Works at craft he learned over 65 years ago

Rope mats in AppledoreWorks at craft he learned over 65 years ago

It was in December 1939 after 45 years in the Merchant Navy, that Mr Dick Hocking of 47 Market Street, Appledore, stepped ashore for the last time. At 81 he lives alone, cooks his own meals, does his own washing and keeps his home ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion.’

His hobby is a craft that he leaned years ago on board the ships that carried him to such faraway places as North and South America. He never fails to spend at least two hours each day making rope mats and he is probably among the last exponents of the art. The rudiments he learned as a boy soon after he left his native Appledore in 1894 at the age of 13 for his first voyage in the Annie Laurie.

When he starts on a new mat he unravels a length of old rope to provide double yarns. Five lots of these are plaited together and then are stitched with twine. Mr Hocking claims that such mats are virtually everlasting and he displayed one from his dining room. He made it 50 years ago by palm and needle and it is still in good condition.

Gazette article 1 March 1963

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