre home to Hull. It tells the story of the work and of the everyday hardships that the men of the Humber ports faced on a daily basis.

“But it is essentially Hull’s story as seen through the eyes of one of the city’s best loved and most respected trawler men, Jim Williams. It was originally conceived and performed in Beverley but its heart is in Hull and that is where I have always wanted to stage it.

“The docks may have gone, the ships sail no more and many of the streets off Hessle Road have been emptied, but the fishing community is alive and well and not forgotten I want to keep those stories and those memories alive for future generations and it’s these kind of stories that make me proud to be from Hull.”

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration, Planning, Land and Property, said: “We are extremely fortunate to host Swinging the Lamp in Jim’s spiritual home. The city has so many strong routes to fishing and this play tells the story of what it was like to be a fisherman and dedicate their life to the sea.

“There are so many untold stories and the Hull: Yorkshire Maritime City project will bring so many of these memories to life and tell them to the world.”

The performance takes place on Saturday 9 March at 7pm, with two shows also taking place on Thursday 7 March on-board the Arctic Corsair. 

Tickets, priced at £9, are available here.


Alex Codd, Hull City Council’s new City Economic Development and Regeneration Manager.