…blog interrupted…

Well, I haven’t been on here for a bit – but that’s because my computer broke a few weeks back. I should be back on track by the end of this week and back to posting all sorts of lovely trivia on Monday!

Until then, here’s a lovely reel showing Belgian fishermen circa 1938:


Don’t worry, I’m sure there are plenty of sutiably embaressing videos of you all out there too.


British Pathé Revisited

I am slowly falling in love with the British Pathé website – especially the ‘British Instructional Films’. These short films were intended to inform and educate, and mu favourite is this one:

Trawling 1940-1949. A little long at 10 minutes, it takes the viewer through a day at sea with a ship called ‘Jacqueline’. There is a good amount of technical stuff, while the voice-over is in that lovely authoritative BBC World Service accent, guaranteed to ensure tat you are indeed paying attention.

But the ones that caught my attention were these; Nets 1954 and Fishing Industry Exhibition – Grimsby 1956. Both show women (and girls) making nets by – so fast that the eye can barely keep up. Net making is another critical aspect of this PhD study, as the changing materials made stronger nets rather that just larger ones, making pelagic trawling a possibility. Not to mention making their maintenance easier and prolonging the life of the nets significantly. It was in the 1940’s that synthetic materials were first used for fishing nets, eventually replacing natural fibres by 1960.

This also lead me to some footage of a rope factory in the Netherlands, Rope Making Factory for Fishing Fleet 1961. It doesn’t have any sound but it does show the inner workings of the factory, for those as are interested in such things.

A Bygone Craft 1931 caught my attention most of all – but then I wouldn’t mind having a go at building my own coracle!

British Pathé

Here are a couple of rather lovely little videos I found on the British Pathé website:

“a Revolution in Fishing”

It was a certain Mr Clarence Birdseye, himself an American, who invented and revolutionised the concept of frozen food. Frozen food was a challenge then, not just because of the freezing process, but also because in order to sell frozen products, you also have to convince people to buy a freezer to put the product in. Luckily for Clarence his invention took off and he sold his patent for a ludicrously large sum of money.

Freezing had been around before – but at a relatively high temperature and quite slow. This meant when the product thawed, it was dry or mushy and of low quality. Birdseye created the technology to freeze things fast and at a much lower temperature – an idea he got from the Inuit! When he expanded his inventions to plate freezers, the application for using them on board ships became apparent. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Science in Fishing”

Echo sounder, fish finder, sonar, ASDIC – these are terms that have been common to us in the last 50 years – but sonar and ASDIC have a history that runs on to a century now. Developments were started in the 1910’s, but it was during WWI which really kick-started the whole thing with the sudden need to detect submarines. ASDIC was born and developed In 1916-17. Further developments came in WWII, and it after WWII that detection devices entered civilian usage. Strangely enough, there is no proven origin meaning for the initials ASDIC – the theory is that it was derived from the cover name for the project in WWI, it was kept so secret. Sonar came during the 1930’s, and was primarily an American development.

The one is my favourite though – and was something that had never occurred to me as a possibility in ration-stricken Britain:

“Bigger Fish Stil to Come”