LOOKING BACK: How shrimp teas added to popularity of nobbies

One of the Morecambe Bay Nobbies.
One of the Morecambe Bay Nobbies.
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The west coast played host to rich fishing grounds and Morecambe Bay thrived in shrimps and shellfish.

The nobby, an inshore sailing boat, was used as the traditional fishing boat in the bay from 1840.

One of the Morecambe Bay Nobbies.

One of the Morecambe Bay Nobbies.

Nobby Owners Association said the popular Morecambe Bay Nobbies were used from the Solway Firth to as far south as Cardigan Bay; and were built over a period of nearly “ninety years with the last one commissioned in 1938.”

As the seaside holiday business expanded so did the use of the Nobby.

The Victorian passion for shrimp teas and the growing need for pleasure yachts or day sailing trips added to the Nobby’s popularity.

The Nobby Owners Association, formed in 1987, was set up to encourage the restoration of tradition Morecambe Bay Prawners, Lancashire Nobbies - traditional wooden fishing boats.

The Nobby enthusiasts restore the fishing vessels back to their former glory and are then sailed in the Annual Regatta on the River Mersey.

Over the last 20 years they have restored more than 20 nobbies.

Francis John Crossfield, former joiner and undertaker of Arnside, was an acknowledged developer of the Morecambe Bay Prawner.

According to the Nobby Story his men worked a 70 hour week at Crossfield’s, small boat craftsmen simply wielding a maul, plane and adze: “A 32 foot Nobby, for instance, could be built by four men in six weeks.”

As engines were introduced to the fishing industry it meant fewer new nobbies were built and most builders retired from the trade.

Thank you to David Hodgson for supplying us with the pictures and information.