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TITLE
Caithness, 1925 - Fish Curing, Wick
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CAITHNESS 1925-26_56001_034
PLACENAME
Wick
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Wick
PERIOD
1920s
CREATOR
Herbert Sinclair
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
31866
KEYWORDS
fishing
herring
herring girls
fishing industry
Caithness, 1925 - Fish Curing, Wick

This is a page from a book of photographs of Caithness from 1925. It shows a photograph of Herring Gutters hard at work in Wick Harbour. Herring were caught using drift nets. Once they were landed most were taken to the curing yard for curing. Women would gut the fish with their knife before packing them in barrels with salt. The women worked in teams of three, two to gut and one to pack.

This photograph shows a row of women standing beside a long wooden farlan, or trough, gutting herring. The women are wearing aprons over their clothes. Behind, some coopers are watching them, while in the background there are large stacks of herring barrels.

Herring was a delicacy on the Continent and was caught relatively easily off the Coast of Scotland - off the East Coast during winter and spring, off the North Coast of Scotland and Shetland during the summer months and, in the autumn, off the Coast of East Anglia. At this time, there were as many as 30,000 vessels involved in herring fishing the East Coast, not to mention others in the Irish Sea. As the century progressed, the numbers continued to grow until the Scottish fishing industry became the largest in Europe.

Because herring was a fatty fish, it had to be cured as quickly as possible to prevent it rotting. At the peak of the Herring Boom in 1907, 2,500,000 barrels of fish (250,000 tons) were cured and exported, the main markets being Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia. In 1913 there were over 10,000 boats involved in the Scottish Herring Industry.

A Royal Burgh from 1589, the town of Wick has even more ancient origins, as shown by its name which comes from the Norse 'Vic', the word for bay. It lies on the north east coast of Scotland 19 miles south of John O'Groats.

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Caithness, 1925 - Fish Curing, Wick

CAITHNESS: Wick

1920s

fishing; herring; herring girls; fishing industry

Highland Libraries

Caithness 1925

This is a page from a book of photographs of Caithness from 1925. It shows a photograph of Herring Gutters hard at work in Wick Harbour. Herring were caught using drift nets. Once they were landed most were taken to the curing yard for curing. Women would gut the fish with their knife before packing them in barrels with salt. The women worked in teams of three, two to gut and one to pack. <br /> <br /> This photograph shows a row of women standing beside a long wooden farlan, or trough, gutting herring. The women are wearing aprons over their clothes. Behind, some coopers are watching them, while in the background there are large stacks of herring barrels.<br /> <br /> Herring was a delicacy on the Continent and was caught relatively easily off the Coast of Scotland - off the East Coast during winter and spring, off the North Coast of Scotland and Shetland during the summer months and, in the autumn, off the Coast of East Anglia. At this time, there were as many as 30,000 vessels involved in herring fishing the East Coast, not to mention others in the Irish Sea. As the century progressed, the numbers continued to grow until the Scottish fishing industry became the largest in Europe. <br /> <br /> Because herring was a fatty fish, it had to be cured as quickly as possible to prevent it rotting. At the peak of the Herring Boom in 1907, 2,500,000 barrels of fish (250,000 tons) were cured and exported, the main markets being Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia. In 1913 there were over 10,000 boats involved in the Scottish Herring Industry. <br /> <br /> A Royal Burgh from 1589, the town of Wick has even more ancient origins, as shown by its name which comes from the Norse 'Vic', the word for bay. It lies on the north east coast of Scotland 19 miles south of John O'Groats.