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TITLE
Curing the herring
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_FISHERGIRLS_06
DATE OF RECORDING
1984
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1946
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.

'Now the curin - it was different. There were three of us worked together, an we got a shillin for a big bar like at. There were two gutters an a packer. I was a packer, and the two gutters, they put the knife in the gill, pulled the gill oot, and the long gut, and there was large fulls [fulls were fish that had developed their roe], fulls, mattie fulls, smalls, and dead smalls - ye hid a selection. An ye hid a basket for each of that, an ye hid to watch what ye did. Then e packer, then, she hid a tub at each section - bars wis on it - and we hid yin Torreviejan salt [from Spain] then we, well, ye put salt on it an lifted it, an you put one there, an two, an one, an two, that made yer bottom. Then ye took it this way, an that way, till ye came to the top of the barrel an then at was full an the cooper came an put the lid on and then at stood. Well, it was all rolled away and, for ten days, then it was lifted because it fell, ye see? An we used to call it the 'fillin up' an they opened so many barrels an emptied them in e tub. Whooo! When ye put yer hands in e pickle the pickle was up till here! Whooo! And ye got that then an ye filled that barrel up till e top an then it was - the lid went on - and it was stamped.

Ye've heard aboot Fishery Officers? Well, the Fishery Officer used'll come round when the curers used'll sell their herrin and put it'll foreign places and they used'll test the herrin, and if there was too much salt on it, it didn't pass'

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Curing 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 /> 'Now the curin - it was different. There were three of us worked together, an we got a shillin for a big bar like at. There were two gutters an a packer. I was a packer, and the two gutters, they put the knife in the gill, pulled the gill oot, and the long gut, and there was large fulls [fulls were fish that had developed their roe], fulls, mattie fulls, smalls, and dead smalls - ye hid a selection. An ye hid a basket for each of that, an ye hid to watch what ye did. Then e packer, then, she hid a tub at each section - bars wis on it - and we hid yin Torreviejan salt [from Spain] then we, well, ye put salt on it an lifted it, an you put one there, an two, an one, an two, that made yer bottom. Then ye took it this way, an that way, till ye came to the top of the barrel an then at was full an the cooper came an put the lid on and then at stood. Well, it was all rolled away and, for ten days, then it was lifted because it fell, ye see? An we used to call it the 'fillin up' an they opened so many barrels an emptied them in e tub. Whooo! When ye put yer hands in e pickle the pickle was up till here! Whooo! And ye got that then an ye filled that barrel up till e top an then it was - the lid went on - and it was stamped.<br /> <br /> Ye've heard aboot Fishery Officers? Well, the Fishery Officer used'll come round when the curers used'll sell their herrin and put it'll foreign places and they used'll test the herrin, and if there was too much salt on it, it didn't pass'