This film is part of Free

Sea Harvest

Scenes of the herring harvest filmed at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk by amateur cameraman Mr Croxson who visited the wreck of a drifter recently lost with all her crew.

Documentary 1936 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


Men unload the catch from drifters at the quay and the herring are gutted and packed in barrels by women workers. Their hands sting with the cold and the salt but there is a camaraderie in their work, and the women get a lift together at the end of their shift. Following the gale of 18 November 1936, a beached drifter Pitgavenney stands on the beach at Gorleston, and the Olive Branch lies wrecked at Kessingland, a sad reminder of the risks faced by the fishermen and their families.

The Peterhead drifter Olive Branch capsized near the Corton Lightship and was washed ashore at Kessingland, south of Lowestoft. All nine of her crew were lost, including six members of one family. The crew of Pitgavenney from Banff were rescued at Gorleston. October and November were the main fishing months off the east coast of England as the shoals of herring moved south from Scotland pursued by the Scottish drifters and fisher girls, joining those from the English ports. In 2016 a plaque was unveiled on the look-out building at the end of Gorleston Pier, seen at the start of this film, to celebrate the filming of fishing boats leaving Yarmouth Harbour at that spot in 1896, one of the earliest films recorded.