C STACY- WATS ON.
PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID
LANDING HERRINGS AT YARMOUTH: OLD STYLE.
"Of all the fish of the sea, Herring is king."
THE SILVERY HOSTS
Mvtlj it ^litttlj of "Quaint ft frannmttjr."
Here is the noblest fishery for herrings in Europe."
SiR H. SPELMAN.
WITH A PREFATORY NOTE
THE EDITOR OF "HOME WORDS."
"HOME WORDS" PUBLISHING OFFICE.
i, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.G.
All rights reserved.
Butler & Tanner,
The Selwoocl Printing Works,
Frome, and London.
OMETHING about Herrings,"
ought to arrest the attention of
everybody : and an introductory
note to the following pages, which
I have been asked to write, seems
to me very much like a work of supererogation.
One thing, however, I can say : many years
ago it was my privilege to acquaint myself
with Yarmouth Herrings on the spot, and to
see a good deal of the processes connected
with the catching, curing, and preparation of
this delicious breakfast luxury ; and knowing
what I do of Mr. C. Stacy- Watson, the author
of this book, I feel I can fairly guarantee not
only the interest of his story, but his special
fitness to be a guide and teacher of those who
desire to become more fully acquainted with
" The Silvery Hosts of the North Sea."
Of Yarmouth itself I can truly say there is
little scenery, but there is plenty to see. It
possesses a certain old-world originality. Butter
is still sold by the "pint." The town is one
vast gridiron, of which the bars are represented
by " Rows " to the number of one hundred
and forty-five. The Parish Church is a grand
structure. The Denes except in windy
weather are delightful. The roadstead has
several times contained the navy of England,
and sometimes over 1,000 vessels are to be
seen riding at anchor. The fisheries, and the
fish, are of course in their season a never-
failing topic. The reader will learn all about
these from Mr. Stacy- Watson ; and as to the
quaint old town, my advice to each is to
resolve to exercise a personal judgment by
making a personal visit.
"It is as prayte a town," said a Royal
Commissioner sent here some three centuries
ago, who ought to have been a Royal Courtier
"It is as prayte a town as I knowe any
where on the sea costes ; and as thriftie and
honest people in the same ; for, in my opinion
it is the prosperest towne, the best bylded,
with most substancyall howses, that I knowe
so near the sea in all your Majestie's realme ! "
" As prayte a town " was safe ground for a
Commissioner three centuries ago, when the
modern annual exodus of England to the sea
was an unknown luxury, and dozens of "de-
lightful localities" had never been heard of
in the busy, and not busy, world of English
society. "As prayte a town" might arouse
considerable difference of opinion now ; but if
I say " praytier than it was three centuries
ago," without making any further comparison,
I shall doubtless satisfy my Yarmouth friends,
and spare my postbag a heavy burden of in-
dignant remonstrances from disinterested
perhaps interested inhabitants.
One word I would add. Let no visitor
omit to read at Yarmouth the marvellous
history of the good work of Sarah Martin.
The annals of benevolence have no nobler
record ; and the story of the poor Yarmouth
dressmaker giving up, as she unaffectedly says,
" a day in a week from dressmaking (by which
I earned my living) to serve the prisoners "
(who at that time had no chaplain), may well
stimulate others to look around to see if there
is not a field of self-denying labour waiting to
be occupied by them.
7, THE PARAGON,
BY THE EDITOR OF "HOME WORDS" . . 5
IGNORANCE OF HABITS, ETC., OF HERRING . . . 13
DESCRIPTION OF HERRING . . . ... 19
BOTTOM-OF-SEA INFLUENCE ON HERRING . % . 25
MIGRATION AND DESTRUCTION OF HERRING. . .30
FISHING IMPLEMENTS AND MODE OF CAPTURE . . 35
HERRING CURING. .. . ; ... . . ... ; . . .44
FOUNDING OF YARMOUTH 53
HERRING FAIR . ^. . . . . . . . 59
TOWN WALL AND HAVEN MOUTH AND OLD TOWN . 64
MODERN TOWN . . .73
How TO COOK THE YARMOUTH HERRING . . 79
VISIT TO A HERRING-CURING ESTABLISHMENT . . 89
MEANINGS AND DERIVATION OF WORDS. . . 94
PRESS NOTICES 96
TESTIMONIALS . 102
LANDING HERRINGS AT YARMOUTH : OLD STYLE Frontispiece
A FISH AUCTION ON YARMOUTH BEACH : OLD STYLE . 12
HAULING IN THE NETS . 35-
YARMOUTH TROLLY FOR CARRYING FISH . . .40.
YARE FISHERY WORKS 5i_
ST. NICHOLAS' CHURCH 52
"Row 120". . . . . . ''* 69
SOUTH COAST TOWER 72^
THE OLD GAOL OR TOLL HOUSE 74
NELSON'S MONUMENT 78
BLACK FRIARS TOWER .... . - .. 93%
IGNORANCE OF HABITS, ETC., OF
HE word Herring is said to be derived
from the German " Her," or in
modern spelling "Heer," an army,
great mimber, multitude; with the
idea also of unity ; and this deriva-
tion gives a very appropriate descrip-
tion of the habit of this fish, for it swims the waters
like a vast and well appointed army, in orderly array
marching to its destination.
Although herring have been fished by the Dutch,
Scandinavian, English, Scotch, and French for cen-
turies, yet the amount of positive knowledge as to its
home and life is very meagre.
The famous Danish ichthyologist, Kroyer, who had
for some time made scientific researches in this direc-
14 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
tion, in his great work, "The Fish of Denmark,"
makes use of these words : " How desirable it is to
gain more insight into the natural history of fish is
strikingly illustrated by the herring, as many points
in its mode of living are still unexplained, and many
fabulous accounts are transmitted from one genera-
tion to another." In the old days, when the unknown
was generally accepted as synonymous with the won-
derful, which last possessed the happy privilege of
reconciling all inconsistences, herrings were supposed
to have their home under the crystal sea of the polar
regions ; there, in quiet seclusion, protected from the
ceaseless greed of their enemies, they sported and
multiplied to such an extent that, their native waters
becoming overcrowded, necessity compelled colonies
of them to seek out a new world for themselves ; the
surplus population, as was supposed, migrating
annually in several large columns towards the south.
Upon leaving the protection of their icy covering
they were quickly attacked by hungry enemies in
their own element, and by fierce birds of prey dart-
ing down upon them from above, all on the eager
watch for a bonne-bouche ; and thus they were driven
into shallow seas, and into the bays and inlets of the
British Isles and the Scandinavian coasts, there to be
snared for the delectation of unsophisticated palates.
Of late years, thanks to scientists on the Continent,
and the evidence collected by the United States
Government, and by the late Frank Buckland, a little
more light is being thrown upon the several questions
awaiting solution. The evidence, as it now stands,
IGNORANCE OF HABITS, ETC., OF HERRING. 15
shows conclusively that, instead of a single tribe,
there are several distinct varieties of herring, each
having its own particular haunt. Thus, the Shetland
can be distinguished from the Ballantrae, the East
Coast from the West Coast, and the Yarmouth from
the North Sea fish ; while, on the Norwegian coasts,
varieties are found which differ from the Scotch and
the Dutch, and these again from herring taken on
the French coast. Thus the many varieties of her-
ring found on the coasts washed by the North Sea
prove that they do not come from one common tribe,
from the polar regions or elsewhere, as formerly sup-
posed ; the probability being that each variety has
its own particular home in the deeper water outside
that coast which it frequents during the spawning
season. It has been noted by Cuvier and Valen-
ciennes, "that on the northern coasts of France, and
not far apart, are two tribes of herrings, each of
which has its separate home in certain basins of the
sea, and that these tribes never intermingle."
