This film is part of Free

North Sea Fisheries, North Shields (1901)

Girls gut herring on the quay at North Shields while a Showman tries to stir up trouble.

Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent


One of the most impressive sights of the year on the English coast was the herring harvest. Hundreds of women would assemble in a race against time to gut, salt and barrel the fish before they went off. Their rapid gutting technique fascinated filmmakers. The trawler men, down from Scotland and the Islands, were famous for brawling, but they won't be persuaded to throw a fist for the camera.

Mitchell and Kenyon's films abound with images of workers, but because the lack of light made filming indoors impossible in the early 1900s, relatively few of them show anybody actually working - which makes this film particularly special.