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Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy - the Diapers of Itchen Ferry
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Early Days Itchen Ferry Village The Captain's Table At Sea Genealogy

Hichyn, a smaulle village on the est side: and hereof the trajectus is caullid Hichin-Ferry

 

c1540 John Leland, antiquarian

The museum contains a permanent display of the town’s maritime history and many of the artefacts have connections with the Diapers. Use this trail to take you around the museum, it will finish at the ‘Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy – The Diapers of Itchen Ferry’ exhibit.

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Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Itchen Fishermen

Extract of Dan Parker Jnr piece reprinted from Classic Boat no 60 June 1993 p16-23

The men who worked the boats! Now you are asking me to blow my horn. I am an Itchen Ferry Man, born in 1891 in a house on the quay. I started fishing about 1900 but was quite handy in a boat a year or two before that. My father and his two brothers were in the Kaiser’s Meteor at that time as Skipper, Sailing Master and Mate and like all Itchen men they were yacht racing men and there was none better. They raced hard, worked hard and drank hard and they even founght hard in those days as they were being driven from their homes by shipyard men that were coming from the north to Oswald Yard which is now Thornycrofts, but they lost the fight and retreated to the outlying districts. But apart from that there were those amongst them that enjoyed a life of another kind. The few that attended the Church regularly and I can say this for all of them, not one would move to go fishing before midnight on Sunday. They were clean, not always truthful about their catch and if one asked what their catch was, the answer would by ‘Not much’ or ‘Very poor’.

 

I bought my own boat, which was called White Squally in 1910, worked her winter time an yacht raced in the summer, being then in White Heather. In 1912-14 I was in Germany in one of Mr Nicholson’s 15-Metre boats named Paula III. Then came the Great War after which Itchen Ferry had changed from a pretty little fishing village to a dirty slum. Only one or two real natives remained there wishing to die there. The boats went one by one and today there is not a real fisherman left. There are people that call themselves Itchen men but can never lay claim to this as they bear names that have no connection with the place.

 

My father worked Vampire until he passed away, in fact he worked her single-handed until he was nearly 80 years of age and enjoyed his life to the full. His brother George did the same in Annasona which he worked in preference to Dragon.

 

Ben Candy, who married a Diaper, reckoned he was the last boy to be apprenticed to a sailboat to fish with nets of Itchen Ferry village in the local waters in the time honoured way. His father, a diehard fisherman would not tolerate an engine in a sailing craft. He and his brother went out five nights a week using wind and tide to make a living at fishing, while the combustion engine was gaining ground among the fishing fleet. They were out on Southampton water for seven or eight hours, hauling their net in and out about eight times for only a few fish or a modest catches. they considered themselves lucky if they got 20 or 30 lb if sole.

 

“Sometimes your gear could catch fast it was angled in something and you didn’t want many hauls like that. It is always heavy work with the nets and you can strain your back with a backbreaker. All the hauling is done by hand and half the time the net was torn into holes, you could only afford one net in those days so you had to mend and sew it afterwards”

 

They fished at night because “the best way to catch him is when he’s asleep” and set sail at the right time with the tide. The moon tide at low water nets a good harvest. Spring times are best locally because the water keeps moving and there is less of it.

Itchen Ferry Boats

BOAT OWNER NICKNAME

Maud Thomas Jurd Puffy

Rosale Robert Diaper Punchy

Haidee Frederick Diaper Fredricks

Lil William Candy

Eliza Ann George Candy Jargy

Seaflower, Onward Alfred Parker Ito

Flo Edward Parker Shaboo

Annie George Parker Titlo

Quiver Thomas Cooper Barny

Henry Henry Gibbons

Annasona Ben Parker Bennicks

Dragon George Parker Jack Savage

Vampire Dan Parker Buckeye

White Squall Dan Parker jnr Buckeye jnr

Eileen Alfred Diaper Sloper

Florence John Diaper Ben Nevis

Arrow Alfred Diaper Ole Chap

Edith Joseph Matthews

Wonder James Diaper Pily Ri

 

Other nicknames

Alfred Diaper – Yank

Tom Diaper Sr – Dutch

Tom Diaper Jnr – Yorkie

Walter Diaper – Mick

 

Bert Diaper – Biddy

Bert Diaper – Stump

Algerine

 

Algerine is a girls christian name and a very old and much loved Ferry name, in the late 1920s there were still young ladies at the Ferry with this name, around this time local lads with a talent for Boat building built a four oared galley and named it Algerine, this boat went on to gain for itself a fine reputation and with few equals on the water at local Regattas, she was still competing in 1935. Fishing.