In his Report on the Herring Fisheries of Scotland,
Frank Buckland gives it as his opinion that, instead
of migrating from the Arctic regions, the herring
comes up from the deeper water outside towards the
shore ; and he notes that the fishermen of Montrose
now go out some sixty to eighty miles to meet the
herrings coming in, instead of, as formerly, fishing
within some twenty miles of the coast. Also, that
when the herring-fishing season is over, the fish hav-
ing departed, cod-fish roaming the deeper waters are
caught with herrings in their stomachs. M. A. Boeck,
16 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
in his report to the International Exhibition at Ber-
gen, says that the result of his observations leads
him to conclude that herring, in general, inhabit
the great submarine depths, and that they do not
take up their quarters beyond the 65 latitude.
The proper home of the herring is the North Sea
and the Atlantic, and the seas connected with them,
such as the Baltic and the Kattegat ; thus the her-
ring ranges along the coasts of Norway, Sweden,
Denmark, France, British Isles, Greenland, and the
north-east coasts of North America.
" The appearance of the herring first in the north,
then gradually farther south, the wealth of the fish
near the Dogger Bank, which is washed by cold water
during the months of April to June, are hints point-
ing to the intimate connection existing between the
temperature of the sea and its animal life."
There are three conditions of sea water which
exercise a decided influence over its animal and
vegetable life, viz., temperature, saltness, and currents.
Shallow waters are subject to more frequent and
greater ranges of temperature than are deep waters,
and seas which, like the Baltic, receive large masses
of fresh water from rains and melting snows, also
differ considerably in saltness. As observed by one
of the writers of the reports issued by the United
States Government (a noble example which might
be followed with advantage by others, and to whom,
as well as to other writers, we are indebted for much
valuable information, for all of which we here grate-
fully acknowledge our obligations), the North Sea
IGNORANCE OF HABITS, ETC., OF HERRING. 17
itself differs, the one part of it from another, in depth
and in saltness ; and consequently, to some extent,
in temperature, all of which affect the animal and
vegetable life subject to them. As to depth, the
North Sea may be divided into three zones : the
shallowest including the Dogger Bank, the coast
waters of Schleswig Holstein, and. Jutland, commu-
nicating with the ocean only through the narrow
British Channel ; the middle zone, extending from
the north of the Dogger Bank to a line drawn from
Peterhead in Scotland, to Cape Skagen in Jutland,
has a greater depth of water, receiving those brought
down by the Baltic, which are much less salt than
the ocean ; and the third zone, which is the deepest
of the three, stretching northward from Peterhead,
having a free communication with the Atlantic and
the cold water coming down from under the paleo-
crystic seas. The influence of the winds upon the
herring fishery is still an open question ; but it has
been found that under certain conditions, when a
coast is exposed to strong winds blowing towards it,
herrings will not approach ; that with a continuation
of stormy weather there is a very serious decrease
in the catch ; and that a violent gale precludes all
possibility of fishing*
Under somewhat altered conditions a breeze may
be an advantage ; thus it is in evidence that at Peter-
head (Scotland), after a northerly breeze herring are
always to be had on that coast, and very heavy takes
have been made during thunder.
The evidence collected by the late Frank Buckland;
i8 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
in Scotland, not only indicates that temperature
exercises an important influence upon the fishing ;
but, that as the temperature increases, the herring
rise from the bottom and swim at a higher level
during the spawning period. Thus at Wick, where
a deep sea thermometer had been in use for some
years, it was observed that when the temperature fell
to 53 there was no catch, while when it rose to 55
in the day, and 54 at night, fishermen have had the
best of catches. Dutch scientists have also found
that more fish are caught at a temperature of 12 to
14 Celsius, 5 3 '6 to 57-2 Fah., than at any other time.
"Dutch herring-boats are therefore always supplied
with a thermometer, which enables them to place the
net at a proper depth."
During his stay on the west coast of Norway,
Boeck constantly noticed the temperature, and noted
down a large number of observations during different
years. In his report for 1862, he showed the in-
fluence of cold on the herring-fishery. In that year
he examined the temperature at different depths.
The weather had been calm, but a severe cold had
prevailed for some time, by which the temperature
of the sea at a depth of ten fathoms had been brought
as low as I J or 2, Reaumur, while at a depth of thirty
fathoms it was from 3 to 4. He further noticed in
the same year that at some of the rich fisheries, when
the fishing implements were placed at a depth of ten
fathoms below the surface but few herrings were
caught ; while others, placed at a depth of from fifty
to sixty fathoms, caught a large number.
DESCRIPTION OF HERRING.
HE Herring, from the breadth of its
back, is a good swimmer. This
breadth is due to masses of flesh on
either side of the backbone. On
cutting through a herring at right
angles to the backbone, the form will
be seen to be that of an egg-shaped oval, the breadth
being greatest about the level of, or a little above,
the vertebra. On each side of the backbone are the
large muscles, each composed of fine fibres, which
collectively exercise the strong motive power needed
by the herring when swimming. By shortening the
muscles of the left side, the back part of the body
bends towards the left, and by shortening the muscles
on the right side, the back of the body bends to the
right ; these movements alternating with each other,
and rapidly repeated, impel the fish forward, while
the fins keep the body in the right position in the
water, or deflect its course as desired. It has 2
pectoral, 2 ventral, I dorsal, i anal, and i caudal
20 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
fin, the lower lobe of which is somewhat longer
than the upper; the tail is considerably forked.
Dorsal fin, 19 ; pectoral, 17 ; ventral, 9 ; anal, 17 ;
caudal, 20 rays ; and 56 vertebrae.
The scales adhere so loosely that in hauling the
nets, or in handling the fish, they come off with the
" The gill-covers at the sides of the head, back of
and below the eyes, are alternately opened and
closed by the fish, in order to draw in water for
breathing through the mouth over the gills, to be
discharged through the gill opening. Each gill-cover
consists of four bony plates. Below these is joined
to the third and fourth plates a skin or membrane,
kept extended by means of small bones. It has four
pairs of gill-arches ; to these are fastened at the back
two rows of gristly gill-leaflets, which are covered
with so thin a skin that in the live fish they look
dark red from the blood passing through them. In
front the arches of the gills have a dense row of
slender appendages, technically called gill-rakers, on
each side of them. All water which the herring
takes in its mouth to let it flow out again over the
gills in breathing, must pass through the fine grating
formed by these spinous points. By this process all
small animals which, with the water^ enter the mouth
and gill-cavity are retained in it, and accumulate
till they are swallowed. This enables the herring,
whenever the water is full of small life, to fill its
stomach in a short time with thousands of them. In
the abdominal cavity of fully grown herrings, the
DESCRIPTION OF HERRING. 21
sexual organs, the ovaria, and spermaries take up the
largest room. As soon as the eggs and milt are fully
matured, they pass from their envelopes through a
narrow tube toward an opening which is immediately
back of the anus. The intestinal canal starts from
the stomach, at whose back there are hollow tubes,
which, when food is plentiful, are filled with a fatty
juice. In front of the stomach there is a short and
wide cavity ; from the stomach a tube, the pneumatic
duct, passes to the swimming bladder, which shines
like silver, and has the shape of a spindle. On either
side of the swimming bladder are the kidneys, and
between these, and close below the spine, there is
a large blood vessel, in which a large portion of the
blood which has passed through the gills is conveyed
to the lower part of the body."
The herring when it leaves the egg is about as thin
as a ribbon, and almost as transparent as the water
in which it swims. In Scotland the smallest fully
matured herring measure 215 millimeters, whilst
on the coast of Norway they measure 225, and are
supposed to reach their full size in their fourth year.
That the herring is exceedingly prolific may be
readily supposed from a consideration of the vast
quantities which, having escaped the many egg-
devourers, are yearly destroyed by their ever vigilant
enemies. The quantity of herring taken in the
thousands of miles of netting spread for them by all
the fishermen engaged in their capture is but small
in comparison with what is destroyed by birds and
fish. When herring take to the deep water, they
22 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
are hunted by the cod-fish and other deep swimmers ;
while, if they rise to the top, surface swimmers and
sea birds follow them as long as they remain in sight.
