lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

National Poetry Day, Lightship

One of the obvious places to film a person whose job is connected to light was at a lighthouse. I knew there wasn’t one of those around – but when I mentioned this on Facebook, amazingly, I was told by Dru Marland that there is a lightship in Bathurst Basin, Bristol Harbour.

An email or two or in fact quite a few later, I had learned quite a lot about the John Sebastian, the only wooden lightship left anywhere in the world.

It has quite an extraordinary story – built in 1885, and with no engine, she was towed out into the Bristol Channel and anchored to warn sailors about dangerous rocks – she saved many lives.

At the end of her life she was sold for scrap, valuables taken and then she was set alight, but though burning for days she did not burn out entirely – and was left to rot on the waves.

This was when the Cabot Cruising Club, in need of a new clubhouse, bought her, refurbished her, and have been looking after her ever since.

Her lamp has been relit.

I felt she deserved her own poem, and Dru Marland once again stepped in to the breach and wrote a wonderful poem about The English and Welsh Grounds Lightship , as she was known when she was at work.

Later, Dru also painted a picture of her, that we have used in the film.

Three members of the Cabot Cruising Club that look after her and meet in her today read the poem.

Thank you so much to Dru for writing the fabulous poem and for use of her wonderful painting, and to Jacqueline Corcoran, Stuart Lees and Sarah Allen, of the Cabot Cruising Club, who read so well.


The English and Welsh Grounds Lightship © Dru Marland

Painting © Dru Marland

Filmed on and by the John Sebastian, formerly the English and Welsh Grounds Lightship, at Bathurst Basin, Bristol Harbour

Facts about the John Sebastian © Jacqueline Corcoran

Film by Chew Valley Films


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