Casting A Wide Net

‘Trawling Through Time: The Story Of Cook, Welton and Gemmell, Shipbuilders’ tv documentary goes online!

Last summer it was previewed to a full-house at Beverley’s Parkway Cinema, then in November it was broadcast on That’s TV Humber, and published on DVD shortly afterwards.  Now, ‘Trawling Through Time: The Story Of Cook, Welton & Gemmell’ documentary makes its online debut via YouTube.

The programme was produced as part of East Riding Archives’ National Lottery Heritage Fund project of the same name, and is designed to bring the story of Beverley’s impressive shipbuilding heritage to mainstream audiences.

It is a remarkable fact that the inland market town of Beverley was once a hub of maritime heavy industry, manufacturing fishing trawlers, tugs, minesweepers, and more, all from the Grovehill Shipyard, where the company of Cook, Welton & Gemmell had made its home since 1901.   After constructing such historic vessels as the ‘Arctic Corsair’, ‘Yorkshire Belle’, ‘Lord Heneage’, and ‘Viola’, the company would send them 9 miles downriver to C D Holmes’ shipyard in Hull, where they would be fitted out.

The Grovehill Shipyard, Beverley in 1961

This partnership between the two companies continued until Cook, Welton & Gemmell’s eventual liquidation in 1963.  At one time its production was so prolific it had been the largest trawler manufacturer in the world, chiefly serving the fishing ports of Hull and Grimsby, but also notably Aberdeen and Fleetwood.

With little trace now remaining of this shipbuilding behemoth at the site of Grovehill itself, East Riding Archives was able to keep the company’s story alive with the ‘Trawling Through Time’ project, based on the cataloguing & digitisation work of the company’s shipbuilding plans by an outstanding team of volunteers.

Vanished. Almost without trace – Grovehill today

With expert commentary by Dr Robb Robinson, the tv documentary (produced by Lia Nici) charts the progress of the project whilst giving a fascinating account of the company’s story and its monumental contribution to the region’s fishing heritage.

Broadside On launch of the ‘Boston Weelsby’ (1961)

The project completed last year, but we still want to maintain its legacy, and right now is an ideal opportunity to make our programme available online; there are a lot of people at home who may remember this company, children still being home-schooled who may benefit from learning about it, and others who just want to find out more about their region’s heritage.

‘Trawling Through Time: The Story Of Cook, Welton & Gemmell’ is available on the East Riding Libraries, Museums & Archives YouTube channel.

Watch ‘Trawling Through Time: the Story Of Cook, Welton & Gemmell, Shipbuilders’

You can find out more about the project at

By Sam Bartle

Digital Archivist/Editor

Twitter: @bartle_sam

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