If the herring were not possessed of enormous re-
productive powers, they would long ago have become
as extinct as the dodo.
Frank Buckland, in his Report, gives the following
table as the result of his calculation of the number
of eggs carried by the female :
Weight of Fish.
Weight of Roe.
No. of Eggs.
Bloch, in his history of the herring, computes the
number at 68,000 ; other ichthyologists give from
21,000 to 36,000. M. de la Blanchere gives 70,000;
the great difference between the numbers stated
above may, perhaps, be reconciled if we suppose the
examples to have been taken from fish of different
In the very interesting report referred to above,
Frank Buckland quotes Dr. Letheby's chemical
analysis of the herring, in comparison with beef as a
food, and makes a calculation of its enormous value
to the population. According to Dr. Letheby's cal-
culation, beef contains 1,854 grs. carbon, and 184 grs.
nitrogen ; herrings, 1,435 grs. carbon, and 217 grs.
nitrogen. According to this, the herring is inferior to
DESCRIPTION OF HERRING. 23
beef as a heat producer, but is much richer as a flesh
former. Following Buckland's method of reckon-
ing three fresh herrings to one pound, and eight
pounds to the stone, and an average bullock at sixty
such stones, and comparing the price of butcher's
meat with the price of herrings, the advantage is
immensely on the side of the fish. Taking beef at
an average, say of I2d. per pound, and three fresh
herrings, which, as a rule, will weigh one pound, at
4<^., the cost of beef is three times greater than that
of herring. The difference in value to the nation,
when we are dealing with such large totals, is well
worthy of the very serious consideration of those
who may have it in their power to develop and
encourage such a grand source of wealth. Reckoned
on this basis, one last of herrings is equivalent to a
fraction over nine bullocks. The quantity of herrings
landed at Yarmouth during the regular fishing seasons
for the last ten years, excluding the spring and
summer fisheries, amounts to 149,152 lasts; or
reckoned in bullocks, it gives the enormous number
of 1,367,226, or an average of 136,722 bullocks per
year. The demand for herrings, both from abroad
and at home, increases year by year, side by side
with increased facilities of transport. More railways
on the Continent mean more markets ; cheaper
freights mean larger demands for the silvery wealth
circling the shores of Albion. When it is considered
that such a mass of food as the above is won out of
the waters by the crews fishing from the single port
of Yarmouth, during the short season of four months
24 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
in the year, and the cheapness of the herring as a
food when compared with flesh foods raised on land,
the value from a national point of view of the herring
fisheries round the British coasts cannot be over-
The following table may interest the reader :
Number of herrings caught in Scotland
in 1882, on the east coast, including
the Lewis and Bara early fishings . . 584,578,400
At Great Yarmouth, not including spring
or summer fishings 224,400,000
* Exported from Norway, Sweden, France,
and Holland to three Baltic ports . . 140,128,500
Total . . . 949,106,900
As the writer has no statistics for Whitby, Scar-
borough, Grimsby, and the frequent other fishing
stations on the English coast, the reader will under-
stand that the figures given above by no means re-
present the total catch of herrings ; they are given
simply with a view of indicating the probable magni-
tude and value of this one particular industry.
* Statistics give these in number of barrels. Norwegian
barrels run from 450 to 550 per barrel ; a mean of 500 per barre
has been taken for this.
BOTTOM-OF-SEA INFLUENCE ON
iHE character of the bottom of the
sea exercises a very material influ-
ence upon its vegetable life, and, con-
sequently, upon the kind of fish
frequenting its waters ; and not only
the character of the bottom, as to
whether it be clay, sand, gravel, or rock, but also its
configuration. The bottom of the sea, like the sur-
face of the land, has its hills and valleys, its broad
flat plains and its dark gullies, its steep ridges and its
deep channels, the different kinds of fish finding in
these differences of the bottom that which suits their
own habits best. The herring has its favourite swims,
which are as sharply defined as the bottom is strongly
marked. Mr. Boeck, during the time he was com-
missioned by the Norwegian Government to examine
the herring fisheries, made certain experiments by
placing nets in the Channel between Roaer and Faeo,
and stretching towards Hauskeskaer ; and another
26 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
chain, the greater part of which stood on rocks, with
only one end of it reaching the channel. He found
the nets placed in the channel caught a large number
of herrings, while those on the rocks caught none,
except in that portion touching the channel ; and he
draws attention to the "large level places at the
bottom of the sea covered with rough gravel, which
in calm weather are the herrings' favourite spawning
places." He raised with the dredge large lumps of
roe and gravel intermixed, and he notices that "in
these places the largest number of herring is invari-
ably caught." In other places, frequented by the
herring in spawning time, large masses of spawn
have been dragged up from the bottom in the form
of thick cakes, likened to tapioca pudding, and fisher-
men often find the spawn sticking to their nets, which
it does by means of a glutinous substance which
hardens soon after being extruded from the fish.
In Scotland, herring spawn in August to Septem-
ber ; on the east coast of England from September to
October and November ; and in the English Channel
later still in the autumn.
Herring are known as hard and soft roed : the hard
roe being the female, and the soft the male. The roe
is composed of thousands of small eggs, while the
milt is the fertilizer. When the spawn (the roe) is first
extruded, it is found covered with a sticky substance
which, as the eggs fall to the bottom, or come into
contact with other substances, causes them to adhere
firmly. Their period of development depends largely
upon temperature : in cold weather they take eighteen
BOTTOM-OF-SEA INFLUENCE ON HERRING. 27
days, while in warm they may take no more than
six days. In the Baltic, with its lower temperature,
it is said they do not leave the egg in less than forty
days. Referring again to the reports issued by the
United States Government, "The development of the
egg can easily be observed with the naked eye. As
soon as the little fish begins to form inside the egg,
the two eyes are distinctly seen in the otherwise trans-
parent egg, like two black dots." The body of the fish,
when hatched, is as transparent as the water, which
enables it to escape some of its argus-eyed foes. For
a time after being hatched the abdominal cavity is still
filled by what may be called the yolk, during which
time it requires no other food, but lies about at the
bottom, making curious little jerky movements. In
the course of a few days, when the yolk has been
absorbed, the little creatures begin to swim about in
shoals with wide-open mouths, eager to become better
acquainted with their portion of the universe, which
they find in the embryo of gasteropods, etc., with which
they quickly fill themselves for near their whole length.
When they have passed their first stage, which may
be called the larva, that is, the " baby," they begin to
put on their shining silver armour; but being yet
only juveniles, and everything new to them, they keep
the even balance of their scales by deserting the now
dangerous shallow waters for the deeper seclusion of
their progenitors. Here the gay young knights
develop into the " middle form," at which time they
are generally very fat. From this they are promoted,
by the law of seniority, to the rank known as " ma-
28 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
ture," when they enter upon the serious duties of life,
making preparations for the fulfilment of the respon-
sibilities of their being. They are supposed to reach
their full size in their fourth year, when, having thus
far escaped their numerous enemies, their experience
gives them some little chance in life, not much,
however, while curing-houses exist.
