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Titanic disaster and floating church feature in new book about Clevedon’s maritime history

PUBLISHED: 14:27 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:27 14 November 2017

RMS Titanic.

RMS Titanic.

Submitted

Clevedon’s maritime history will be explored in a new book, which also uncovers how two people from the town were involved in the sinking of the Titanic.

Cannons on Wains Hill in Pill. Picture: Ted Caple Cannons on Wains Hill in Pill. Picture: Ted Caple

Author Peter Gosson has worked with the Clevedon Civic Society to produce the book.

He said: “With its 47ft tidal range and rocky and pebbly beach, the idea 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.

“So I set out on a voyage through this book, called Clevedon’s Maritime Past, to see what treasures I could find.”

Mr Gosson’s research led him to look at the Titanic’s fateful voyage in 1912.

Ship-breaking in Pill. Ship-breaking in Pill.

He said: “Newspaper reports started to appear around 2000 claiming two passengers from Clevedon were involved in the tragedy.

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

The book also includes details about Wains Hill, in Pill, where volunteers from the Friends of Poets Walk have cut back the undergrowth to expose a battery site. People would have used the site to keep watch on the Bristol Channel during wartime.

Mr Gosson found the guns were removed prior to World War Two, as the town council thought they would attract attention from the German Luftwaffe. They were removed for scrap.

Other stories include the Mission To Seafarers, which was founded by the Reverend Dr John Ashley after he visited Clevedon.

He observed people living on Flat Holm and wondered how they could get to church.

He founded the idea of a floating church, and visited 14,000 ships. The last event held by Clevedon Sailing Club every year is dedicated to him.

Mr Gosson said: “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.”

Clevedon’s Maritime Past is available from www.clevedon-civic-society.org.uk

It is dedicated to Rob Campbell, the society’s former chairman, who was in the process of contributing to the book when he died aged 69.

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