An exhibition is being held in Arnside, Cumbria 14 - 15 July, 2018 to celebrate the village’s maritime and boat building heritage.
From 1850 to 1950, Arnside was a leading boat building centre. The Crossfields of Arnside built yachts and fishing boats. They were the leading builders of Morecambe Bay Prawners or Lancashire Nobbies, which were fast sailing boats designed to catch prawns, shrimp and flounder. The boats featured in the BBC’s Britain Afloat programme last year. Lancashire Nobbies are raced annually on the Mersey at Liverpool.
Crossfield boats which are still in existence include 'Bonita' (1888), which took part in the OGA Round Britain Race in 2013, 'Ziska' (1903) which is on the west coast of America having been sailed across the Atlantic and 'Molly' (1914) which is in the Mediterranean. 25 Crossfield boats are listed on the OGA Boat Register, browse the list here.
Arthur Ransome’s 'Swallow' was built by Crossfields and was kept in the estuary at Arnside in the late 1930s by a local teenager. In 1900 there were two Crossfield boatyards operating in the village: Beach Walk on the shore run by William Crossfield and the Top Shop on Church Hill operated by John, his younger brother, who later moved to Conwy.
With the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, Arnside Sailing Club has bought 'Severn', built in the village in 1912. She is one of ten Mersey Rivers Class yachts built by Crossfields for the Royal Mersey Yacht Club just before the start of the First World War. Owners of Rivers Class yachts included three Olympic medallists from 1908 Olympic Games, Liverpool shipowners and the 17th Earl of Derby who was Commodore of the Royal Mersey Yacht Club, Secretary of State for War 1916-18 and a leading racehorse owner.
'Deva', another Rivers Class yacht, was owned by the late Jon Wainwright and features in his book “Only So Many Tides”.