Villages By The Sea “Parkgate” 5 October 2022: Tuesday on BBC Two

Villages By The Sea "Parkgate" 5 October 2022: Tuesday on BBC Two 11

Archaeologist Ben Robinson explores Parkgate, on the estuary of the River Dee in Cheshire. Today the village is landlocked, cut off from the
Dee and the Irish Sea due to the estuary’s shifting silt. But 250 years ago, it was a bustling harbour and as Ben finds out from Dr Gillian O’Brian, Parkgate was a gateway for thousands of Irish immigrants from the 1620s onwards.

Local resident Anthony Annakin-Smith, who has been researching Parkgate’s past, explains to Ben it was the estuary’s ever-shifting silt that first established the village as an important trading port in
the 18th century. Up to then, the Port of Chester had handled most of the trade along the Dee, but by the 1600s, its harbour was starting to silt up, allowing Parkgate to expand.

By the middle of the 18th century, the village also developed into a tourist hotspot almost by accident, due to the latest health fad prescribed by doctors – sea bathing! This new trend caught on quickly and local woman – called dippers – were soon employed to dispense the treatment of dunking visitors under the sea water, as Ben discovers from historian Dr Kathryn Ferry.

About Villages By The Sea

Series looking at coastal villages that have often been on the front line of history.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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