Hardy's man publishes memoirs

A member of the world famous Hardy fishing family from Alnwick has written a book

Former employee of Hardys in Alnwick, angler Ian Blagburn who has written a book

A member of a world famous fishing family has been reeling in the years after writing about his life in angling.

Ian Blagburn is one of the Hardy family who have manufactured tackle from Alnwick, Northumberland, since the late 19th century.

He has now written Angling Yarns, a collection of anecdotes from his life in fishing, illustrated with cartoons.

Ian, 81, was born in Alnwick, remaining in the area throughout his life.

His mother Alice Hardy was the daughter of Charles Hardy, both part of the family which opened the factory in 1872 which has supplied royalty, including Prince Charles.

His father William Howard worked at the factory, which has held 10 Royal Warrants over the last century, for 50 years, as works manager and general consultant, and was a keen fisherman.

It was therefore no surprise that Ian got interested at a young age.

He said: “I can remember being small with a rod and a line and a hook on the end catching trout with a worm.”

After finishing school in 1948, Ian served a five-year apprenticeship at Reyroles electrical company on Tyneside. From 1953 to 1955, he undertook national service with the Royal Air Force.

The year that ended, Ian was invited to work at the family firm, initially doing so in the factory.

He soon got interested in tournament casting and travelled with the late then factory works manager Jim Hardy, to casting tournaments all over the world.

Ian would take pupils out and teach them to fish and cast.

He would later work on the river bank, entertaining guests and pupils, and in the factory helping with development.

After leaving the factory after thirty years in 1985, Ian set up selling fishing reels on his own at Cramlington, supplying them overseas.

However, his premises was hit by break ins and as he struggled to get insurance cover, he called it a day.

Ian then ran his own agencies supplying tackle.

Now living at Beech Estate in Shilbottle, his home the last 23 years, Ian has written a book.

Former employee of Hardys in Alnwick, angler Ian Blagburn who has written a book
Former employee of Hardys in Alnwick, angler Ian Blagburn who has written a book

He said: “It happened because when I was doing various things going round Scotland, I used to give talks to angling casting fishing this sort of thing. Somebody once in Scotland said you have got some stories there, why don’t you write a book.

“At that stage I did not record some of the happenings. It was years afterwards when I did compile happenings. They are all true happenings in the book. It took years, really.”

The self-published book features stories from Ian’s years fishing, mainly for salmon on rivers, lochs and at sea, as well as his work at Hardy’s. It is illustrated with cartoons drawn by a former colleague from the factory.

“The book actually is stories of when I had parties on the river teaching them to fish. The stories are not necessarily all fishing. They are things which happened on fishing trips.”

Ian will sign copies of the book at Morpeth Chantry today at 11am.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer