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"Any more for the Skylark?"

Of the series of boats named the ‘Skylark’, the original pleasure boat was owned by the well known Brighton character Captain Fred Collins, born in 1832, he died in 1912.

Collins offered trips in his boat to visitors to Brighton and his famous cry ”Any more for the Skylark?” to attract passengers was echoed by pleasure trip skippers for a century afterwards, even entering the vocabulary of the nation.

Although trippers enjoyed their sail, it must have been quite a smelly one. Captain Fred Collins used to take the Skylark fishing in the morning, before swilling out the remains of the catch, rigging the boat with flags and bunting and hiring a band to attract passengers for his pleasure trips.


The Skylark 1930
From the private collection of Diane Ruff

Comments about this page

  • Looks like a Warship in the distance – wonder if this load of passengers were going to view it

    By Dennis Fielder (28/01/2014)
  • I  went to school with Maurice Leach and his older brother Denis in the fifties in Portslade. They said their dad ran two boats at Brighton one called Popgun and I can’t remember the other one. Anyone got a memory of it or indeed the Leach boys?

    By Den King (28/01/2014)
  • Rachel Leach had either the Sara Jane or Mary Jane, but I think he was Peter Leach’s father 

    By Ian Wallis (31/01/2014)
  • Maurice Leach has a small angling boat in Brighton. Marina and Denis now live around Worthing. Their father Tom who was a fish salesman in the old market on the seafront along with his brother Bob Leach, owned the “Popgun” and the “Fair Irene”. Horace Leach (Rachel) owned the “Mary Jane” fishing and pleasure boat. These 3 boats were built after WW2.

    By Alan Hayes (03/03/2014)
  • Lovely to see the old days of Brighton are still going. I have not seen Johnny Gillam for a while; evidently Peter does not work in the fish market much – still buy the fish there for my cafe.

    By Dawn Bradley (22/03/2014)
  • Thanks Alan, that solved a mystery for me. Glad the Leach boys are still going strong.

    By Den King (10/07/2014)
  • Hi Den King, I spoke with Alan some time ago and mentioned about you enquiring about the Leach boys, so I thought I put message out,hoping to make contact and see what you have to say?

    By Maurice Leach

    By Maurice Leach (20/02/2017)
  • I’m a descendant of Captain Fred Collins.

    By Dominic Steele (07/08/2018)
  • My great uncles were fishermen under the Palace Pier. They once brought in a shark which had seven babies inside. It was held in Brighton Museum for some years before getting sent to London as an exhibit in the Science Museum. Their mother sold the deck chairs on the seafront too. Their surname was Windsor and they lived in Elmore Road. Fred Windsor was also a policeman and his brother Tony, known locally as Jim, was a boxer on the pier and gave Sid James the actor his cauliflower ear. George Windsor went missing during the war and was thought to be dead however he returned about a year later. He’d been in hospital in Liverpool having his leg amputated due to shrapnel damage. Does anyone recall these events or my long gone family? I would love to see the paper cutting showing the shark and my grandad (Fred) on the sea front. I know they had one. My mum (Lena Windsor) had a copy but it has long gone since she died.

    By Brenda Bailey (22/08/2019)

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