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Lowestoft's colourful fisherboys inspire exhibition plans

PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:37 06 July 2010

The Lowestoft 'Fisherboys' gather outside Lawrence Green, Lowestoft.

The Lowestoft 'Fisherboys' gather outside Lawrence Green, Lowestoft.

Hayley Mace

The brightly-coloured suits worn by Lowestoft's fishermen in the 1960s may seem garish to modern tastes, but now an artist is hoping to use their flamboyant style as inspiration for a new exhibition.

The brightly-coloured suits worn by Lowestoft's fishermen in the 1960s may seem garish to modern tastes, but now an artist is hoping to use their flamboyant style as inspiration for a new exhibition.

Fisherman Bryan Scott was the first to wear a bright suit around Lowestoft in the early 1960s and his style soon caught on among the port's young seagoing men.

At the height of the fashion, hundreds of men were spending their hard-earned cash on the suits, which came in every colour, pattern and design, and wearing them out in the town.

Artist Peter Wylie, who grew up in a Lowestoft fishing family and now lives in London, has been researching the trend for some time and is now applying for a grant from Arts Council England for an exhibition called Dockside Dandies of Lowestoft.

Mr Wylie has been interviewing former fishermen, collecting photographs and trawling through archives to find out more about the men and their style, and is now hoping to secure funding so he can create an exhibition to be shown in the town.

He said: “It's something which is totally unique to Lowestoft and the suits were only really worn for a couple of years, but I've had emails and calls from fishermen in ports all around the country who remember them.

“The young men were earning a lot of money at the time from fishing out of Lowestoft and this was their way of showing the town who they were and what they did for a living.”

Earlier this year, Mr Wylie joined some of the town's former fishermen to mark the closure of the Lawrence Green tailor's shop in the High Street, where many of the suits were made.

Although the suits, which cost about £9 in 1962, were the very height of fashion among the port's fishermen, they only wore them for about three years before trends changed.

Mr Wylie is also keen to hear form anyone who has any photographs or even video footage of the fisherboys wearing their suits.

He said: “I'm sure there must be people with photographs hidden away in drawers. There are probably even people who visited Lowestoft in the summer and took photographs without realising it was something of interest.

“There were not many people with colour cameras then, so if anyone has coloured photographs of the suits, I would be really keen to see them.”

Anyone who has any information or images can share them with Peter Wylie on 07962 163222 or by emailing eastofwylie@yahoo.com.


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