Port Carlisle features in the new series of BBC2 series Villages by the Sea.
The researchers approached me about it some time ago. But while I was happy for them to use my book on Port Carlisle in any way they wished, I’ve always hated being ‘on camera’ (from days as a print reporter, keeping out of the way of the TV news cameras while out on ‘jobs’).
I did suggest some people they might talk to. And noticed a few lines spoken by presenter Ben Robinson that were very close indeed to a paragraph in my book! (Sales of which are well into three figures, she added, modestly!).
I thought the programme was good – thought it did perhaps take too long at the start kind of building up suspense as to ‘why was this village built?’ before getting to the answer: the canal. But it was better than Channel 4’s Britain at Low Tide, (which I also declined an invitation to appear in!), which had to cram several topics into the episode.
The wrong Captain Irving!
However, I was almost shouting ‘no!’ at the screen when they talked about Peter Irving, the ship owner.
For the picture they showed in Villages by the Sea was in fact of his son, Peter John Irving (the White Star Line captain), who wasn’t born until 1848.
If anyone has a picture of Peter Irving (1804-1869), do please get in touch, via the Contacts page.
The Irvings’ house
In Villages by the Sea, the present owner of Peter Irving’s house very kindly welcomes the presenter inside. It’s a large and airy house, in the Georgian style of most of the village (for of course, the village rose from nothing), with bells for the servants.
It was great to be able to imagine Peter Irving and his wife Jane (née Simpson) living there. Jane bore 12 children, but endured a terrible run from 1840-1846, when five of them died as babies. ‘Number 10’ died in 1854 aged seven, and; their second daughter died of injuries in a horrible accident, also in 1854, aged 20.
In fact, Captain Peter John Irving (1848-1903) was one of just two of her children who outlived her.
There are chapters on Peter Irving, and on Peter John Irving, in my book. And a post on Peter and Jane’s coat of arms here.