Home About Us Groups Talks Records Shop The Clevedonian Galleries Useful Links

Clevedon Civic Society

Clevedon’s Maritime Past can be order by writing to:

"Clevedon Civic Society Sales, 33 Tennyson Avenue, Clevedon, BS21 7UJ"

using our postal order form, enclosing a cheque made payable to Clevedon Civic Society.

NOTE: Please add the sum of £3.00 to your order to cover postage and packaging.

Registered Charity No: 263374  -  Founded in 1970

Return to the Shop

List of Contents

The Pill and Beyond

Pleasure Boats and Paddle Steamers

Masters of Clevedon Pier

Wrecks and Disasters

Vital Aids to Shipping

Clevedon’s Resident Seadogs

I Name This Ship - Clevedon

Including 195 illustrations on 118 pages

Clevedon’s Maritime Past

by Peter Gosson

Clevedon's past maritime history has been launched into the future with the arrival of a new book by local author Peter Gosson in collaboration with Clevedon Civic Society.

“With its 47 foot tidal range and rocky and pebbly beach, the idea that Clevedon would have had a maritime past, other than a few pleasure steamers visiting the Pier after its construction in 1839, doesn't spring easily to the mind”, admits Peter Gosson.

So I set out on a voyage through this book, called Clevedon's Maritime Past, to see what treasures I could find. There are seven chapters and a wealth of wonderful illustrations all dealing with a different aspect of the maritime history and fascinating incidents concerning this coastal town.

Author Peter Gosson is the ideal companion to have on the maritime literary journey of discovery.

“For as long as I can remember Clevedon has held for me a great maritime interest and researching this history has been a journey I started as soon as I was able to understand and remember events,” writes Peter .

In the past the three main landing places along Clevedon's mile long coast were the Pier, built to accommodate the day-trippers from over the sea, the slipway on the main beach where the amateur could launch his boat and Clevedon Pill down at the West end of the town.

Chapter One titled The Pill and Beyond is right up to date as Wains Hill has just revealed one of its long-lost secrets thanks to a good deal of hard work by The Friends of Poets Walk. The volunteers have cut back the undergrowth near the ancient battery site to expose one of the areas where Artillery Volunteers kept watch down the Bristol Channel during times of war. Excellent photographs show the remains of the two gun placements on the battery.

What happened to the two guns which were in place on the battery site?

According to the author “the two guns belonging to Clevedon Battery remained on Wain's Hill for many years, later being presented to the town and put on show at Dial Hill. Just prior to the second world war it was thought by members of the town council that these two guns would attract the attention of the German Luftwaffe and so they were removed for scrap.”

Diving deep again into this book so full of intriguing facts I was delighted to come across the section on the Mission to Seafarers previously known as the Mission to Seamen.

Peter Gosson writes: The Mission was founded by the Rev Dr John Ashley a young Anglican clergyman who was a visitor to Clevedon. One day he and his son were standing on Clevedon beach looking at the sunlight shining on Flat Holm when his son asked how did the people on the island get to church. Moved by the island's isolation the Rev Ashley gave up his secure living and devoted his life to serving the remote dwellers.

On a visit to the island his attention was drawn to a large fleet of ships that had become wind bound and anchored in Penarth Roads. His thoughts were then drawn to a floating ministry and the Missions to Seaman was born.”

The Rev Ashley became its first chaplain. Ill health forced him to retire in 1850. Peter writes that in fifteen years of ministry the Rev Ashley alone had visited 14,000 ships and sold over 5,000 prayer books and Bibles to their seamen.  To this day the last open sailing event held by the Clevedon Sailing Club each year is the John Ashley Trophy Race.

My final story in this delightful voyage of literary discovery concerns the Titanic disaster.

Peter Gosson explains: “During my research into Clevedon's maritime history I had often wondered whether there were any passengers or crew from Clevedon on board the Titanic when she sank in 1912. Newspaper reports started to appear around 2000 claiming that two passengers from Clevedon were involved in the tragedy.

Research then showed these reports to be true and that there was a female passenger who had survived and a male passenger who lost his life when the ship sank.”

To find out more you will have to buy the book Clevedon's Maritime Past and read all about it.

The book is dedicated to Rob Campbell former chairman of the Clevedon Civic Society and editor of many of the Society's books. He was in the process of contributing to this book when he sadly passed away aged 69.

Frances Hardcastle

Priced at £7.99

Cover Picure February.tif Wains Hill canon.tif 0103-eve-titanicfire-phillips-1223384-640x360.tif