The Epi fish market in Cherbourg could be included in Stéphane Bern's Heritage Mission

Will "Mr Heritage" go on a mission to save the former Cherbourg Fish Auction, which has been scheduled for demolition for several years? Stéphane Bern has shown interest in studying the case of this heritage dear to the heart of the Cherbourg natives since the 1950s.

 

Mission "Heritage at risk"

Since 2017, Stéphane Bern has been entrusted by the government with a mission to identify local heritage in danger and to identify funding to restore it. Emmanuel Macron made the right choice: Stéphane Bern is also part of France's cultural heritage! This connoisseur of crowned heads knows how to speak heart-to-heart to the French, intelligently popularize history and make culture and scholarship accessible with a simplicity and a steadfastness that are his trademark. Heritage is an opportunity for all, let us save it! Identifying, protecting and developing heritage are the three axes of a mission made possible by citizen engagement. 2,000 endangered sites have been identified and fundraisers organized to save them from oblivion.

 

The Epi auction hasn't said its last word

It was the UDI (Union of Democrats and Independents) leader in Manche who sounded the alarm to Stéphane Bern who undertook to examine the case in view of a possible inclusion of the site in the Heritage Mission next year. The funding would save the site from a demise announced 10 years ago but the agreement remains dependent upon the state of its very degraded foundations. A project that could be an extension of the recent wharf reinforcement and the rehabilitation of Bellot Hall along the Lawton-Collins Wharf. The beautiful architecture of the Old Fish Auction still says volumes about Cherbourg and its history!

 

A fishing revolution in Cherbourg

Used between 1952 and 1960, it is a vestige of fishing activity in the town of Cherbourg. With the destruction of the Fish Auction at Grandcamp (Calvados) in '44, there was no longer a common unloading and selling place for the fishing vessels of Cherbourg. The fishermen sold directly to the fish merchants without a middle man and the system left both parties dissatisfied. The Epi auction (or small auction) was thus created to prevent the desertion of the port and to regulate the sale of fish in order to satisfy fishermen and fish merchants. Victim of its own success, it quickly proved to be too small! It was replaced eight years later by the current tidal centre south of the commercial basin. 

After considering its rehabilitation in 2006, the municipality decided to destroy it in 2010 as part of the redevelopment of the port of Epi and the harbour. The action of Stéphane Bern could well change the game and save this place of memory of local fishing from the bulldozers!

In Manche, three sites are already part of the Heritage Mission: the château de Carneville, the Ecausseville airship hangar and the Saint-Loup church.

Photo: Roland Godefroy/ C.C.

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