Friday, 8 June 2012

Staycations: The National Fishing Heritage Centre

When people are asked about Grimsby, I'd say that 99.9% of the time, they think of fish - even, when on a family holiday in Tenerife aged 16, a waiter said "Ah, fish!' when we said where we were from! Sometimes, it does get a little boring but, at the same time, the town's past successes and rich maritime heritage is definitely something of which to be proud - hello Europe's Food Town!

It is safe to say too that this trade has had an impact on most Grimsby people; personally, my Grandad worked on a fishing boat but I do not know many details as he unfortunately died before I was born. I did however come across a few of my dad's old photos the other week which gave a very quick glimpse into a fisherman's life. 

Last Sunday, just as we were getting ready to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, it decided to chuck it down with rain, so Daniel, his family and I decided to take the kids to one of Grimsby's indoor attractions, the National Fishing Heritage Centre.

You begin by picking your job and 'sign on'; I was the ship's cook, working from 5am to 2pm, then 3.30pm to 9pm and earned around six shillings!

Then there are some exhibits which must be fairly recent (as I can't remember seeing them as a child!) This year, Immingham Docks (Grimsby's sister port) is celebrating its centenary, so there is plenty of information from the last 100 years to take in, as well as lots of things to look at which date back to medieval times.

The uniforms given to POW in France; the origins of 'Scantily Clad' - who knew?!

... to the second part of the museum - oh, it was just like I remembered as a kid! As soon as you leave the first exhibits and walk through the door, something hits you; the smell! I wouldn't say the stench is particularly 'fishy', and obviously it isn't as strong as it would have been on the boats, but the aroma of the air does change to resemble what could have been way back when - it is actually quite clever.

And there are lots of very cool vintage posters and advertisements hanging around...

I took a break from being the cook to have a go at wireless operating.

And I got a little bit cold when experiencing the frozen waters...

But it's ok, because then we went down to the...

In this exhibit, the floor moves; you feel like you are on the boat!

This would be me!

Fish and chips anyone?

Look who found a new friend!

The final part included an example of a 40s/50s street, complete with vintage clothing and toy shops, and a pub!

Well, I say final; there is one last opportunity for guests to experience... the Ross Tiger. A boat docked in the River Freshney which you can tour with the assistance of the museum staff. Unfortunately, we ran out of time but I have been on this plenty of times before; it is free of charge so is worth a visit while you are there.

For more information about the National Fishing Heritage Centre, visit their website, and make sure you have a look around the Gift Shop; they have some adorable nautical themed home accessories!


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