Run by passionate volunteers, open 7 days a week and free to enter.
You may remember in my nautical themed review of Brighton seafood shacks that I mentioned the Brighton Fishing Museum (the place that used to have the bow and stern of a rowing boat as a doorway adornment). Well, I ventured in, tub of cockles in hand, and it was fantastic. I was expecting it to be an extremely naff and poorly equipped set up but was proven absolutely wrong.
It’s smack bang in Brighton’s Fishing Quarter next to the Brighton Fisherman’s Society and built into the wall. It looks archaic but very charming with a faded scarlet sign alerting you to the fact that this is indeed a museum for fishing and related memorabilia. Outside is a little stand selling an array of goodies where I bought my cockles tub. I also recommend the roll mops if you’re into that sort of thing.
It’s free to enter and well worth the half an hour spent gazing at the oddities, paintings and nautical maps on offer. I saw all manner of interesting paraphernalia, including old boat parts and fishing artefacts. There’s a pretty out dated but factual audio show of ye olde fishermen, detailing their trials and tribulations. I enjoyed the archive films and more contemporary film snippets. They gave you a real sense of the fishing community and the families. It was actually quite moving and I learnt that Brighton’s sea water was prescribed as a medicine in the 1700s. Oh how the remedy has become the cause.
I spoke to the attendant, whose name I ashamedly can’t recall, but he was wonderfully knowledgeable. He also told me that if you book an appointment beforehand you gain access to the 400 hundred year old family history archives and tomes. I haven’t done this but I imagine it is quite a sight, especially if you find your great great grandfather was an old sea dog or Captain of the Sussex Maid.
This is a charming and deceptively large museum that truly captures the essence of the community, seaside life and how Brighton grew into a resort after patronage from the Prince Regent. I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in Brighton’s history, and fishing of course.