Fisherman Sculpture At Whitby West Pier

Fisharman Sculpture At Whitby West Pier

Fisharman Sculpture At Whitby West Pier

Scarborough and Whitby are highly honoured to be hosting two of the renowned artist, Ray Lonsdale’s giant sculptures for a month.

Ray Lonsdale, artist, fabricator and sculptor is loaning the towns two of his highly distinctive and thought provoking sculptures from 10 November until 10 December 2011.

Whitby’s West Pier will be the temporary home for ‘A High Tide in Short Wellies’, a steel giant of a tall fisherman measuring 12 feet high. Ray has used steel to imitate the textures of the fisherman’s clothing, from his woollen hat down to his huge Wellington boots. The fisherman also clasps a fishing rod which stands higher than the figure himself. His bearded face is made from the hand-cut steel plates and makes a powerful statement about the decline of the fishing industry which is summarised by a poem at the sculpture’s base:

‘A high tide in short wellies’

That’s it for me, I’ll see you later.

Gonna wrap this catch in protective paper,

Gonna face the sea with a thousand mile stare

And wish that I was floating there

In its summertime.

Down on the pier I saw a man with a board

It read ‘the end is near, accept your lord.

Then underneath this some fisherman wrote.

‘I can see the end from the back of my boat

‘This is wintertime.

Scarborough’s temporary visitor is another huge sculpture on the same scale as ‘A High Tide in Short Wellies’ and is named ‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers’ based on a retired miner Ray became friends with who turned out to also be one of the first soldiers to relieve the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of World War II. This piece of art is not just about Freddie Gilroy but represents all the normal people that were pulled out of an ordinary life and forced into a very extraordinary and dangerous one during the World Wars. This sculpture will be located close to the Oasis Café in the North Bay for a one month period.

Ray Lonsdale, sculptor from County Durham said:

“Whitby seems to be the ideal location for ‘A High Tide in Short Wellies’ as the piece is all about the decline in the fishing industry and Whitby is such a nice area which has kept its fishing traditions.

“Scarborough is another unique town and I am pleased that my‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers’ will be on show there for residents and visitors alike to look at and enjoy. This piece is almost a war memorial as it depicts the lives of all those who suffered during the World Wars.

“I hope that people get enjoyment from my sculptures but also reflect on the sensitivity and emotion which I have tried to convey through my work.”

These two pieces of art are for sale through ArtsBank at Saltburn by the Sea, telephone 01287 625300 or email

West Pier Fisherman Sculpture Pictures

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Is this the inspiration for the sculpture ? Whitby’s very own Big John

Big John At Whitby

19 Responses to "Fisherman Sculpture At Whitby West Pier"

  1. paul h  November 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I thought it was a sculpture of big john (he used to help the boats land in whitby ) when i saw it today .

  2. Susan smithson  November 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Fantastic….both of them…best things we’ve ever had in whitby and Scarborough…please can we keep them…

  3. rhajibuhga  November 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Is a Fisharman a cross between a Fisherman and a Farmer?

  4. Amy Denby  November 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    No offence to the artist, and it’s a great idea to share art in public like this, but I’m kind’ve relieved to hear that scary fisherman sculpture at Whitby pier isn’t permanent!

  5. Susan smithson  November 15, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Couldn’t we as a community raise the funds to buy 1 or both of these sculptures. Wouldn’t it be great for tourism in the area. Would that be feasible .

    • Lesley - a regular visitor to Whitby  November 27, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      The first time we saw the fisherman outside ArtsBank in Saltburn, our immediate thought was that Whitby would be the ideal place for him – he seemed so relevant to the towns heritage. Having seen him on the west pier we can’t imagine anywhere more appropriate for him.
      I see that a Scarborough resident, Jakki Wilby, launched a campaign to keep “Freddie Gilroy”. Generous donations have now secured that sculpture for Scarborough.
      Come on residents of Whitby, don’t let Scarborough win again. Start your own campaign or lobby Scarborough BC to fund the purchase.

  6. Julie Morrisrow  November 15, 2011 at 9:56 am

    To help tourism, you’d be better spending any spare cash on getting someone to ensure dog owners clean up after their pets; too many places in Whitby with piles of dog-mess left behind, even the beach, disgusting & not great for tourists! – or locals
    Not keen on the giant statue, it’s not attractive at all

  7. Mike Tindall  November 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    They REALLY arn’t ‘the best things we’ve ever had in Whitby & Scarborough’?!!

  8. Dave Heselton  November 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    If no one at Real Whitby minds I would like to promote the new Northeast Yorkshire Forum, which has specific message boards for Whitby, I am involved with this brand new idea and we are now looking for members.

    We would be more than happy to advertise and promote Real Whitby, infact we can provide links and even have a dedicated page for Real Whitby, it is easy to join and easy to use – we welcome suggestions and ideas.


  9. rhajibuhga  November 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    How much is it? This 3rd the third time I have asked, but it doesn’t seem to come up on the site, So once again ,How much???

  10. Beverley lonsdale  November 18, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    That piece is £48,000

  11. Mia Lindley  November 19, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Give spare cash to LOCAL CHARITY / CHILDREN IN NEED!!!

  12. Watchman  November 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Does big john get a cut out of this

  13. Carmen A Sturdy  November 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    The sculpture is excellent and worthy of a permanent place in Whitby. I’m not sure, however, whether it could or should be afforded at the moment.

    Its art, unlike that monstrosity of poor taste and nil artistic content on the Dock End (the men up the pole) which was originally one of three commissioned by Scarborough Borough Council for Scarborough but rejected by the sensible folk of that town as being high naff.

    It was later offered to Whitby and the nerds took it.

  14. Carmen A Sturdy  November 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Carrying on from my previous post, I don’t think the population of Whitby realised at the time that the men up a pole exhibit was a Scarborough reject.

    It may have some historical comment in relation to Scoresby but it is certainly not art, its a bit of historical comment designed to make a display and no more. What is doubly annoying is that it was purchased as a work of art at a cost way above the cost of production with a premium normally expected to be achieved because of artistic merit.

    What fools they were to buy it.

  15. rhajibuhga  November 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    How much was it?

  16. Carmen A Sturdy  November 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I’m not absolutely sure of the figure but it was very expensive. I think I remember correctly but I’m generally reluctant to state, as fact, precise figures when I’m not sure. Someone locally will remember correctly.

  17. Sarah Garside  November 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

    £48,000 would be MUCH BETTER invested in the local community! – YOUTH CLUBS, clubs for the ELDERLEY/ ISOLATED etc etc – Not a bl**dy oversize overpriced ugly ‘sculpture’!!

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whitby photography by glenn kilpatrick