Boats, Tobacco, Lace and Tea…
Josh Sims’ paintings, Sarah Nicol’s ceramic sceneries and Andy Irwin’s raku creations all beautifully depict something we often see passing by as we sit on our lovely beach in Milford; boats. Gliding across the Solent gracefully (or perhaps not so much when the weather’s having a bad day!), we are reminded of the many journeys which have been made along this historic bit of coastline.
Some of these journeys were a little more illicit than the leisurely trips of today. In fact, due to the rise in taxation during the 18th and 19th centuries, smuggling become a key part of the South Coast’s economy.
Although illegal, smuggling was prolific within all classes of society, from the rich who provided the funds for the goods, to the sailors who transported them, and the local people who collected and distributed the contraband. With its coves and beaches the South Coast provided the perfect landing sport for smugglers, and the dense forest canopy the perfect trails to pass through unnoticed. Can you guess what the most sought out items were? Tobacco, tea and lace!
Hurst Castle (seen on the lovely Mel West’s glass creations) was a stronghold for smugglers, despite it being a fortress of the crown; officers were often in on the trading, or would simply turn a blind eye! There were also at least three main smuggling routes (know as bunnies) from Christchurch to Milford.
So there you have it, a little bit of Milford history… now we’re off to enjoy the lovely sea whilst the sun is shining!