Series 7 - 3. The Hidden History of Harbours

The Hidden History of Harbours
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Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

Hands up anyone else who has the happiest childhood memories of the brilliantly low-tech, wonderfully naff toy naval battles on the boating lake of Peasholm Park in Scarborough. They are still going, and still enthralling audiences with smoke-effects and strafing noises. Nick Crane is beside himself, particularly when he learns that the boats are powered by doughty Scarborough Borough Council staff members, who climb into the wooden vessels then walk across the pond. I told you it was low-tech.

It’s a curious if enchanting interlude in an episode that’s notionally
about the history of harbours.As Scarborough has a harbour,it qualifies. Oddly there’s no mention of Whitby, just up the coast. Now THAT’S a harbour.

About this programme

3/6. In an edition devoted to Britain's harbours, Nicholas Crane visits Newlyn, Cornwall, where in 1854, a fishing boat set sail on the 12,000-mile journey to Melbourne, Australia. Dick Strawbridge explores the building of airships in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in the early 1900s, while Tessa Dunlop travels to Portsmouth to investigate the history of body art. Ruth Goodman hears how Birkenhead's harbour led to the opening of the world's first municipal park and there is a look at naval warfare re-enactments by Scarborough council staff.

Cast and crew


Nicholas Crane
Tessa Dunlop
Ruth Goodman
Mark Horton
Dick Strawbridge


Executive Producer
William Lyons
Series Editor
Steve Evanson