The Diaper Heritage Association
Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy - the Diapers of Itchen Ferry
News Newsletter
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Past Events

To coincide with the exhibition Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy a programme of walks, talks and theatrical performances were staged, summaries of talks, performance scripts and walk routes are shown below.

Meet the Ancestors

Free guided walk around Southampton Old Cemetery


Meeting at the main gates to the Cemetery in Cemetery Rd adjacent to Southampton Common. Walk lasts approximately one and half hours. If you have any particular family graves of which the location is known, or you would like the location to be found and included in the walk please email Gillie Blake on by 25th February. To reserve your place on the walk tel 023 80 715105.

The Reverend Davies Historical Pageant

Peartree Church, Pear Tree Green, Southampton


An historical romp through five hundred years of Itchen Ferry village history, in aid of the Church restoration fund. Displays, talks, walks, film, storytelling throughout the day.


Click here to view the full programme


'The Search for John Diaper'

Click here for the script of 'The Ship Titanic'

Click here for 'The Search of John Diaper'

Click here for programme

Diaper Family Day & Conference

Click here for 'Review of the Year'

The Diapers in Southampton

Click here for the walk route

'The Sad Tale of Richard Parker'

When seventeen year old Richard Parker left his home in Itchen Ferry to take up a job as cabin boy on the yacht Mignonette he did not know it would be a fatal voyage that would end in a landmark court case: The Crown.v. Dudley & Stephens. The tragedy of Richard Parker's short life and the effects of shipwreck and cannibalism on his crew mates, his family and English law are explored in the specially written play which was premièred by the Sarah Siddons Fan Club in September 2006.


Click here to view the play poster

Click here to view the script

'Sea of Souls'

A Halloween ghost walk with a watery theme and ghosts from Southampton's Maritime Past shivered the timbers in October 2005.


Summary of the plot and photograph of the performance coming soon.

'Ferry Cross the Itchen'

Traditional Itchen Ferry songs from local folk duo Brian Hooper and Jeff Henry, plus readings of original material from members of the Sarah Siddons Fan Club. Two new songs composed as part of the project, 'The Click ma Doodle' and 'The Ballad of Richard Parker' have now joined the folk cannon. The Click ma Doodle was a fragment of an original song, re-imagined by Brian and Jeff and completed with references to many Ferry folk and their unusual nick names.


Click here for copies of the readings

Click here for the words to Poll of Itchen Ferry

Click here to read the Click ma Doodle song

Click here to read The Ballad of Richard Parker

Click here to read The Itchen Ferry Song


For CD versions contact Brian Hooper on 023 80 340749 or email here

Making Sail

Dramatised readings from original journals, oral history recollections, news paper reports and other primary source material.


Click here for script

Boating with the Grocer

In the 1920s and 30s the yachting rivalry between America and Britain was at its height and and one man epitomised the gentleman sailor: Sir Thomas Lipton, millionaire tea baron and devoted yachtsman. The talk was delivered by Rosemary Joy maritime historian who writes: “The first of two illustrated talks I did for the Diaper Heritage Association was on the life of The Grocer, Sir Thomas Lipton – the modest but extraordinary man who, working his way from the back streets of Glasgow to be a multi-millionaire, was knighted by Queen Victoria, took up yacht racing at the age of 50, employing several members of the Diaper family, challenged 5 times for the America’s Cup, becoming the darling of the American press and public”.


Rosemary Joy is available to do talks for groups and associations and be contacted via email here

Meet the Ancestors

Local guide Geoff Watts led a tour around Pear Tree Church and its cemetery, revealing the stories behind the gravestones and memorials. For the walk route click here

The Big Class – J Class Racing in the Thirties

Maritime historian Rosemary Joy returned to give an exciting talk about the Americas cup. She writes “The second talk was a commentary on some unique film, taking in the 1930’s, of racing on board the Big Class – those sailing giants, the immense J-Class yachts, Shamrock, Velsheda and Endeavour with Astra, the schooner Westward and King George V’s Britannia”.


Rosemary Joy is available to do talks for groups and associations and can be contacted by email here

What a Picture – the life of the photographer Alfred West

David Clover told the story of his talented grandfather, Alfred West, pioneer photographer and film maker who took many of the stunning black and white images of early yachting. Many of his original plates are held by Beken of Cowes and are still available. Click here for more information on Alfred West.


Click here for a leaflet on Alfred West

Disasters, Diseases and Diapers in Itchen Ferry

Local historian Mary South told tales of the gloomier side of life on the river Itchen: small pox, drownings, cannibalism, bombing and slavery were just a few of the disasters and diseases to beset the folk of Itchen Ferry.


Other events included Educational visits by local primary school children to the museum where they got to interview members of the Diaper family, a special maritime themed civic service at Pear Tree church in the presence of the mayor of Southampton, an introduction to the conservation of maritime artefacts given by Rachel Wragg, curator of the Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy exhibition and a family history event at the Southampton archives office.


A full evaluation report on the exhibition and events will be available later in the year.

'Making Sail'

Read the script from the dramatised readings 'Making Sail'.