Berwick to feature on Countryfile

LS Lowry's links with Berwick will be shown to a primetime TV audience on Sunday evening on BBC1's Countryfile.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 9:36 am
Jim Walker
Jim Walker

Presenter John Craven will be seen taking to Northumberland’s roads in a vintage Volvo, much like the car used to ferry the artist LS Lowry around, on his visits many years ago.

Lowry loved Northumberland and this year marks the 40th anniversary of his death so John follows in the artist’s footsteps, accompanied by Simon Marshall, who used to drive Lowry to scenic spots for him to paint.

Together they meet the last of Berwick’s traditional fishermen, a subject often painted by Lowry.

And as the sun sets over the town, Simon reveals, for the first time since the artist’s death, two delicate tiny line drawings that the artist gave him last time they met.

Berwick historian Jim Walker, author of A Wake for the Salmon, is also interviewed for the programme.

“They particularly wanted to know about the salmon fishing industry and how it used to be,” said Jim, who has published several local photographic and history books.

He was actually interviewed in one of the old fishing shiels.

“We were down at the Gardo fishing shiel and saw the fishermen putting their boats in the water,” said Jim.

Although there is no longer any commercial salmon fishing in the Tweed at Berwick, a small degree of net fishing at Gardo has taken place over the past year as part of Berwick’s 900th anniversary celebrations under a short-term licence from Berwick Harbour Commissioners.

Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in Manchester in 1887 and moved to Salford in 1909.

His first recorded visit to Berwick was in 1936 and it is believed he continued to visit the town until his death in 1976.

Lowry, famed for his matchstick-men style, had a particular affection for Berwick and paintings of the town were included in his first one-man exhibition in London in 1939.

Often staying at the Castle Hotel, Lowry is believed to have once thought about buying a house on the Elizabethan walls. He drew and painted many works in Berwick, depicting the narrow streets and lanes that reflect the medieval layout of the town and also its Georgian buildings, including the town hall.

His popularity remains to this day as proved in 2014 when an exhibition of his work at the Granary Gallery at Dewar’s Lane attracted more than 15,000 visitors.

Countryfile is on BBC1 at 7pm on Sunday, April 10.