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TITLE
Smoking the herring
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_FISHERGIRLS_02
DATE OF RECORDING
1984
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
Chrissie Smith
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1940
KEYWORDS
fisher girls
fisher lassies
fishwives
kippers
kippering
audio

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Women played an important role in the fishing industry in Scotland; some were employed to bait lines but the majority worked at gutting and curing the catches. When the herring summer season finished at home many fisher lassies travelled down south to catch the autumn herring season in fishing ports like Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft. In this audio extract, a former Caithness fisher lassie recalls her 'kipperin' days. Her name is Chrissie Smith and she was recorded at Dalmore House Eventide Home (Alness) in 1984 as part of reminiscence classes run by the Workers Educational Association.

'I was fourteen. I left the school, an I was fourteen, and I went to the fishing. And, when Ah went, it was just young girls but we didna get till cut the herrin or do anythin. We used'll go in, and we hid, big, big, things like that. They called it 'troughs'. And, there were baskets - quarter baskets - and the herrin was done; washed an pickled, an it used to be put in the pickle for a half an hour - that was for the kipperin'. And then they were four o us, that went'll this trough and we hid long sticks like that - they called it 'tentersticks', wi hooks on it. And then the baskets wis lifted an put in this. Then we lifted them out and we stuck them on the hooks. And then the one that side, took it off o there, an went in till e kill. Then there was a huge rack an we put them on the rack till that rack was full. And I always was asked to go in. And then it was a big high place - they called it veids - an they used be a plank over it and I used till go up on a ladder and stand on this plank and get this stick an put it up till the man above. And then, they had chips, oak chips - what they called oak chips, you know that was e shavings that was offae stuff that they had in the sawmill - an then they had it in piles like that, six o them, they set fire till they, an that put the smoke up, an that smoked the herrin an they came intill e kipper'

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Smoking the herring

1980s

fisher girls; fisher lassies; fishwives; kippers; kippering; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Fisher Lassies

Women played an important role in the fishing industry in Scotland; some were employed to bait lines but the majority worked at gutting and curing the catches. When the herring summer season finished at home many fisher lassies travelled down south to catch the autumn herring season in fishing ports like Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft. In this audio extract, a former Caithness fisher lassie recalls her 'kipperin' days. Her name is Chrissie Smith and she was recorded at Dalmore House Eventide Home (Alness) in 1984 as part of reminiscence classes run by the Workers Educational Association.<br /> <br /> 'I was fourteen. I left the school, an I was fourteen, and I went to the fishing. And, when Ah went, it was just young girls but we didna get till cut the herrin or do anythin. We used'll go in, and we hid, big, big, things like that. They called it 'troughs'. And, there were baskets - quarter baskets - and the herrin was done; washed an pickled, an it used to be put in the pickle for a half an hour - that was for the kipperin'. And then they were four o us, that went'll this trough and we hid long sticks like that - they called it 'tentersticks', wi hooks on it. And then the baskets wis lifted an put in this. Then we lifted them out and we stuck them on the hooks. And then the one that side, took it off o there, an went in till e kill. Then there was a huge rack an we put them on the rack till that rack was full. And I always was asked to go in. And then it was a big high place - they called it veids - an they used be a plank over it and I used till go up on a ladder and stand on this plank and get this stick an put it up till the man above. And then, they had chips, oak chips - what they called oak chips, you know that was e shavings that was offae stuff that they had in the sawmill - an then they had it in piles like that, six o them, they set fire till they, an that put the smoke up, an that smoked the herrin an they came intill e kipper'