CHOIR: Still searching for family stories
Thank you for publishing my letter requesting information about the Lisle Fisher Choir, which once sang regularly at the Fishermen's Methodist Mission.
The photograph used was the choir who performed their service of song Wave Treachery for the last time in September 1965. All members pictured have now been identified, in some cases personally, or by their living children or grandchildren.
Thanks also to those people who either met me in person or phoned me with news of their own families who had taken part, or who proffered further information of which I was unaware.
It is very rewarding when researching to ally historical newspaper stories with living people, thus making history live.
I am still looking for details of the music the choir once performed, mostly from Ira D Sankey’s 1,200-strong hymnal, each item at the whim of the preacher for the day. However, it would be best to identify hymns specifically from Wave Treachery itself. This performance was a themed service, commemorating the personal tragedy of choir leader John Lisle whose own father, along with six crew mates, perished when attempting to pilot a craft to the Tyne in February 1848.
This performance encompassed readings and lantern slides, and was enormously popular in the region from around 1902 onwards, alongside another called A Night on the Deep, which was premiered in 1886.
There is still much work to be done, but a fuller picture is now being drawn. If you have any stories, however small, concerning relatives, the Fisher Mission itself, the choir, or its music, I’d be glad to hear them.
I can be contacted at Cullercoats Community Centre on Monday afternoons, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm, or at home on (0191) 435 9747.