Beyond The Silver Pit is a poem written by Adelle Stripe after researching her own personal heritage of fishermen from Hull and their journeys and tragedies off the coast of Iceland over 100 years ago. The stories of bravery of the men and the women left behind inspired Stripe to start writing a series of poems on the subject.
Einkofi Production is association with Curated Place commissioned Icelandic composer Halldór Smárason to write a musical piece to accompany the poem.
Beyond The Silver Pit, presented at Enlighten Festival in Manchester and SPECTRA Festival in Aberdeen, captured the final, fatal voyage of the artist’s great great great Grandfather, a fisherman from the Hessle Road area of Hull. On December 22nd 1894, he lost his life on Dogger Bank alongside 108 men from Hull as part of a fleet who were hauling for Christmas. The poem, read by local writer Russ Litten (who originates from Hessle Rd), was recorded in Kirk Ella in 2015 and can be listened to via this link: https://soundcloud.com/adellestripe/beyondthe-silver-pit
The new poem changes focus from the fishermen to the women in this community, who returned to the docks every day to wait for the boats to return and of their experience of losing their men at sea. The poem reveals the heartbreaking story of one fisherman’s wife and her three young sons. It also explores the experiences of local women who lost their husbands, sons and fathers at sea, how they waited for their return at a two-week vigil, and reveals the poor conditions many lived in supported by the often-meager fishermen’s wages.
This poem captures how a whole community of women joined together following this tragic event. It celebrates the culture of Hessle Road in the 19th century and draws on archival material, oral history and local traditions to create a portrait of Hull for contemporary audiences.
The poem transgresses the printed page to be presented as a musical performance composed by award-winning Icelandic composer Halldór Smárason and performed by a local orchestra.