Jolly Fisherman Statue, Tower Gardens, Skegness, Lincolnshire
It has been said, with some truth, that the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Skegness rose to fame on a poster. The Jolly Fisherman poster (seen here) and its accompanying slogan is probably the most famous holiday advertisement ever drawn. John Hassall drew the original picture in 1908. It had been commissioned by the Great Northern Railway Company and for his masterpiece he received the princely sum of twelve guineas. The poster was first put on display at Easter time that same year in conjunction with a special three-shilling excursion from Kings Cross, London. The “so bracing” slogan, that accompanied the picture, and of almost equal importance, is believed to have been the brainchild of an unknown member of the Railway Staff.
Hassall, one of the greatest of all poster artists, drew many telling advertisements, but none so fine as the Jolly Fisherman here portrayed in statue form. Despite this he visited Skegness only once in his life. That was in 1936 when the town which he had put on the map presented him with an illuminated address and “the freedom of the foreshore”. Hassall died in 1948, eighty years old and penniless.