Herring feed mostly on small crustaceans, which
inhabit various localities in myriads, and also on crab
spawn, sea-lice, and eels, shrimps, small fry of other
fish, not always sparing their own offspring. At
certain seasons they feed on small oily aquatic ani-
mals, at which time they are no more fit for human
food than an alderman, save among sharp-set canni-
bals. The herring is gregarious, swimming in shoals
that may be likened to the regiments of an army on
the march : the smaller schools of a given locality
gathering together to form this grand army, the
whole being led by the larger and stronger fish, the
weaker falling back to the rear, where they become a
prey to the demon dog-fish and whales, which hang
about the skirts of them. They all swim in the same
direction. If, for any reason, the leaders turn, the
school makes the same movement. As a rule, they
move in a straight, or slightly-curved, line ; but
sometimes they wheel about, when those in the centre
remain stationary, while the outer members pass
through the water rapidly. When they move swiftly
in large masses, a peculiar glitter is produced upon
the surface of the water, called by fishermen " herring-
light." The old amphibious Norseman, half fisher-
BOTTOM-OF-SEA INFLUENCE ON HERRING. 29
man and half warrior, took a lesson from the herring
when, leaving the "briny deep," he went on the
war-path, marching, as it occasionally does, in wedge
form. About the spawning season the school at
times attains such large dimensions as to be known
as " herring mountain." They enjoy fine weather as
well as other creatures, manifesting their pleasure by
sporting about at the surface, and beating the water
with their dorsal fins, splashing each other with
showers of spray. Fishermen call this " the play of
the herring," and consider it a favourable sign for
their fishing. Herring very seldom, save in excep-
tional circumstances, live in solitude. Swedish fisher-
men refer to a variety met with on their coasts, which
they call " the wandering herring," the arrival of
which is observed with displeasure. It has the repu-
tation of being among herrings what the " rogue " is
among elephants, it does no good to anybody, but
chases better company away.
MIGRATION AND DESTRUCTION OF
^ERRINGS sometimes migrate to
places with which fishermen would
be glad to become acquainted.
Fisheries which have been profitable
for years have suddenly ceased, and
again been abundant, and again
ceased. That they should, when they find a given
locality deficient in food, seek like others to better
their lot in life, is only reasonable ; and it is only
reasonable, also, to conclude that their enemies, in-
creasing through becoming thoroughly acquainted
with their haunts, make their residence too hot for
them. Many fishermen believe that every fish that
swims, as well as the birds of the air, live off the
herring ; and no wonder if they do, seeing what a
delicate morsel it is, fit for the palate of kings if un-
spoiled by outlandish cookery. Fishermen fishing
with long line in the deeper water often take cod-fish
with several herrings in them ; dog-fish hunt them
MIGRATION AND DESTRUCTION OF HERRING. 31
like packs of wolves ; the whale with wide gaping
mouth skims the sea and fills himself with the cream
of it. The shark, the salmon, and the cuttle-fish take
their bite, certainly no mean one. Frank Buckland
makes an interesting calculation of the loss inflicted
by the cod-fish and the ling below, and by the
gannet above. He says : " It is a very common
thing to find a cod-fish with six or seven large
herrings, of which not one has remained long enough
to be digested, in his stomach. If, in order to be
safe, we allow a cod-fish only 2 herrings per diem,
and let him feed on herrings for only seven months
in the year, then 2 herrings x 210 days = 420 herrings
as his allowance during that time. In round numbers,
3,500,000 cod, ling, and hake were taken in Scotland
alone in 1876. It would be a great exaggeration to
suppose that one cod was taken out of every twenty
in the sea ; but assuming that five per cent, of the cod
in the sea were actually caught, 70,000,000 cod, ling,
and hake must have existed off the coasts and islands
of Scotland. If, however, each of these 70,000,000
cod, ling, and hake consumed 420 herrings a year, they
must together have consumed 29,400,000,000 herrings,
or twelve times more than all the herrings caught by
Scotch, English, Irish, Dutch, French, and Norwegian
fishermen put together; and nearly thirty-seven
times as many herrings as are taken by Scotch fisher-
men alone." Following the same method of calcula-
tion, it is estimated that the gannets upon Ailsa
Craig number not less than 10,000, and that they
destroy 21,600,000 herrings per year; and on the
32 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
assumption that there are fifty gannets in the rest
of Scotland for every one on Ailsa Craig, the Scotch
gannets alone consume 1,110,000,000 herrings.
Estimated destruction of herring off
the coasts of Scotland by cod,
ling, and hake 29,400,000,000
By gannets 1,110,000,000
Total . 30,510,000,000
or meat-food equivalent to over 21,000,000 bullocks
destroyed by only four enemies of the herring. This
destruction refers to only one small portion of coast
washed by the North Sea ; if we add to this the
enemies frequenting the long line of Norwegian
coast, with its numerous rocky islands and points
jutting out into the sea, such as wild fowl love to
inhabit, the above total sinks into insignificance. In
1877, according to reports furnished to the United
States Fishery Commission, the number of cod-fish
taken by Norwegian fishermen were :
In the LofFodon Islands 29,500,000
Other fisheries of the North 4,500,000
At Finmark 17,500,000
At Sondmore, Romsdal, Nordmore . . . 8,500,000
Estimated yield of smaller fisheries along
the coast 7,500,000
Total . 67,500,000
The above total does not include the cod fisheries of
Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, for which estimates
are not at hand. Estimating upon the same basis
as before, that for every cod-fish taken twenty have
MIGRATION AND DESTRUCTION OF HERRING. 33
been left in the sea, there must have been off the
Norwegian coasts 1,350,000,000 cod-fish, and it is
in evidence that as soon as the herring makes its
appearance off the coast, cod-fish will leave off feed-
ing upon anything else, and at once greedily pursue
the glittering silver herring ; in fact, so fond of herring
are cod-fish, that when fishermen bait their hooks
with old salt herring in place of fresh, when this is
not at hand, the cod will snap at the salt rather than
have none at all; and should the herring make off
from the coast, the cod follow them, for which reason
cod-fishing seasons are sometimes prematurely closed,
and the fishing spoilt. The cod greedily fills himself
with herring ; and as he quickly loses his lean con-
dition and gets fat on it, it will be well within the
mark to allow every cod 6 herrings per day. Accord-
ing to evidence, as before stated, collected by Frank
Buckland, that quantity has been found undigested
in its stomach when caught ; and allowing him to
feed at this rate for only 30 days in the year, we get
the enormous total of 243,000,000,000 herrings de-
stroyed by only one of its enemies in the short
space of one month along this line of coast. This
quantity if put into railway trucks, such as are used
to carry herrings from Yarmouth to the interior
markets in England, would require 4,602,272 trucks,
or over 153,000 trains of 30 trucks to the train.
With engines, tenders, and brakes this reaches the
aggregate length of 16,300 miles, or united end to
end would stretch considerably over half-way round
the world. This alone, without counting the herring
34 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
destroyed on the British coasts, would give 19
herrings, equal to 6 Ibs. meat food, for each member
of the population of the United Kingdom for every
day in the year.
Herrings destroyed by cod, ling, and
hake off Scotch coasts .... 29,400,000,000
By gannets. 1,110,000,000
Norwegian cod ........ 243,000,000,000
Total . 273,510,000.000
A total which, if translated into bullocks, would
make a herd numbering nearly one hundred and
ninety millions. In addition to these are the dog-
fish, the whale, coal-fish, porpoise, seal, pollack, cuttle-
fish, salmon, and shark, with myriad clouds of wild
birds not included, all of them implacable hunters of
the herring, whose devastations it would be impos-
sible to estimate. We may safely assume that the
herrings captured by all the fishermen engaged in
the North Sea do not amount to the thousandth
part of the number destroyed by enemies which have
not, in comparison, one tenth of their value.
FISHING IMPLEMENTS AND MODE OF
THE nets used for
vary in length and num-
ber of mesh, according to the
waters fished and mode of fishing.
Thus, in the Bay of Soraka, in the White
Sea, during the winter months, holes are made
in the ice for the nets, which range from 1 12 to 245 feet
long, by 17 to 28 feet deep ; while their autumn fish-
ing is done with nets 56 feet long, which are attended
by a couple of boats, each manned by three men, the
nets that are hauled in from the shore being from
350 to 700 feet long. In Sweden nets are used vary-
ing from 35 to 120 fathoms long, by 12 to 26 yards
deep, meshes ranging from 1 8 to 24 to the yard. In
Deep Sacke Bay the nets are from 40 to 45 fathoms,
by 8 to 10 fathoms deep, 30 meshes to the yard. In
Scotland nets run 60 yards by 18 to 20 deep, with
meshes varying from 33 to 42 to the yard, and their
boats carry from 40 to 80 nets, which are now gene-
rally made of cotton, This being about half the
36 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
weight of hemp, allows a boat to carry double the
length of net formerly used. The substitution of
cotton for hemp will be seen to be of great import-
ance when it is noted that at the Lewis and Bara
fishing, in Scotland, last year (1882), there were 1,300
boats engaged ; so that at a moderate computation
they spread nearly 2,000 miles of netting, instead of
half that quantity ; and off Fraserburg, on a good
night, there will be 1,000 miles of net set.
