Backing for new sculpture trail on Whitby's fishing industry - here are the 'formidable characters' to be depicted

Emma Stothard with one of her sculptures at this year's Great Yorkshire Show.
Emma Stothard with one of her sculptures at this year's Great Yorkshire Show.

Whitby’s heritage guardians have backed plans for a new history trail featuring seven wireframe statues telling the story of the town’s fishing industry.

Whitby-based sculptor Emma Stothard has partnered with Scarborough Council for the project which would see visitors use a companion app to scan QR codes at the seven sites to find out more about the works of art and their links to the town’s history.

Emma Stothards Fisherlassie.

Emma Stothards Fisherlassie.

A planning application was submitted to Scarborough Council earlier this year for permission to place the steel wireframe sculptures around Whitby.

As part of the consultation, Whitby Civic Society has now given the scheme its blessing.

Dr John Field, chairman of the society, told the council: “Whitby Civic Society supports the application, and believes that in attracting footfall to the West Cliff area the sculpture trail will contribute to the authority’s economic development policies.”

Under the plans a sculpture would be placed at each of the following locations: the west side of the Swing Bridge, the bottom of Flowergate, in front of Church House, the junction of John Street and Skinner Street, the Old Wishing Well, grass at Whitby Pavilion and the Khyber Pass Band Stand.

Mrs Stothard would create seven individual sculptures to tell the story of the fishing industry.

These will include a fisherwife, a man mending a net, a woman knitting a gansey, photographer and artist Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, a crow’s nest with a lookout, Dora Walker (the only woman to hold a skipper’s licence in the North Sea during World War One) and a herring lassie.

In her submission, Mrs Stothard states: “The sculpture trail and accompanying app is a wonderful opportunity for locals and visitors to the town to gain an insight into our local fishing heritage over the centuries.

“I have chosen some formidable characters that lived and worked in the town and on the sea.

“Their stories have had a lasting impact on our history from inventions to landing the day’s catch.”

Scarborough Council’s conservation officer has also backed the plans but has also sought assurances that the structures would be hard-wearing as to not lose their “aesthetic appearance” over time.

The plans remain out to consultation.