Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Day

‘That’s Women’s Work’, an exhibition about the important role of women in fishing and maritime industries over time opens tomorrow.

That’s Women’s Work” includes stories about:
The journey of the “herring girls” who every year from early summer to late autumn followed the fishing fleet down the east coast, from northern Scotland, stopping at ports to clean and cure the catch. Usually arriving at North Shields in August, they stayed with local landladies and were looked after by the Fishermen’s Mission and local churches. Some of the girls were from the Scottish islands and spoke only Gaelic. Their annual journey ended in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. There are also stories of local women who were herring girls. The peak herring catches were between 1900 and 1913 and the trade gradually dwindled and ended in the 1960s.

The lives of local fishwives who packed creels with fish, sometimes weighing as much as six stone which they carried on their back, to sell door to door or at local markets. There is also a tapestry of fisherwomen, based on a painting by American artist Winslow Homer who spent two years in Cullercoats in the late 19th century, which until recently has been on display in Hull.
How women whose husbands were at sea coped with tragedy and hardship and the support provided by the Fishermen’s Mission.

Local women who worked in the smokehouses and fish processing factories on the Fish Quay.
A North Shields woman’s working life as a trawler skipper.
Women and seafaring superstitions.
Modern day roles of women in fishing and maritime related industries.

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