Yarmouth boats are considerably larger than the
Scotch, and carry more nets and hands. The original
cost of a first-class drifter of the largest size (Yar T
mouth), hull and spars, ready for sea, ranges from
1,000 to 1,200; to this must be added nets and
fishing gear, which increases her total by from 400
to 500 more. The same remarks apply also to the
Lowestoft boats, many of which, from the greater
number of herring buyers, frequent the Yarmouth
haven in preference to their own. These boats ave-
rage twelve hands eleven men and one boy each.
During the season of 1882 there fished from Yarmouth
some 400 Yarmouth boats of from 15 to 40 tons; 200
under 15 tons; 150 boats from Lowestoft ; 250 from
Scotland, and some 30 from other places, more than
1,000 boats, employing about 1 1,000 souls, and spread-
ing over 2,000 miles of net. Yarmouth boats carry
from 100 to 1 80 nets, which measure 30 yards by n
yards deep, with 32 meshes to the yard. Thus a single
boat, according to her size, spreads from I J to 3 miles
In July the Yarmouth herring boats are busy
FISHING IMPLEMENTS-MODE OF CAPTURE. 37
making their preparations for the North Sea fishing,
which begins in August. During the winter months,
after the closing of the herring season at Christmas,
the stronger boats have their masts and rigging taken
out of them, and others of an entirely different design
put in, suitable for another class of fishing, called
trawling. Others are hauled up high and dry in the
ship yards, where they are thoroughly overhauled,
the previous season's damages repaired, and the boats
brightened up with another coat of paint. In due
course they take to their native element again, when,
fitted with their gear, salt, and stores, and with
their crews aboard, the boats are speedily towed by
steam tugs out of the haven into the roads, presenting
a lively and picturesque scene. The larger boats
make for the Dogger Bank, while the smaller do not
go out so far, but fish about the Great Silver Pit, or
nearer to the land. On arrival at their intended fish-
ing-ground, the nets are shot (put overboard). With
a favourable breeze the nets are shot over the waist
(side), the warp i.e. the strong rope to which the
nets are secured along their upper side by finer lines,
which regulate the depth at which the nets are to be
sunk passes over the stern, and the boat, sailing away
from the spot, the length of nets is passed into the
water, and the mast lowered. If the weather is too
rough for this mode of shooting, the mast is first
lowered, and then the nets " tumbled " over the waist
as before ; but the warp is paid out over the bows,
and the boat drifts away from the spot where the first
nets entered the water. By these means the one and
38 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
a half to three miles of netting carried by the boat are
stretched out in a long straight line, the upright
position of the nets in the water being maintained by
buoys, called bowles, and cork floats secured to their
upper edge, while their own weight causing them to
sink preserves them in the form of a long perforated
wall. A few more fathoms of warp are paid out, to
which the boat swings, and nets and boat together
drift with the current or tide. The boat, being more
susceptible to the wind cr current than the nets,
maintains a constant strain upon them, which keeps
the nets in an even, extended line, and so prevents the
wash of the waves from causing them to foul one an-
other. A watch of two men is set, relieved every two
hours, and the regulation light put up. The nets are
tried every two hours, by hauling up two or three of
them.; and as soon as they are thought to show fair
signs of capture, they are hauled in by steam gear,
if the boat has it ; if not, by four men, who in their
tramping round and round walk some eight miles,
the other hands being engaged, each in his appointed
place, attending to the nets and fish as both are being
got on board. Should the nets, after hauling has
begun, show signs of the catch getting poorer, the
remaining nets are not hauled, but those already in
are again shot. In the event of a material change of
wind occurring after the nets are shot, the whole fleet
of boats is obliged to haul in the nets as quickly as
possible, and re-shoot ; otherwise the many miles of
net out would soon get into inextricable confusion,
resulting in great loss.
FISHING IMPLEMENTSMODE OF CAPTURE. 39
Occasionally a single haul is sufficient to send the
boat dancing, as fast as wind and weather will let her,
into port, which may be Whitby, Scarborough, Grims-
by, or Great Yarmouth, according to the particular
ground the boat has been fishing, and the direction
of the wind. As the herrings draw nearer the coast,
coming farther south, the boats follow them, fishing
the Great Silver Pit, the Coal Pit, the Little Silver
Pit, working their way south, taking in Smith's Knoll
and neighbourhood, finishing the season a little south
of Lowestoft a day or two before Christmas, by which
time, as the herrings have completed their spawning,
the boats lose them. The Scotch boats which come
up for the Yarmouth season, being smaller, and carry-
ing nets of a lighter thread, do not go out so far, but
fish just off the Yarmouth sands, and run into port
with their fish fresh.
When the larger boats approach the Yarmouth
roadstead with their silvery freight, steam tugs, which
are constantly on the watch, tow them up to the
fish wharf; for if they have any fresh herrings on
board, it is especially needful to get these to the
market as quickly as possible, while they are yet in
their primest condition, as they are wanted for the
best class of bloaters ; consequently the prices paid
for such "stuff" is frequently three times as much
as is paid for "salt stuff." On arrival at the fish
wharf, " tellers " (men who count the herrings), step
on board, and count the fish into light wicker baskets,
each basket as it is filled is passed on shore to the
mate, who empties it into larger baskets of a different
40 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
shape, called " swills," which hold five of the smaller
ones, that is, five hundred herrings ; twenty of these
swills making a " last."
At this point the herrings come into the charge
of the fish salesman, who sells them by auction. As
previously noted, herrings, when on the march, occa-
sionally move in such close and compact order, and
with their outer lines so sharply defined, that nets
YARMOUTH TROLLY FOR CARRYING FISH.
shot within a few fathoms of each other differ very
widely in their catches. Sometimes a single haul
will give such a large quantity of fish that the boat
at once sets sail for her port. In 1882, the " Snaefell,"
of Yarmouth, made such a haul, taking i8f lasts, or
247,000 herrings. The largest number landed, during
the same season, as the fruit of a single voyage, which
may include the shooting and hauling of the nets
several times, was brought in by the "Corisande,"
FISHING IMPLEMENTS-MODE OF CAPTURE. 41
which landed 2/J lasts, or 363,000 herring ; but such
takes are quite exceptional.
The harvest of the sea differs very materially from
that of the land. When the season for in-gathering
comes round, the farmer, as he watches the weather
day by day, can form something of an estimate as
to the probable result of his labours. He may insure
his growing crops against loss by hail ; but the harvest
of the fishermen swims fathoms deep out of sight,
and no office will grant him an insurance policy upon
it until he has gathered it in, when he does not need
it. The fisherman may insure, at a considerable
premium, the hull and spars of his boat, but no office
will insure his nets, which may be torn to pieces by
some of the larger fish, or lost through storms ;
happy is he if he only loses his nets. Storms
in the North Sea are frequent and bitter, rising
suddenly, and often compelling the boats, though
fish may be abundant and the nets just shot, to leave
their nets and seek a place of shelter without delay.
