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Trawler Town

Fish auction in Aberdeen

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Trawlers unload their catch at Aberdeen harbour and the fish auction gets underway. A trawler comes up to the quay, ties up and the crew begin to unload their catch. Baskets of fish are transferred to the market shed by winch and pulley systems. In the shed, fish are graded by size and quality and checked for rejects. The crew gut and sort fish. A tally is kept of the fish weight and the auction begins. The auctioneer and buyers are surrounded by fishing crew as the bargains are struck. Radio telephones are used to link the office and buyer. Fish boxes are loaded onto lorries and transported to the curing plants. The quayside is cleaned up, hosed down. The steam trawler sails out of harbour.

Questions & Activities


  • How many different activities can you see taking place at the harbour and on the boat?
  • How is the fish carried from the boat onto land?
  • What different species of fish can you see?
  • What do you think working life was life for Aberdeen fishermen in the 1950s?


Find out where the remaining working fishing ports are in Scotland.

Find a film of a harbour in another country which you feel makes a good comparison to Trawler Town. What are the similarities and differences you can see?

Visit a harbour or a fish market. Document your visit with photographs or by filming (ask permission before taking pictures of people). Use black and white photography to create atmospheric images such as those in Trawler Town.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-008-021-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2647
Date 1960
Genre Amateur, Documentary
School Subject Health and Wellbeing, Social Studies, Expressive Arts
Subject Matter Literacy, Citizenship
Who ClansmanGroup 5Ronald Miller
Where Aberdeen
Event Fishing, Scottish Amateur Film Festival
Clip Length 9:45
Film Length 9.45