BBC One’s Countryfile Features Southport this April

BBC One’s Countryfile Features Southport this April

On Sunday 13 April the BBC’s popular Countryfile programme is to feature Southport, its shrimping history and The Atkinson’s newly restored shrimping cart on its final trawl.

Matt Baker and the team filmed the piece on Friday 28 March in The Atkinson’s foyer, where the shrimping cart has been on display throughout the restoration period and on location with local Wheelwright Phill Gregson who has used traditional methods of wheelwrighting on the shrimping cart.

The shrimping cart has been in The Atkinson’s collection for many years but was brought to The Atkinson in February so that visitors could see and be part of the work taking place.

During the BBC Countryfile filming it was taken out with the BBC’s Matt Baker for one last fishing expedition along the Southport shore, before it is to be installed in The Atkinson’s new museum which opens in the autumn and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Phill Gregson, Master Wheelwright said:

“ The positive feedback from the public and media has been heart warming and has proven appreciation for these kind of projects, the added bonus of being aired on BBC Countryfile is just what is needed to spread the word and let people know these skills are still alive and well!

Puzzle the horse behaved admirably, the cart performed brilliantly and the whole experience was surreal and exciting, the only down side was running out of time in the tide and having to head back before completing a decent trawl, but at least we succeeded in getting the cart out there and having a go!”

Countryfile airs weekly on BBC One and reports on rural and environmental issues in the UK. It’s regularly the most watched factual programme on any channel with its 8 million viewers.

In the last 12 months, The Atkinson has managed to secure over £100,000 in grants for new projects plus almost £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the development of the new museum that opens later this year. The restoration and installation of the shrimping cart in the new museum is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Southport has always had a history of fishing, including the catching of shrimps, which has been carried out in Southport and nearby districts for centuries. References for it can be found as far back as 1113 to fishing in the Parish of North Meols. The fish caught included sole, plaice, crab, herring, cockles and of course shrimp. By the 1800‘s there was a fleet of 13 trawl boats, mostly made locally and known as ’Nobby’s’.

Horse-drawn carts or mechanical vehicles trawl nets behind boats, known as ‘shanking’. Another method, though less frequently used today, consists of pushing a net along the sea bed to catch the shrimps. This is known as ‘putting’.

With the gradual filling of the channels on this part of the coast, boat ‘shanking’ had to cease and cart ‘shanking’ became the method employed. Today you are more likely to see the fishing carried out by means of an amphibious vehicle.

The museum opening in October 2014 will complete The Atkinson’s visitor experience as it will tell the story of Southport and Sefton as well as the area’s dramatic maritime history. It will also be the new home for the Goodison Egyptology Collection, a remarkable collection of archaeology that has not seen for over 40 years.

More information on the new museum will be being added to the website over the next few months as well as in the local press.  For more information on local Wheelwright, Phill Gregson please visit the website

The Atkinson
Lord Street



In person: Visit the Southport Tourist Information Centre (located on Lord Street, Southport).

For tickets: visit the website* or call box office on 01704 53333


Notes to Editors

For more information, interviews, images or review tickets, please contact Emma Lloyd at The Atkinson on 0151 934 2129 |

About The Atkinson

The Atkinson is Southport’s beautiful new home for music, theatre, art, poetry, literature and history, right in the middle of Lord Street in Southport. Significant investment has been made in refurbishing the stunning 19th century buildings, to create a really welcoming multi art-form venue with a strong contemporary feel.

The Atkinson offers an exciting and varied destination for families, cultural tourists and arts enthusiasts alike, with a full day and night time offer. Wile the day away visiting the new shop, that sells gifts and contemporary crafts from regional makers and then relax in the Bakery, choosing from a selection of artisan bread sandwiches, cakes and sharing platters. You can even take little bit of The Atkinson home with you from the delicatessen. Wonder through the major exhibitions and see performances from some of the UK’s foremost musicians, actors, performers and companies, films, family activities and much more.

In October 2014 The Atkinson becomes something even more exciting for visitors, with the opening of the museum which will tell the story of Southport and Sefton as well as the area’s dramatic maritime history. It will also be the new home for the Goodison Egyptology Collection, a remarkable collection of archaeology that has not seen for over 40 years.

Posted on 1 April 2014 under General news

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