just writing about my own memories of these days of the herring fishing in my native Island of Stronsay in Orkneys.// july was our main month with overlaps and the boats followed the fish to Yarmouth as autumn came in // so did many of the gutter girls, Scots mainly // your article brings it all back // scorrie //
i was born in gt yarmouth in 1948 and remember the herring boats coming in i used to go down and watch them and getting bags of fish and sell them for a penny each
As a small child in the fifties I remember going to parties above a pub along Southtown Rd, I think it was the Halfway House or a similar name. I think these were run by the fishermens social clubs, to which my uncles, who were fishermen, belonged; and my sister and I always looked forward to. Happy Days.
PRIOR TO THE FIFTIES IT WAS A REGULAR SATURDAY PASS TIME TO CYCLE DOWN TO THE RIVER VERY NEAR THE GT YARMOUTH TOWN HALL AND STAND AND WATCH THE HERRING BEING UNLOADED FROM THE HOLD IN EACH DRIFTER. AS THE ROPES PULLED OUT A CRAN OF HERRING IT WAS GUIDED MANUALY TO TWO MEN STANDING ON THE QUAY,AS THE CRAN PAST TO THE BASKETS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT HERRING USED TO SLIDE OFF READY TO BE PICKED UP TO BE TAKEN HOME TO MUM FOR THE SATURDAY TEA.IN 1950 I WORKED IN THE DEPARTMENTAL STORE OF ARNOLDS AND VERY OFTEN THE SCOTTISH GIRLS WHO GUTTED THE HERRING WALKED THROUGH THE STORE BUT UNFORTUNALY FOR US HAD NOT WASHED BEFORE HAND AND THE SMELL WAS PRETTY POWERFUL.
My dad was one of the fishing men that went out catching herring ,he made us like fish he was a good cook,so to this day I am a fisher man daughter and love my fish.
I recall seeing the silver harvest of herring,being hoisted ashore in large basketsand conveyed to the sheds where the Scottish girls would gut and clean them with amazing speed. Their fingers would be bloodied and bandaged,where the sharp knives had cut them. They shouted to each other as they worked in strange guttral gaelic. If the localboys tried to steal a fish,they would shout and throw fish guts at us.
My family used to holiday every year from 1945 to 1972 at Caister-on-Sea. My father used to holiday on his own later in September and go out with the Caister men for the Herring. I have re-dicovered Caister, California, Hemsby, Winterton and Gt. Yarmouth things have certainly altered. I did enjoy my holiday this year though. It was like coming home. In 1969 I spent a month at California. I think at times I should have stayed.
In the 50's I lived in Arundel Road, Newtown.I attended North Denes school and then Yarmouth Grammar. My grandfather, Charles Brett who lived with us until his death in 1959, worked on the herring boats as an engineer during his working life. I have fond memories of warm summer evenings at the Pleasure Beach, friday nights at the 'pictures', usually the Regent or the Aquarium, working evenings at Alfredo's coffee lounge in Regent Road, the Easter fairs in the market place and playing left back for a few years with Gt Yarmouth FC. Life has been very good in Australia but the memories of growing up in Yarmouth in the late 40's and through the 50's will be treasured forever.
In the 50s I went to the North Denes school,at 4pm when school finished you could see the herring fleet coming home.There decks awash having so much weight of fish aboard.
A J HALL
My grandfather Alfred Philpott was nightwatchman on Herring Drifter Y112(Silver Dawn). I spent many a night and day on this drifter and have many happy memories of those times. As many local people of that time will recall, many Scottish drifter skippers and their crews and wives and children would lodge at local people's houses for the fishing season. Many of the wives would be employed in the gutting sheds. I recall one such gutting shed was situated on what was called Mission Quay and had a trading name of Duthies. The speed at which these women could gut a herring had to be seen to be believed!
My grandmother was one of the locals who used to take in a Scotch family for the fishing season - this being a source of income in what were hard times.
On a lighter note when it became time for the Scottish family to leave and return home, the mother would get quite emotional and clasp me to her very ample chest - I had great difficulty breathing. And as these families tended to come back to the same lodgings every year I made sure that I went missing when that time arrived. I had better explain that I was only 10 years old at the time!
One of the most fascinating things about the combined Gt. Yarmouth and Lowestoft drifters was ... they always managed to sail in on a Saturday morning ... when Norwich City were playing at home !!
AS to the drifters leaving Gt Yarmouth for the last time in 1955. Iam at aloss to understand how the Yarmouth Mercury reported that, with a photo taken from Gorleston pier, the Fertile of Fraserburgh No 305 left in November 1968.
As a pupil of Priory School I well remember the 5th October 1955 standing on the beach to view the 150th anniversary of Nelson's victory with the whole school.
My grandmother would take me to the fishwarf where, with other members of the Mission to Seame, they would make cups of tea etc. Then at two o'clock to quay to see the Church of Scotland fishermans service on the balcony of building next to the doctor's? and about two away from the old police station.. the fishermen would be dressed in their blue ganseys and trousers with highly polished black shoes. Who remebers the "utility busses" with their wooden seats? these were brought out every year on the No2 bus route from Netown to the Fishwarf during the herring season.
i can remember my father, who was a teacher, taking me when I was very young to see the herring fleet at Gt Yarmouth as part of a schoool trip for older children. The fishermen's wives gutted and filleted the fish in sheds next to the warf. We were able to go on board a drifter and seen the conditions they lived in. This must have been in the late 50s as I was born in Dec 1953.
I lived in Gt Yarmouth in the 50s. My dad was a driver at Yarmouth Station, he brought the last train into the station during the floods in '53. The water was above the platform level and it put the fire out in the loco. My favourite pastime was roller skateing on the Wellington Pier
I remember, when I was 10/11 years old, going down to the harbour with my father to buy some fresh herring off the boats when the fleet arrived. There were trawlers and drifters everywhere along the River Yare moored along side each other all along the wharves. Boats from Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Yarmouth and places I've forgotten - all identified by their letter codes and numbers on the sides of the boats. It was a bit like train spotting, trying to identify the boat from the furthest port from Great Yarmouth. I guess this was 1954/5 and I remember someone saying that the numbers of boats was down on the previous year. I seeem to remember that a shilling bought almost a bucket of fish, which had to be eaten within a few days as we didn't have freezers and refridgerators - only a "cold box" on a stone floor.