Memories recorded at the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival 2011

Great Yarmouth Memories (page I)

By Sarah Woods

Through out the 1950's a local lad used wall paper pattern sample books as scrap books and filled them with newspaper cuttings and personal memories of the herring industry. This was on display at the recent Maritime Festival, on the Great Yarmouth Museums' stand. Inspired by this, visitors recorded their own recollections in a Memory book. Some are the stories are recorded on this page (& page II) 


My Favorite Way to eat Herring

Cook under a grill, mix 1 tbsp of horseradish sauce with 3 tbsp creme fraiche [spoon over to serve] yum!         P.Day

I can remember when my husband used to work in the fish processing factory (now Time & Tide museum). We were newly weds and he used to come home stinking of fish!! I used to make him change his clothes in the shed before he could come indoors.         Anon

In the early 70's I worked at Swanston's unloading lorries. The herrings were in metal trays and they came in through the big doors at the back. We unloaded them. On the odd ocassion an odd different fish used to come in, skate & odds. We used to take it in turns taking them home.         S.Smith

I used to come into Great Yarmouth on a mine sweeper, drink in the local pub & greatful for the fish, crans that the fgishermen used to give us.      Anon

My Great Grandfather, John Collins, was a Beechman, pre 1880, then he went onto trawlers out of Lowestoft. He fell off a mast at sea & died aged 36, leaving a wife & 3 children all under 10. Anna Florence & John shepherd. John had a shop on Regent Rd.         M Collins

My gran used to make me eat a herring every Saturday. The herring were shipped from Gorleston, by the 'Slient Blue' fleet based in Essex. Although I lived in London, my gran was an 'Essex Girl'. The bladder from the herring, my grandad would put on the open fire & I would watch it expand like a balloon & burst. Very happy memories.      Cllr P. Page (GYBC)

My Grandfather, Mr G Norton, was on a herring drifter from Lowestoft & on one of his voyages he saw St Michael Mount, Cornwall. When he retired he went to visit his daughter who lived near Penzance & seeing the mount again filled him with nostalgia for the olden days.         J Frankland

My farther, Alex Sutherland (the boy Andrew was the fishing boat), won the Prunier Trophy in 1936. I fished herring from Frazerburgh to Great Yarmouth (1953-66). I would be in Great Yarmouth from October to early December. We went home for Christmas. After Christmas we went to the west coast of Scotland & fished for herring there.            B.Sutherland

My father, Charlie Wynes, was the skipper on the Rose Hilda. He used to radio my mother to say whether he'd had a good catch & to let us know when he would be back in port. He used to bring bags of fish home & we would feed the neighbourhood.               B. Darwent

My Great Grandfather, early 1880's,is listed in the census as being the Master of a gerring drifter. His name was Herbert or Samuel Sprunt. The Sprunt name in the 1891 census mainly in North East Scotland, Norfolk & Suffolk.      E.Sprunt

I worked at Sutton's fish house 1970 -1972 with two friends, hanging herring in the houses. Money was good & I met some great people hanging fish. I now do Health & Safety!!         C.Smith

My dad was on the Young Cliff & went out one day in the early 1940's, there was a really bad storm. He was ill afterwards & never went back. It done him after that! (dad - Stanley Wenn)            V Hodson

My uncle (D Wenn) was a cooper & a rabbi. He used to come down & bless the herring before they put the top on.      V.Hodson

When we used to get the bus outside the fish store house (now Boots), in the market place to go to school at Greenacres Girl's School, the Scotts fisher girls used to get on as well, by the time we got off the bus at Barkes Rood our clothes were full of scales where we'd been sitting. They used ti sit on the bus & knit.   P.Nicholls

This time of year (Sept), 1949-53, the river was full of drifters & all fishing for herring. some out of Lowestoft. A lot of them were family bnoats from Scotland. The Scots would leave here about Christmas.            J.Taylor

A lady's grandfather, Mr John Grant from Hopeland, Scotland, took Broomfield Yard's three sons, who all did their apprentiships. After the season they would go to the Isle of Man to make the barrels.         Mrs H.Hawkins

In about 1953, we made friends with a Scots fisherman at church. I used to go on board the 'Tea Rose' for dinner (midday). They had a teapot on the boil all the time, the tea was like treacle. We had meat with gravy and we had to wipe our p[lates clean with bread as we had our afters, spotted dick & custard on the same plate!         C.Wooden

My father was a GP & brought the surgery at 20 South Quay in the 1920's. He built up his practice & had a lot of Scots fisherman & their families in the surgery when they needed a doctor. They paid him in herring and once they paid him with an Airdale dog, that had been kept on the ship to keep the cats off.      M.Connell

I remember herrings all over the quay in baskets 1950's when I visited my grandparents. My granddad was a railway porter at Great Yarmouth.         R.Carr

My uncle, Tom, was a stoker on the 'playmates', but had to sign off just before the ship left for it's fishing trip, because of sickness. The Playmates was never seen again after it left for it's voyage. I used to walk from one side of Hamilton Dock to the other on drifters during the season as a boy in Lowestoft. I used to help clean the nets for a feed of herring.         T. Bollard

My uncle Ben (real name Edward) Halliday was lost overboard from the 'Feasible', during a great storm. He waas washed overboard and hauled back in, but was then washed overboard again. It took the whole wheel house - He was lost.      M. Bullard

I can remember seeing the boat leave Great Yarmouth, with a piano on deck. At the end of the season they would go into Woolworths or British Home Stores & take things back to Scotland.            Cliff

As a boy we went down to the quayside, if a mackrel fell out of the catch while they were unloading, we'd take it home and use the bait for fishing.         DW

I'm from Newquay. My mother, Joan Harris, can remember when the Yarmouth boats came into port they would all say "here come the Yarkies". Two boats were the 'Justified' & the 'Justifier'.                                 A Harris

My dad used to have the butcher's shop 'Nicholl's' in the market place in the 1920's. When he saw the boats coming he'd drop everything to go out & get their orders.         B. Chandler



This page was added by Philip Winterburn on 23/09/2011.
Comments about this page

My husband Eric's great grandfather Robert Symonds, was drowned at sea on October 25 1880 after the smack he was on (the Saucy Maid) hit another smack. Two 15 year old boys were also drowned. He was noted as a whaleman. What did a whaleman do? Anyone know?

By Doris Beckett
On 06/03/2014

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