It was always there, of course – at any rate for the last 80 years, since the publication of 'We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea'. And it wasn’t exactly a secret – Pin Mill has long been a place of pilgrimage for Ransome fans. But ‘Arthur Ransome’s East Coast’ is now, as we say these days, ‘a thing’.
And an official thing, too. It all began last year when the local District Council, Babergh, set up a voluntary group of interested bodies as the Shotley Peninsula Tourism Action Group. The Nancy Blackett Trust was invited to join, and we contributed to its first project, an A4 tourism guide, with a two-page article.
Then Visit England launched its ‘2017 – Year of Literary Heroes’ initiative to celebrate authors’ anniversaries, including Arthur Ransome, with the 50th anniversary of his death, and the 80th of 'We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea'. The Shotley group has taken up the opportunity with enthusiasm. A whole range of Ransome-related initiatives – events and more permanent projects – are now in the pipeline (some still subject to grant applications), all under the new Arthur Ransome’s East Coast banner (and facebook site). Here are some of them. We hope to welcome OGA members to join us . . .
Pin Mill Arthur Ransome Jamboree, 13 May, all day
On the Green, a 30s-style fete, with a series of talks in the sailing club. Nancy will be there, at the end of a new pontoon extension providing deeper water mooring. Sophie Neville, Hugh Brogan, Ransome’s biographer, Julia Jones and your president are among the speakers lined up.
The Arthur Ransome Trail
A six-mile route along the banks of the River Orwell, from the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill to the Bristol Arms at Shotley, it follows the passage of the Goblin in Chapter IV of 'We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea'. Newly-designated and signposted, it is part of the Stour and Orwell path.
The Selina King build photos at The Pin Mill Studio
Arthur Ransome chronicled the building of his next boat at King’s of Pin Mill in a series of photos intended for a book. The NBT, with photographer Anthony Cullen, is planning a permanent exhibition at the studio, next door to the Butt and Oyster.
Shanties, Sails and Schools
There are nine schools – six primary, three secondary – on the peninsula. Shanties on the Shore is a large-scale project to involve all of them in creating sea shanties based on Ransome’s works, to be performed with an orchestra from the City of London Sinfonia. Script, Sketch and Sail will work with year 5/6 primary school children and a local artist. The NBT will be providing support for both projects.