November, which should give the largest and best
yield of herring to the Yarmouth fishermen, may be,
as in 1882, one continued succession of gales, not
enough to drive the fish quite away, but sufficient
to spoil the fishing in the very month when the fish
are at their best, and when they should be most
plentiful. Some years ago the Government sent out
an expedition to make a scientific investigation of
the bottom of foreign seas. The time occupied and
the distance traversed were considerable, and the
information gained very interesting to scientific
42 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
minds; but, however interesting the results of the
few scratches made by the dredge here and there at
the bottom of the waters thousands of miles away
from the haunts of man may have been, they could
not equal in interest and value those which might
be gained by a thorough investigation of the North
Sea, if carried out upon a scale adequate to the
interests in view. The area known to fishermen
within which they find herring for a very brief period
is comparatively small ; and with all the experience
inherited, fishermen yet largely depend upon the
enemies of their wealth to show them where to find
it. Herring are migratory in the limited sense of
dwelling in one place and spawning in another ; the
knowledge that is wanted is, where do they dwell
after completing this operation ? While preparing
for this, herrings take little or no food ; so that when
they have emptied themselves of their burden, the
long, lean, hungry creatures, enfeebled by their
labours, must needs seek the friendly shelter of
deeper waters, where they quickly recover form,
when they would be again a valuable reward to the
If we draw a line from the Norwegian coast to
the Shetland Isles, and follow the coast lines of
Britain, France, Holland, and Jutland, carrying the
line along the Norwegian coast to the starting point,
we have a large basin which is a home of wealth
far beyond many gold fields. For want of informa-
tion, we fish but a small portion of this basin beyond
the Dogger Bank and its neighbourhood, and what
FISHING IMPLEMENTS MODE OF CAPTURE. 43
may be called the lip of the basin ; the greater part
of the North Sea is practically unfished. If the
North Sea were divided into squares of moderate
size, and each square dredged and netted at different
depths each month of the year, careful note being
made of every fact, the configuration and the char-
acter of the bottom, its temperature, vegetable life,
and the fish frequenting its waters at the time,
whether at the bottom or at different depths ; the
stomach of the fish carefully examined to see what
it was feeding on when caught, a mass of facts would
be gained which would undoubtedly lead to such an
increase of wealth, in comparison with which our
present catch would seem but a trifle. The enemies
of our marine wealth, instead of being viewed as
friendly pilots showing us where we could get a bite,
would be regarded as vermin, and treated accord-
ingly. If such an investigation of the North Sea
were thought to be too great an undertaking for a
single Government, it is surely within the powers of
diplomacy to arrange with other countries to share
the glory of opening up such a grand source of
wealth to each, whose fishermen now reap less than
a tithe of the harvest at present hidden from them
in the deeper recesses and secret channels of the
CCORDING to the spirit of the ancient
proverb, " having caught our hare " we
are in a position to submit its merits
to the good offices of the cook ;
but as this fish is such a very
delicate morsel, as good to eat as
it was beautiful to look at when it was caught in the
mesh of the fisherman's net, it is necessary first to
preserve its otherwise fleeting appetizing qualities.
This is done by submitting it to the friendly action
of salt or smoke, or both combined, which is accom-
plished in what are called " curing houses " or
" curing works."
A complete and well-arranged herring curing
works consists of lofty ranges of smoke houses,
spacious barfe houses, commodious chambers, pick-
ling pits, store houses for salt, etc., with cooperage,
stables, and comfortable dwelling-house for the fore-
man of the works. Each smoke house is divided
into "rooms" about 4 feet wide, and from 16 to
20 feet long, according to the depth of the house.
HERRING CURING. 45
These rooms, however, are unlike those of dwelling-
houses, being formed by open partitions, which rest
upon strong baulks of timber spanning the house
from front to back, about seven feet from the brick
floors. The partitions consist of substantial studs
placed about four feet apart, reaching from the
baulks to the roof ; across these are fastened a series
of horizontal ledges at equal distances, running
parallel to each other from top to bottom, upon
which the spits, strung with herrings, are hung, and
exposed to the currents of air and smoke as long as
requisite. These are called " loves ; " the word,
doubtless, being derived from the German word
"Luft," the //being softened into v, as in knife, knives :
the word means air ; " Luften," to expose to the air.
Oblong apertures are left in the walls at the ends of
the rooms when building the houses, and fitted with
moveable shutters to control the currents of air, and
to regulate the heat during smoking. Barfe houses are
spacious rooms with brick floors, in which the herrings
are received, salted, and washed. Spacious chambers
are provided for stowing the numerous empty
packages required, which are made between the fish-
ing seasons, in order that the people may be free to
attend solely to the work incidental to curing when
the fish come to hand. The pickling pits may be
likened to underground cellars, the walls and floors
of which are lined with cement, in order that they
may be watertight. They are covered with strong
planking resting on cross-beams, and are for storing
the fish not required for immediate use. Storage
46 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
accommodation for salt, billet-wood, etc., is necessary.
After the fishing season is ended, the cooperage,
which has been silent and deserted during this time,
again resounds with the hammer, as the barrels for
another campaign are being made. Some curers,
however, employ local tradesmen to make these
packages, and therefore make no provision for work-
ing this branch of the business. As the process of
pickling herrings differs very essentially from the
process of smoking, it is advisable to carry it on in
separate premises, which should however, if possible,
for obvious reasons adjoin the other buildings. For
this purpose a spacious yard, with sheds round the
sides in which to store the empty barrels and do the
packing, and a store for salt, are necessary. Such
premises, including counting-house and other minor
but necessary offices, form a considerable block of
buildings. Visitors looking over such curing works
are struck by the heaps of herrings, the immense size
of the vats used for washing them, and the large
number of black-looking rods, about four feet long
and as thick as an average walking-stick, called spits,
upon which the herrings are to be strung. As the
herrings are brought in, they are salted and laid in
" cobs " (heaps) on the barfe-house floors, where they
remain until they have acquired the degree of salt-
ness for the purpose intended. They are then care-
fully washed in the large vats filled with fresh water,
and placed in " maunds " (large baskets) to drain ;
after which they are turned out into wooden troughs,
and the women, called " rivers," string them upon the
HERRING CURING. 47
spits, hanging the spits, when full, on wooden racks
placed conveniently for the purpose, each spit holding
from 23 to 27 fish, according to their size. When
the "horses" (racks) are full, the men mount the
"loves," the hanger going to the top, one man re-
maining in the middle, and one near the bottom, and
with a foot on each " love," like the letter Y turned
upside down, they, receiving the spitted herrings from
the " rivers," pass them up to the hanger, who places
them about six inches apart on the ledges, beginning
at the top and working downwards. A good hanger
prides himself in so hanging his house that when
finished the roof may be seen through each row of
herrings from the floor. This operation completed,
the oak-billet fires are made on the floor, and the
smoking process begins ; this is varied according to
the market for which the fish are destined.
This part of the curing requires constant attention
by day and night. For special cures the intermediate
processes vary. When the herrings are sufficiently
smoked they are "struck" (passed down from the
loves), the men climbing up as before. They are
then put into packages, which vary in size and style
according to the cure or market for which they are
intended. For exportation strong barrels are used,
while for the home trade the lighter box or " ped "
(hamper) is adopted. The fish are rarely counted
into the packages except for special orders ; but so
regular is the packing, from long practice, that the
contents of a number of packages will vary very
48 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
When the packing is completed, the goods are
branded and forwarded to their intended destination.
To obtain the unrivalled " Yarmouth Bloater " in
perfection, a very careful selection of the qualities of
herrings, suitable for the purpose, must be made from
the different samples as the boats arrive with their
catches from sea, and removed to the curing premises
without loss of time. During the curing they must
be handled very gently, in order to avoid the loss of
scales, which easily become detached, and which would
detract from their appearance.
After a slight salting, they must be carefully
washed in abundance of fresh water, speedily spitted
and hung, so that the oak fires may with as little
delay as possible be lighted under them, as in this
state they are most susceptible to the pungency of
the smoke, which they quickly absorb ; this, com-
bined with their natural juices, produces the delicious
flavour of this " matchless breakfast delicacy."
