Publisher says ‘sorry’ over Skegness Jolly Fisherman cover

John Byford with a copy of Bill Bryson's book featuring the Jolly Fisherman. ANL-160601-124402001
John Byford with a copy of Bill Bryson's book featuring the Jolly Fisherman. ANL-160601-124402001

The publishers of a popular travel writer, who used the iconic Jolly Fisherman emblem on the front cover of his new book and then slated the resort, have apologised.

The Skegness Standard reported Jolly had been used to illustrate Bill Bryson’s latest book, The Road to Little Dribbling, back in October - marking the 20th anniversary of his previous best selling travel volume, Notes from a Small Island.

Unless a councillor raises the issue we won’t be taking it any further

Steve Larner, town clerk

But in spite of reader John Byford’s delight at spotting it in the window of a Lincoln book shop, Bryson did not find the resort “so bracing” - and faced the possibly upsetting Skegness Town Council because Transworld Publishers had not paid the £10 copyright fee.

Since the oversight was revealed this week, town clerk Steve Larner has been in touch with the publishers.

Mr Larner said: “I have had a long chat with the publishers and they have apologised and said they did not realise they needed copyright as there were so many images in the public domain.

“They are now in the process of completing an application and I expect it will be granted.”

What the council can’t do anything about is Bryson’s comments about Skegness in the book, He wrote: “I am sure had the weather been better I might well have loved the place.

“I like old fashioned seaside resorts, which is what Skegness seemed to be through the deluge. There were lots of neon and noisily chiming arcades and a sickly smell of spun sugar which even the rain could not suppress. The seafront was dominated by a handsome clock tower with a good looking park called the Tower Gardens. And do you know what? It’s the ninth most visited place in Britain. Unfortunately all I saw were families trapped under awnings.”

However, Mr Larner thinks the latest publicity can only be a good thing. He said: “The Jolly Fisherman is all about getting the resort publicity and that is exactly what this has done. If it gets people curious about the resort and thinking about coming that will be great.”