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This fascinating book is a history of the inshore fishing communities between the Tees and the Humber. It describes the fishing seasons and boats and gear they employed and the patterns of domestic life that supported these unique societies. For centuries the knowledge which sustained the traditional culture was passed from generation to generation, but following the introduction of the internal combustion engine to fishing local memories began to fade. In the 1970s Professor Frank set about rescuing as much of that knowledge as survived and this much admired book is the result.
The Yorkshire coble, its building and sailing, are described in detail, as are yawls, ploshers and mules. The trials of the long-lining season, not just for the fishermen confronting the elements in the worst months of the year, but also for the women who gathered the bait from the rocky shore, then prepared it and readied the lines, are dramatically recreated. And there are full descriptions of the herring fishery, of potting for crabs and lobsters, of ‘blashing’ for salmon and sea trout, and of other ways to make ends meet when it was too stormy to put to sea. These included ‘sticking’ for fuel and ‘tatie’ picking, not to mention poaching game now and then. Some of the younger men would sign up for distant voyages on Whitby-registered ocean-going merchant ships; others would get winter work as riggers at the shipyards on the Tees. Dwellings were clustered close to shore in these harbourside villages, which fostered a strong sense of community. Lifeboat service brought out heroic qualities in local people, but the grounding of a ‘rocker’ in calm, foggy weather could sometimes turn fishermen into little short of pirates.
Beautifully illustrated, this book is an essential purchase for dwellers near the Yorkshire coast
The book is richly illustrated with photographs by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe and paintings by J.R. Bagshawe. Ref: 052
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