Casting A Wide Net – The Story Of A Shipbuilding Giant Goes Online

Casting A Wide Net - The Story Of A Shipbuilding Giant Goes Online
Casting A Wide Net – The Story Of A Shipbuilding Giant Goes Online

The documentary film ‘Trawling Through Time: The Story Of Cook, Welton & Gemmell’ has made its online debut via the new website, Active East Riding.

Last summer it was previewed to a full house at ’s Parkway Cinema, then in November it was broadcast on That’s TV Humber, and published on DVD shortly afterwards. 

The programme was produced as part of East Riding Archives’ National Lottery Heritage Fund project of the same name and is designed to bring the story of Beverley’s impressive shipbuilding heritage to mainstream audiences.

It is a remarkable fact that the inland market town of Beverley was once a hub of maritime heavy industry, manufacturing fishing trawlers, tugs, minesweepers, and more, all from the Grovehill Shipyard, where the company of Cook, Welton & Gemmell had made its home since 1901.   After constructing such historic vessels as the ‘Arctic Corsair’, ‘Yorkshire Belle’, ‘Lord Heneage’, and ‘Viola’, the company would send them nine miles downriver to C D Holmes’ shipyard in Hull, where they would be fitted out. 

This partnership between the two companies continued until Cook, Welton & Gemmell’s eventual liquidation in 1963.  At one time its production was so prolific, it had been the largest trawler manufacturer in the world, chiefly serving the fishing ports of Hull and Grimsby, but also notably Aberdeen and Fleetwood. 

With little trace now remaining of this shipbuilding behemoth at the site of Grovehill itself, East Riding Archives was able to keep the company’s story alive with its ‘Trawling Through Time’ project, based on the cataloguing and digitisation work of the company’s shipbuilding plans by a team of volunteers.

With expert commentary by Dr Robb Robinson, the tv documentary (produced by Lia Nici) charts the progress of the project whilst giving a fascinating account of the company’s story and its huge contribution to the region’s fishing heritage.

Project co-ordinator, , said:

“The project was completed last year, but we still want to maintain its legacy, and right now is an ideal opportunity to make our programme available online;  COVID-19 means there are a lot of people at home who may remember this company, children being home-schooled who may benefit from learning about it, and others who just want to find out more about their region’s heritage.”

‘Trawling Through Time: The Story Of Cook, Welton & Gemmell’ is available on the Active East Riding website at

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