Thus cured, they are easily affected by atmos-
pheric changes, and in very warm weather retain
their freshness only for a few days. They are not
packed till the latest possible moment, and should be
unpacked immediately upon arrival at destination,
and strung on a horizontal line separate from each
other, which will keep them good several days
From the nature and extent of the preservatives
absorbed by the higher cures, and the quantity of oil
and juice extracted from the fish during the various
processes which they undergo, they will keep good a
HERRING CURING. 49
much longer time. The consumer should, however,
in all cases endeavour to obtain them direct from the
curing works, thus avoiding long packing and indis-
criminate storage, which tend to deteriorate their
It sometimes happens that a roving young pilchard,
dissatisfied with the restraints of home life, and wan-
dering thence in search of adventure, like " the frog
who would a-wooing go," is caught in the nets, and,
unnoticed, is delivered to the curer among his her-
rings. His presence is, however, certain to be dis-
covered sooner or later, and when detected he is
seized by the workpeople, and immediately impaled
upon the outside of the lintel of a smoke-house door,
in order, according to ancient superstition, to drive
away others which may possibly be among the her-
rings then on the fishing-grounds.
To pickle herrings, the fish require to be salted
as soon as possible after being caught, in order that
their scales may be set, and their "freshness" pre-
served. Different methods are employed. In some
cases the fish are laid loosely into strong brine imme-
diately upon being caught, and afterwards taken out
and "gypped," i.e. the entrails and gills removed.
They are then passed through clean brine, and packed
in barrels, in layers, with salt sprinkled between each
Another plan is to " rouse " (turn over) the fish in
salt, and afterwards " gyp " them.
" Gypping " is done by women, called " gutters,"
and consists in removing the gills and entrails in the
50 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
following manner. The back of the herring is laid
in the hollow of the left hand, with its head projecting
about an inch beyond the fingers. The " gypping "
knife (a short, sharp-pointed blade firmly set in a
wooden handle) is held in the right hand, and its
point inserted into the throat of the fish, cutting
down to the backbone, and through to the other side,
when, by a dexterous movement of the fingers and
turn of the hand, the entrails and gills are removed.
After being " roused " in salt again, they are packed
in barrels, in layers extending across the barrel. Be-
tween each layer a small quantity of salt is sprinkled.
The barrels being filled, they are covered and left for
two or three days, when the fish will be found to have
The barrels are then filled up out of others of the
same day's packing, in order to preserve the uni-
formity of the parcel throughout ; they are then
headed down, and rolled away into tiers, where they
must be frequently examined, in order to ascertain
whether they retain their pickle, to supply any defi-
ciency, and to repair any leak that may be discovered.
The fish are packed as quickly as gutted, in order
that the juices they contain, and which contribute
largely to their ultimate flavour, may not be wasted.
When required for shipment, they are tightly
bunged, and the hoops examined to see that all is
right for the rough handling they have of necessity
to undergo during transit. Another plan is to pack
the fish without gutting them, in which case they
are well " roused " in salt, and immediately packed
in barrels, in layers as before, care being taken to
sprinkle the salt specially on the gills, in order to
prevent decomposition, which would otherwise quickly
set in from the blood held there.
When it is necessary to use the pickling pits, care
is taken to see that they are perfectly clean, and a
quantity of salt is sprinkled at the bottom before
putting in the herrings, which are first well " roused "
in salt on the floors, and well sprinkled with salt
as they fall into their place. When filled, the fish
are weighted to keep them below the pickle, and the
pits are examined every few days to add a further
supply of salt to take the place of that absorbed
by the fish. Herrings thus treated are eventually
packed into pickle barrels, or smoked, as occasion
YARE FISHERY WORKS.
FOUNDING OF YARMOUTH.
" The Britons oft are wont to praise this place, for that through
The realm they cannot show the like ; and Yarmouth they
MANSHIP'S " History of Yarmouth "
(time, Queen Elizabeth).
" For here is the noblest fishery for herrings in Europe."
SIR H. SPELMAN.
'HE very seat of that town doth more
nearly and properly adjoin to that
part of the sea-coast, where now be
the fishing streams and the very sea
of herring, about the Feast of St.
Michael the Archangel, for more than
six hundred years, far above any other sea-coast town
within this realm of England, or in any part of the
world beside. It is undoubtedly true that, to make
a city or town populous, or rich, or great (next to the
blessing of the Almighty), is to have some merchan-
54 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
disc in it that is in especial request, and vendable in
all places, and that is more excellent there than in
any place whatever; as cloves in Moluccas, salt in
Cyprus, wine in France, wool in England, velvet in
Genoa, cloth of gold and silver in Milan, scarlet in
Venice, and herrings in Yarmouth ; where they be so
excellently and artificially handled, dressed, and
trimmed, as not in any other place of the world.
What huge multitudes of people from all parts of
England, France, Holland, and Zealand resort thither,
and what store of herrings is here bought and sold in
that season ! Wherefore, concerning ' the herrings
there taken from the ist of September until the last
of November, which, swarming in sculls about the
shores, they are there garbaged, salted, hanged, and
dried, and by infinite numbers transported into the
Levant and Mediterranean seas, where they be very
good chaffer, and right welcome merchandise."
The site upon which the town of Great Yarmouth
stands was originally a sandbank, washed by the
waves of the sea, extending north and south parallel
to the mainland, from which it is divided by the
river Yare. This bank was first known as " Cerdick
Sand," from Cerdick, the Saxon having landed upon
it in the year 495, about which time the herring
fishery is supposed to have commenced.
Camden, as cited by Swinden, says : " Cerdick, a
warlike Saxon, landed here* ; whence the place at this
day is called by the inhabitants ' Cerdick sand,' and
by historians ' Cerdick shore.' When he had harassed
the Iceni with a very grievous war, he sailed thence
FOUNDING OF YARMOUTH. 55
to the western parts, where he founded the kingdom
of the West Saxons."
The Saxons afterwards called the town built here
Garmud, or Jiermud, the Saxon d being pronounced
like our th.
The great value and importance of the herring
fishery off this coast, with the convenience of a con-
siderable sandbank, where the nets could be dried
and repaired, connected as it is by three rivers with
the interior, drew together in early times fishermen,
not only from British ports, but also from France,
Holland, Denmark, Flanders, and Zealand. Thus,
upon a barren sandbank for about forty days in the
year, were clustered painted tents and booths, in
which lodged buyers and sellers during what was
called the " herring fair."
Jeake's " Charter of the Cinque Ports," cited by
Swinden, says : " Hither resort the fishermen of the
ports, and other sea towns, every year in the fishing
season for herrings ; which by a wonderful and rare
providence, having their constant course once a year
round this island, about the autumnal equinox begin
to keep their quarters on these coasts. . . . And
now by pregnant probabilities, it is in my opinion
very clear, that from the landing of Cerdick, in Anno
495, now 1124 years past, this sand by defluxion
of tides, did by little and little lift its head above the
waters, and so in short time after sundry fishermen,
as well of this kingdom, viz., of the FIVE PORTS
(being then the principal fishermen of England), as
also of France, Flanders, and the Low Countries,
56 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
yearly about the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel,
resorted thither, where they continued in tents made
for the purpose by the space of forty days, about the
killing, trimming, salting, and selling of herrings to
all that hither came for that purpose ; whereunto did
resort the merchants of London, Norwich, and other
places to buy herrings during that season, and then
departed. ... So in short time after, as that
sand became firm land, and that thereby traffic began
more and more to be increased, men finding the same
to be a commodious place to dwell and inhabit in,
did for that purpose gather themselves together to
have a continual residence therein, and began to
build houses (' more comely and soon after superb ')
of which came streets, and of those streets this
The frail tent gave place to the well built house,
and the six weeks' sojourn became a permanent resi-
dence. As the fame of this place as a fishing station,
during the six weeks that the season lasted, drew
together people from different countries, and of
opposing interests, it was found needful to provide
some kind of government to keep order, and to settle
disputes. The Barons of the Cinque Ports, being
the chief fishermen of England, were authorized to
send their bailiffs at the beginning of the " herring
fair," to "govern all that fishing season." At the
first, the Barons of the Cinque Ports, through their
bailiffs, had the sole government ; but, " by reason
of the constant increase of the inhabitants, and the
great concourse of fishermen, traders, and merchants
FOUNDING OF YARMOUTH. 57
from many parts of England, Flanders, and Nor-
mandy, on account of the vast quantity of lenten pro-
vision manufactured here annually ; it pleased King
Henry the First, in the ninth year of his reign, to
invest with authority a proper magistrate, called in
Latin prcepositus, but in the dialect of those times
Le Provost. . . . Under this regimen, Yarmouth
flourished about one hundred years; till the reign of
King John," who granted the burgesses a charter
creating this ancient burgh into a free burgh, with
many immunities and privileges ; the town to pay
him and his heirs an annual rent of .55 for ever,
which amount was taken out of the customs of the
port, the town not being allowed to take any custom
of goods bought or sold in the market upon land.
