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24 September 2014

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Southport to Whitehaven including the Isle of Man

Map showing Southort to Whitehaven
This stretch of coast is not just the playground of the industrial north. World events have reached here, and it has seen innovations that have impacted on every part of the globe, making it a truly international coast.

Aerial picture of the beach at SouthportSouthport Beach - Aviation
The sand at Southport is flat and compact - which makes it ideal for use as an airstrip.

Five years after the Wright Brothers, Claude Graham White landed a Farman biplane near the pier at Southport in 1910.

At this time there were only fifteen qualified A de Havilland 'Fox Moth' used for pleasure flights in the 50'spilots in the country - and five of those were flying on this coast.

Neil Oliver meets former pilot John Mulliner to find out about these pioneer aviators.

He joins local enthusiast Nigel Reid and steps back in time, taking a flight in a de Havilland 'Fox Moth' - used for pleasure flights in the 50's.

Formby Sands - Changing Coastline
Aerial picture of Formby SandsFormby Sands has one of the most dynamic dune systems in England - whole features have been wiped off the map here.

Its dramatic erosion is a combination of soft sand and a high tidal range.

But how does the Ordnance Survey capture the changing line of this eroding coastline?
One of the fleet of airplanes which carries out aerial surveys
They update their map base by carrying out aerial surveys from their base in Blackpool using a high resolution camera.

Hermione Cockburn meets coastal engineer Paul Wisse and is brought to the location of a 1958 café now half a kilometre out to sea.

Morecambe - The Midland Hotel
Aerial picture of the Midland HotelIn the early 20th Century Morecambe was a key holiday destination.

In its hey day the internationally reclaimed Midland Hotel was an art deco masterpiece, and icon of the town.

Built in 1933 it was an international destination for the sophisticated holidaymaker.

One of the hotel's original features created by Eric GillNeil Oliver meets up with Harry Adams who reminisces about when he worked at the hotel as a porter in the 30's.

In 2003 the hotel was bought by developers. Site Manager Kieran Gardiner shows Neil around the development.

Many of the hotel's original features created by Eric Gill are being restored and it is due to be reopened in 2008.

Isle of Man
The Isle of Man flagOnce ruled for 200 years by the Vikings, it has one of the oldest parliaments in the world - The Tynwald in 979. The Isle of Man is independent of the UK and the EU - but who are the Manx people and what does the ancient Norse symbol on their flag mean?

Neil Oliver meets up with local fisherman, 'Butch' Buttery, who gives him a cookery lesson with a local delicacy, Queenies.

World War Two Internment Camps
Map showing the location of some of the internment campsIn 1940, 150,000 foreign nationals were rounded up and brought to the Isle of Man for internment.

Hotels and guesthouses were requisitioned with women and children's camps being in Port Erin and Port St Mary.

Men's camps were in Douglas, Ramsey, Peel and Onchan.

Alice Roberts meets up with Yvonne Cresswell who has researched the internment camps history, and written a book about them called 'Living With the Wire'.

Rosemary Wood with her mother and sisterIn the Hutchinson camp in Douglas, there were so many German and Austrian academics it became known as Camp University.

As a child, Rosemary Wood came here from London with her Austrian mother and sister - they had an hour to pack up and leave. She talks to Alice about her time in the camp when the Eagle Hotel became her home for part of her time here, until she returned to London in 1942.

Isle of Man - Film location
Film extra Charlie Henry taking part in the filming of an advertTax breaks and gorgeous scenery have attracted many film companies to use the Isle of Man as a location. Over 80 films and TV dramas have filmed here in the last decade; Keeping Mum, Waking Nedd and Churchill The Hollywood Years.

Ferry Duty Manager and film extra, Charlie Henry, talks about some of the forty productions that he has been filmed in.

Basking sharks
Aerial picture of a basking shark of the coast of the Isle of ManBetween June and July basking sharks can be seen around the coast of the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man is bathed in warm water carried by the Gulf Stream.

As the summer warms the water, plankton is created which the sharks eat.

The basking shark underwaterThey feed by filtering minute organisms that make up plankton from the water - with the sticky mucus on their gills trapping the food.

The basking sharks are so popular here that there is a Manx Basking Shark Watch and a regular update on local radio.

Miranda meets shark enthusiast John Galpin and joins Marine Biologist Jackie Hall, to get close to the biggest shark in British waters.

Barrow-in-Furness - Submarines
Aerial picture of Barrow-in-FurnessBuilding boats here is a way of life - both on, and under the sea.

The Royal Navy's very fist sub was built in Barrow in 1901, followed in later years by the Polaris and then the Trident class in the 80's.

In 1998 Barrow received a new commission and are now building some of the worlds most advanced submarines.

A submarine being taken through the streets of BarrowThe traditional ship building techniques and skills of the Barrow work force underpin this £3.5b project. Components are built as modules outside and then inserted complete into the shell.

Mark Horton gets rare access to the construction of the next generation of submarines which will be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2008.

Whitehaven & The American War of Independence
Aerial picture of WhitehavenJohn Paul Jones set sail from New Hampshire in November 1777 to attack the British Empire.

The plan was to row into the harbour at Whitehaven in the early hours of the 23rd April 1778. They were to split into two teams, the first was to go and disable the town's armoury of cannons and the other was to set fire to an entire fleet of boats.

But what actually happened on that night? Well, there are conflicting stories.

American sailors walking past the old Nich Allifons public houseAccording to the Americans the weather was against them, with torrential rain preventing setting the fleet alight. Whereas the local newspaper The Lloyds Evening Post, said that the sailors 'made free with the ale' at a local pub.

Neil Oliver meets up with both Gerard Richardson and Admiral Steven Morgan to discover why Whitehaven was attacked and tries to get to the bottom of this story.

Would you like to know what music was used in this programme?

Southport to Whitehaven including the Isle of Man: Sunday 17 June, 8pm on BBC TWO


Coast Series 3

Shetland to Orkney

Bournemouth to Plymouth

Southport to Whitehaven (inc. the Isle of Man)

Cardiff to St David's

Berwick-upon-Tweed to Aberdeen

Galway to Baltimore

King's Lynn to Felixstowe

The Channel Islands to Dover

See Also

Meet your Coast experts:

Neil Oliver
Alice Roberts
Mark Horton
Miranda Krestovnikoff
Nicholas Crane
Hermione Cockburn
Dick Strawbridge

On the rest of the web

Midland Hotel redevelopment
Manx National Heritage

Isle of Man internment camps

Rosemary Wood's stroy part 1

Rosemary Wood's story part 2

Manx Basking Shark Watch

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Tel: 0870 900 7788

for a free Open University “Discover Your Coast” pack - or visit

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external links.

Programme 4 - Cardiff to St David's

Neil discovers how a beach became the 'fastest place on earth' 80 years ago. Mark explores how Swansea's monopoly of the copper trade sped Nelson towards his Trafalgar victory. Miranda joins dolphins at the coast raising their young and Alice boards a dredger to discover how much sand we are consuming.

  Map showing Cardiff to St. David's

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