Villages by the Sea – Port Carlisle

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.

3 thoughts on “Villages by the Sea – Port Carlisle

  1. Good Afternoon,
    I was sure when I saw the TV programme that Captain Peter John Irving of White Star Line was not a ship owner, but an employee. He was my great, great uncle. His nephew Edward Lawson Irving was my great grandfather who had two sons Ernest Kirkbank (also a White Star captain) and Peter John. Ernest had no children as far as I know and retired to run an inn at Ottery St Mary, Devon with his wife Millie. When he died in 1945 or 1946 she emigrated to New Zealand. Peter had four children (among them my father also Peter John born 1926) and died in 1947. I was born in 1952 and christened (guess what?) Peter John. The family home was the Bath House and I visited it in 1999. The Gough family bought it in about 1946 from Ernest after Great Grandad died. In 1999 the big cauldron was still in the kitchen. I didn’t know about the Hollies. I would be interested in your book!

  2. Sorry, slip of the keys – Brough was the name of the family who bought the Bath House. The owner in 1999 was Roger Brough.

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