Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fisher Girls/Herring Lassies

History is a wonderful thing!  There are so many stories out there about life of common folks who endeavored to survive.
"The Fisher girls travelled to the fishing ports each season. “There was the fishing at Yarmouth, and the summer fishing when we went to Lerwick. We went to Ireland between the summer fishing and Yarmouth.” -

A fascinating look at life girls employed as fish gutters, following the fishing fleet from Shetland to Yarmouth and Lowestoft as the herring season progressed. 
What a Job!
The Herring Girls as they were referred to, traveled every winter and summer season along Scottish and English coast.  Each girl packed all her possession, including clothes, oilskins, rubber boots and bedding etc. into a wooden chest or ‘kist’, which also at times served as a wardrobe, a seat and even at times a table in the unfurnished wooden huts that were the girls accommodation at some of the fishing ports.

There are some great pins on Pinterest showing the girls with their knitting during off hours from work.

I found this interesting video of the herring harvest in 1920 with the Herring girls as they worked.




All this history came to life for me when I saw this exhibit piece by Anita Bruce, who
has knitted Gansey herring and offered her pattern free for a small donation.  You can find
the pattern on Ravelry and through her Facebook page.
Below is her statement regarding her project............

The ‘Gansey Herrings’ celebrate the herring industry in Great Yarmouth and the fisher girls who gutted and knitted their way along the coast following the fish. Each has a unique pattern, adapted from either a traditional fisherman’s gansey design or a pattern created to reference the collections in the museum and surrounding area. Inspiration for these new patterns ranges from the nets, ropes and baskets used in the fishing industry to a butterfly bomb and off-shore wind farm.
Although free, if you enjoy this pattern, please consider making a donation to the Marine Conservation Society in celebration of the silver darling that is the herring on my Just Giving page


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