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Watchet maritime heritage project: stories of seafarers, smugglers and shantymen

Watchet's history has always been associated with the sea. From early days as a small port serving a Saxon burh to the present day as a marina and tourist destination, it has seen many changes, but the one constant has been its relationship with the sea.

Following on from the successes of the Wansborough project in 2017, Contains Art, in collaboration with the community and local partner organisations, are seeking to bring to life this complex heritage by exploring the weird, wonderful, folkloric, and esoteric tales of Watchet's maritime past.

The next two years will see an unearthing of lesser-known maritime stories of seafarers, vessels, and place, the findings of which will be performed by and for the community, bringing the stories alive through performance, dance, and music in a celebration in May 2022.

This Heritage Lottery funded project will also result in new permanent displays, held at the Boat Museum and new East Quay development, along with a booklet and a film.

How can I get involved?

Having identified around twenty stories as a starting point, we are now embarking on the research phases. We now need your help to unearth, pick apart and add meat to the bones of these stories.

PDF 20 Stories PDF

Perhaps you or someone you know can shed light on aspects of these histories, or hold photos, documents, or artefacts that might help us in our research? Or maybe you relish the idea of becoming an investigator, delving into records held at the Somerset Heritage Centre or The British Newspaper Archive, for example?

Look out for our community research events to be held either physically or digitally later this autumn for more ways to get involved.

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