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Holy carp! Check out local angling legend’s exhibition in Hitchin

Graphic showing Dick holding a fish and a fishing rod spelling out his full name

Are you ‘hooked’ on fishing, perhaps you think it’s ‘fin-tastic'? Then ‘cast’ your eyes on the Richard ‘Dick’ Walker exhibition at North Herts Museum and get ‘schooled’ on the father of modern freshwater fishing from 13 February to 7 April, you’ll ‘reel-ly’ love it!

Richard Walker (1918-1985) was born and raised in Hitchin and made an immense contribution to angling, a specific type of fishing using a fishhook and rod. “The most influential angler” has a blue plaque on the house he was born in, now 32 Fishponds Road, and he refined his craft at Bearton Pond, after getting into fishing with his grandfather from the age of four.

Throughout his life, Walker pioneered many new approaches and invented new technologies to allow people to catch larger fish, and inspired many young people to take up and continue their angling journey. This exhibition brings together material loaned from Richard’s family and other kind contributors including photos, many of his books, and magazine articles, either written about him or by him.

Cllr Keith Hoskins, Executive Member for Enterprise & Arts, said: “For anyone in the fishing world, Dick Walker is well known and somewhat of a local legend. This is a great exhibition, and thanks to his family, gives a great insight into his life and contribution to angling among other things.”

Avid fisherman Chris Tarrant met him once as a little boy, and recently said: “In those few treasured moments he was a mine of information… as important today as when the great man told me more than 60 years ago. The man completely changed the face of freshwater fishing; particularly for really big, hitherto uncatchable fish, like carp. Carp fishing is now a huge multi-million-pound industry in the UK and many parts of the world, but without Dick Walker’s pioneering work, it would almost certainly never have happened.” 

The Canal and River Trust said: “He was arguably the most influential angler, not just of the past 100 years, but of all time. He brought a scientific approach to the sport that is taken for granted now, yet in the 1950s and 1960s his approach revolutionised fishing.”

North Herts Museum is located on Brand Street, Hitchin, open Tue-Sat 10.30am-4.30pm and Sun 11am-3pm, and admission is free.

For more information check out @northhertsmuseum on Facebook and Instagram, @nhertsmuseum on Twitter, visit the North Herts Museum website or call 01462 474554.

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