Leeds graduate solves a Festival hitch

June 28, 1951 | Filed under: Yorkshire Post

HAVE you ever made a Flemish eye, or done a racking seizing, or used a false lark’s head?

One man in Leeds has been found to whom these are not double-Dutch. He is to demonstrate knots, ties and splices in the new sea-travel section of the touring Festival of Britain exhibition at Woodhouse Moor, Leeds. It has taken the exhibition management several days to find such a man, though they were offering a wage of £8 10s. A week. He is 23-year-old Leeds University graduate Mr. Basil Webstone, of Allenby Road, Leeds, who learned to tie knots in the Scouts.

I am not surprised that there was difficulty in finding a suitable man. Such men are not so numerous, even on and near the sea, as they were a generation ago. Seafaring nowadays is is so much a matter of engines and motors. At one period of my life I spent many hours learning about cordage but, except for a reef knot, I have forgotten most of what I leanred. One must become proficient in knots as though by second nature, and then use then regularly, if they are to remain at one’s finger tips.

I asked a former seaman of six years’ war service yesterday how much he remembered of knots. He confessed he was caught out the other day when a Sea Cadet asked him to do a Matthew Walker. Goodness knows what the lubberly fellow would have done if he had been asked to demonstrate a single Spanish burton.