Three Brothers

One of the great perks of receiving a commission like the Headworks project is the licence it grants to roam and discover a new borough, or a place that we sometimes overlook. Now after numerous visits I’m really beginning to have a true affection for Bridlington and its warm and friendly people, whilst being equally absorbed by its fascinating layers of history.

Originally named Bretlinton and Burlington before settling as Bridlington, the town’s shipbuilding records date back to 1401 and there’s evidence to suggest that a mediaeval harbour thrived as early as mid-16th Century. Obviously, not all the inhabitants eeked out their livelihoods from sea and boat-related activities, and Bridlington has other strings to it’s bow – but with the Headworks building sitting proudly on the promenade overlooking the wide-open North Sea, this maritime legacy is proving a significant draw. Despite the gradual demise of the town’s boat building industry Bridlington’s harbour still has plenty of magic, and watching from the port’s mezzanine it was mesmerising to see the harbour spring into action as the fishing boats returned to land their day’s catch. Chatting to fishermen’s wives and families gave a real sense that seafaring adventures are very much alive.

I also visited the Bridlington Maritime Museum and one of it’s leading lights, Mike Wilson, for a shortcut to memory lane. Hearing such enthusiasm for the town’s history and listening to stories about the heroics of lifeboat man Kit Brown was just the kind of introduction to Bridlington’s history I’d hoped for. However, it was Mike’s tour round  the harbour’s boat sheds for a look at his latest restoration project where the main spark of inspiration was ignited. The Three Brothers, an old sailing cobble built in 1912,  is possibly the only one of it’s kind still in the waters and sailing today. The timbers were being lovingly repaired or replaced, and it was the changing curves and lines of the hull that struck me as a real possibility for inclusion in my artwork ideas.

Here are a few other things that I discovered about the infamous seaside resort on the east coast:

* Lawrence of Arabia served his final days in the Navy stationed in Bridlington.

* In 1890, two Hawaiian Princes set a UK first when they braved the North Sea and went surfing in Bridlington!

* Princess Elizabeth’s first official engagement was to Bridlington, in 1944.

* Bridlington used to annually host The National Domino Championships ..until toppled by a scuffle breaking out –  in Britain’s only known case of ‘Domino Hooliganism’.

* The Spa isn’t just for lovers of Chuckle Brothers and Ken Dod – Morrisey and Bowie have both been lured by the town.