A Coracle Race on the Severn at Ironbridge, Shropshire, from 'The Illustrated London News', 9th October 1881
The fishermen in these parts use a small thing called a coracle, in which one man being seated will row himself with incredible swiftness with one hand. Image: fromoldbooks.org
Early twentieth century glass lantern slide showing Coracle on River Severn, c1900. Shrewsbury Museums Service
A coracle on sale outside Harry Shaw, Naturalist and Fishing Tackle Manufacturer, Shrewsbury. Photo: Shropshire Archives
Coracles are one of the earliest forms of boat. It is remarkable that they were still being used in Ironbridge in the 1980s. They were a way of life since pre-historic days.
Harry Rogers, filmed for Pathé News in 1948.
British Pathé Ltd
"It is impossible not to believe that the people of Britain, having at their command the treasures of wide estuaries and deep rivers, were fishermen to a large extent. The Britons must always have been a people who were familiar with the waters. The Severn and the Wye have still their coracles—little boats so peculiar in their construction that we may readily conceive them to belong to a remote antiquity."
Gibson, the translator and best editor of Camden, described these boats upon the Severn.
“The fishermen in these parts use a small thing called a coracle, in which one man being seated will row himself with incredible swiftness with one hand, whilst with the other he manages his net, angle, or other fishing tackle. It is of a form almost oval, made of split sally-twigs interwoven (willow-twigs), round at the bottom, and on that part which is next [to] the water it is covered with a horse-hide. It is about five feet in length and three in breadth, and is so light that, coming off the water, they take them upon their backs and carry them home.”
Knight, Charles: “Old England: A Pictorial Museum” (1845). www.fromoldbooks.org
History of the coracle