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Herring Harvest at Yarmouth

The early 20th century fishing industry

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This film shows the herring industry in the Norfolk town of Great Yarmouth.

We see fishermen and 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 for export.

Questions & Activities


  • What do you think working conditions would be like at sea?
  • What tasks does a 'Scotch lassie' perform as part of her job?
  • Where had the young women come from and why did they travel so far to work?
  • What do you think life would have been like for the women working at Yarmouth?


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 and seasonal labour.

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.

Create a presentation or video about the decline of the fishing industry and the problems of over-fishing and climate change.

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