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Herring Harvest at Yarmouth

Highlighting work in the early 20th century fishing industry 'Shipping to the Breakfast Tables of the World'

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This film, showing the herring industry in the Norfolk town of Great Yarmouth, opens with footage of fishing fleet returning to harbour. Intertitles describe the content. We see many boats and herring baskets lined up along the busy quay. The fishermen move their catch into baskets which are then lined up. We next see the 'Scottish lassies' at work cleaning the fish, the film noting that they can achieve this at a rate of 65 per minute. The women then move the fish into barrels for preservation in brine. We see as the barrels are packed full and then closed eight days later. They are ready for export.

Questions & Activities


  • What are the young women on the quayside waiting for and why are they so excited?
  • How many herrings can a Scotch Lassie gut in a minute?
  • Why would people travel so far to work?
  • How far would you travel for work?


Describe the scene- list the different types of people you see and the jobs they do.

Research the importance of the fishing industry and the role of itinerant labour.

Write and record narration, dialogue and or music and add it to the film.

Many young girls left Scotland to work in this kind of job. Write a day in the life or letter home from one of these girls explaining their daily activities, hopes and fears.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-004-179-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 8201
Date c.1910-1915
Genre Local Topical
School Subject Mathematics, Expressive Arts, Social Studies, History, Economics
Subject Matter Literacy, World War 1
Who Henry E. Fisher (film collector)
Where Great Yarmouth
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 5:32
Film Length 06:00
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