Peter Hennessey was born in 1955 in the outside loo of the Coastguard cottages in Portrush, NI. I was then, and perhaps still remain, a P.I.T.A. (Pain in the a***!) anyway they called me Peter. Scion of a serving RAF officer (Irish) and a Welsh girl who met whilst both served in the RAF on the island of Sillt, Germany, after the war, I have nautical connections on both sides of the family. My paternal grandfather served in the Royal Navy and retired into the Irish Coastguards, my mother had relatives in the RNLI, one of whom was lost in the Mumbles Lifeboat disaster of 1903.
My father taught me to splice a rope at an early age, and in various farming jobs, sailing, and 34 years with the Electricity Board, I learnt and used several knots of a practical nature, my two particular favourites being the Trucker’s Hitch and the Rolling Hitch (much used by me for pulling cables into duct lines).
My adventures in fancy knotting began perhaps 20 yrs ago after I found a copy of ‘The Gourock Book of Knots and Splices’, a re-badged version of Capt J Netherclift Jutsum’s ‘Knots, Bends and Splices’, a souvenir of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition (2/-) in a small bookshop in Nether Stowey, Somerset. Turks heads, Matthew Walkers, Spritsail Sheet Knots etc soon flowed from my fingers. I joined the IGKT about ten years ago after meeting Ken Nelson and Colin Grundy at Braunston Historic Boat Show, and subsequently served on the committee for a few years. The late Bill Newey of the Black Country Branch provided me with a beautiful little ropemaking machine, taking my interests in that direction.
I am somewhat surprisingly still married after 39 yrs to my lovely wife Maureen, with whom I have two amazing children and four fantastic grandsons. Maureen and I live on our narrowboat ‘Miss Heliotrope’ on the UK canal system.