Absolutely hooked! New exhibition celebrates 1,000 years of fishing industry

Selsey Fisheries

Chichester’s culture chief Roy Briscoe has spoken of his delight at the launch of a new exhibition celebrating more than 1,000 years of Selsey’s fishing industry.

The cabinet member for community services and culture at Chichester District Council says the exhibition, now housed at The Novium Museum in Chichester until March 2020, will help to share Selsey’s important fishing heritage.

Sea’s the Day: The Story of the Selsey Fishery tells the tales of the fishing folk who help generate a whopping £1.5 million for the local economy each year. It also showcases the vital role the Selsey Fishery plays, and brings into the spotlight the need to ensure the industry thrives in the future.

The exhibition, it is said, shows that the fishing community of Selsey gives the town its individual identity and provides a snapshot of the industry today and highlights how it has changed over time.

Visitors to the exhibition can watch a 10-minute film featuring interviews with the Selsey fishing community, and three audio stories about Selsey’s links to the sea told through the voices of fishermen and women, and their families.

Briscoe said:

“I’m delighted that the Sea’s the Day exhibition will help to share Selsey’s important fishing heritage with thousands of visitors to The Novium Museum, locals and tourists alike. The Selsey Fishery is the heart of the town and I hope that people will be inspired to support the fishermen and women to help make sure that this important industry continues to thrive. We’d like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support of this important project.”

The exhibition is part of a project developed in partnership between the Selsey Fishery, Selsey Town Council, Chichester District Council, and the Manhood Peninsula Partnership and benefitted from a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £35,800. This has also helped to support a series of activities to promote this industry and re-engage the town with its fishing heritage. These include a book with stories from the fishing community; a series of recipe cards with recipes from eateries and pubs in Selsey to encourage the use of locally caught produce; a unique film and an oral history record.

Selsey Town Council’s Chairman Andrew Brown says that the project is about safeguarding Selsey’s Fishing industry through its heritage. He added:

“The exhibition is one part of its legacy, an opportunity to promote the fishing industry so that together we can protect its sustainability. I hope it encourages Chichester residents and tourists to purchase locally sourced fish and seafood, either in restaurants or from the fishermen and women at East Beach, Selsey.”

Meanwhile, Meryn Woodland, a member of one of the oldest fishing families in the project, says it was a pleasure to be involved. She said:

“I was more than happy to help. My family has been part of the Selsey fishing community for a very long time and it was my absolute pleasure to be involved in the project. I feel it has shed light on the hard work and struggles it takes to bring the fish that we all eat to our tables.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a range of talks including a one on the Fishermen’s Mission by Nick O’Neil and a talk on Marine Archaeology by Alistair Byford-Bates, Historic Environmental Fisheries Liaison Officer.


Featured Image

– Stephanie Thorndyke, Manager of The Novium Museum

– Jane Cunningham, project officer at Chichester District Council

– Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council

– Councillor Andrew Brown, Chair of Selsey Town Council