This Saturday marks 155 years since seven fishermen died in thick fog off the coast of Southport. 

This Saturday ( 27th January 2024) a service will be held to remember them, and all those who have lost their lives along our coast. 

The men are commemorated at the Marshside Fog Bell, which has been under a process of restoration led by Paul Sherman of NW Heritage. 

Paul Sherman said: “Today marks 155 years since seven Marshside shrimpers were drowned in the Ribble estuary after being caught in a thick fog. 

“Their loss shook the small fishing community of Marshside and led to the construction of the fog bell. 

“This Saturday 27th January there will be a short service by Rev Rebecca Clarke at the graves of the shrimpers to remember all those lost along our coast. 

“The fog bell building will be opened up to the public afterwards.

“The service will take place at 10am at St Cuthbert’s Church in, Churchtown. 

“The Fog Bell on Marshside Road will be  open until 2pm. 

“All are welcome.” 

The pain-staking work to conserve the fog bell site has been carried out over the past few months by Paul Sherman of NW Heritage, which has also installed the new fountains at the Botanic Gardens in Churchtown. 

He has managed to source some funding support from English Heritage to create a small heritage centre next to the building, which includes lots of fascinating old pictures, stories of life along the coast, and work carried out by local schoolchildren. 

Paul’s work on the main building has been funded through the generosity of public donations, with people invited to donate to his cause through the Marshside Fog Bell GoFundMe page

The new signage he has installed on the front of the fog bell bears the name of the seven local fishermen who lost their lives when heavy fog fell as they were out shrimping on 26th January 1869. The men became disoriented and couldn’t find their way back to the safety of the shore. 

The fog bell was built to ensure that a similar tragedy did not happen off the coast of Southport again. 

Peter Aughton (53), William Hesketh (39), John Rimmer (43), John Wright (18), Peter Wright (18), Robert Wright (41), Peter Wright (20) all perished. 

The shrimpers were buried at St Cuthbert’s Church in nearby Churchtown. 

As a result of the disaster, a wooden fog bell building was erected on the shore to prevent a similar catastrophe occurring. 

In 1896 a more substantial brick building for the fog bell was constructed on its present site. 

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