The liberties formerly held by the barons, inter-
fering with those newly granted to the burgesses of
Yarmouth, "occasioned such horrid discords, war,
and confusion as the like perhaps never happened
for so long a time between any two places in the
British dominion, the whole nation being sometimes
alarmed with their debates, riots, and depredations
on each other."
To such an extent was this carried, that when
King Edward the First went to assist the Earl of
Flanders against the French, " the men of the ports
and Yarmouth, through an old grudge long depend-
ing between them, fell together and fought on the sea
with such fury, that notwithstanding the king's com-
mandment to the contrary, twenty-five ships of Yar-
mouth and their partakers were burnt."
58 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
Another account states that thirty-seven ships were
greatly damaged, one hundred and seventy-one men
killed, and goods to the value of 15,356 "spoiled
and taken from them."
Disputes continued, more or less, until the time
of Queen Elizabeth, when matters were arranged
by commissioners, who, happily, were able to make
an award, deemed at the time satisfactory to both
parties; after which "they continued more mild and
friendly one towards another, till the year 1662;"
after which date no more bailiffs from the Cinque
Ports seem to have come to Yarmouth in any official
capacity. Queen Anne granted a new charter in the
second year of her reign, empowering the burgh to
choose a Mayor instead of bailiffs, and otherwise
bringing the Corporation into the " state it has ever
HE " Herring Fair," as before ob-
served, lasted forty days, beginning
with the Feast of St. Michael. "And
to repress and prevent disorders
arising among the multitude upon
the sale and delivery of the herrings
brought ashore there, for want of a settled govern-
ment . . . the ports used to send thither yearly
certain men, as their baliffs, that during the time of
this herring fair they might abide there, and govern
all that fishing season. But the fishing trade con-
tinuing and proving profitable, once settled, quickly
is supposed to have built a town there ; or if built
before, so to enrich it as to procure thereto a govern-
ment by some portreeve or provost, and bailiffs, which
it had in the time of King Edward I., between
whom (the town bailiffs) and the port bailiffs contests
did arise ; these endeavouring to keep their ancient
jurisdictions, rights, and privileges ; and the other
to wrest them out of their hands, so that sometimes
60 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
the ports have complained to their sovereigns for
redress and remedy, and yet sometimes been sufferers
by the outrage and insolence of the people."
It was ordered by the king that " whereas our
barons of the ports claim to have at Yarmouth royal
justice, and the keeping of our peace, doing royal
justice, together with our provost of Great Yarmouth,
in this form, that during the fair they shall have four
sergeants, whereof one to bear our banner, another
to blow a horn for to assemble the people (for pro-
clamation) to be heard the better, and the other two
to bear rods for to keep our peace, and these offices
they may do on horseback if they will." The bailiffs
who were deputed by the Cinque Ports to attend
the " herring fair " were termed " Bailiffs for Yer-
mouth," and they, "yearly upon the vigil of the
Feast of St. Michael, make their repair for Yermouth
aforesaid, unto a house which they do there hire for
that purpose (for one of their own there they never
had), bringing with them their learned counsel, a
town clerk, two sergeants bearing white rods, a brazen
horn sounder, one carrying a banner of the arms of
the ports, and a jailor, who being come thither many
times, the bailiffs of Yermouth within a few hours
after with the then new elects and some other of
their brethren do repair to their lodgings, and them
courteously do welcome and entertain." On the next
day, which would be St. Michael's, these strangers
repair to the church to hear divine service, the
"Yermouth" bailiffs sending for them to sit with
them, " which I term courtesy ; for place among them
HERRING FAIR. 61
there, by right, they cannot challenge any." After
service they take a formal leave of each other.
Afterwards the "Vermouth" bailiffs, with their
brethren in scarlet robes, repair to the " toll-house,"
where their justices, constables, and other officers
are sworn in, upon which the Cinque Port bailiffs
are sent for, who upon their entrance make a short
speech to show " who they be ; from whence, and
wherefore they do come thither, desiring to be re-
ceived ; " having shown their credentials, they are
"admitted to have place with the bailiffs of Ver-
mouth," their names are recorded, and after a little
other official business disposed of, the senior " Ver-
mouth " bailiff invites the whole company to dinner,
and his co-partner afterwards to supper, " where in
most friendly manner they the whole day do royally
feast, and be very merry together." In the following
week there is another "Court day" and more feasting,
the junior " Vermouth " bailiff providing an " elegant
dinner," to which the aldermen of the town, " their
brethren, with their wives, be solemnly invited."
The bailiffs of the Cinque Ports also return the com-
pliment, generously entertaining not only the prin-
cipal inhabitants of the town, but also of the neigh-
bourhood. " Supporting the expense in a plentiful
manner, they commonly bring sixteen or eighteen
hogsheads of excellent beer from home with them."
Two or three days before the departure of the
Cinque Port bailiffs, these, inviting their colleagues
of the town and " the substantialest sort of the in-
habitants of Vermouth, with their wives also, hold a
62 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
great feast by way of requital, or of a kind farewell,
when all sorts of delicacies be provided, which may
be had for money."
In Edward III.'s reign complaint was made by the
Commons of the realm, " That the people of Great
Yarmouth do encounter the fishers bringing herring
to the said town in the time of the fair, and do buy
and forestall the herring before they do come to the
town. And also the hostelers of the same town ;
that lodge the fishers coming thither with their
herring, will not suffer the said fishers to sell their
said herring nor meddle with the sale thereof, but
sell them at their own will, as dear as they will, and
give to the fishers that pleaseth them, whereby the
fishers do withdraw themselves to come thither, and
so is the herring set at much greater price than ever
it was, to the great damage of our lord the king, of
the lords, and of all the people." Upon this a statute
was made, called the " Herring Statute," by which
it was ordained that no herring be bought or sold in
the sea, nor until the cable of the ship be drawn
to land. Fishers to be free to sell their herrings
to whom they will, without hindrance from their
hostelers or any other, but only between sunrise
No one to buy herring to hang in their houses at
a higher price than 4os. per last, " but less in as
much as he may." No one to go by land or by sea
to forestall herring, "but the herring shall come
freely, unsold, unto the haven."
" No pyker to make buying of fresh herring in the
HERRING FAIR. 63
haven of Yarmouth betwixt the Feasts of St. Michael
and St. Martin" ; " no vessel called pyker, of London
nor of none other place, shall enter into the said
haven, to abate (pur encherir, to enhance or raise),
the fair in damage of the people."
All hostelers to be sworn before the wardens of
the fair to receive their guests well, to aid them
reasonably; and for every last of herrings, sold
through them to another, they were to receive forty
pence, and to be responsible for the payment by the
purchaser ; but on herrings bought for themselves
they were not to receive commission. The hundred
herring was fixed at six score, the last at ten
Yarmouth people were to sell a last of red herrings
bought for 4Os. fresh, if sold within forty days, at
half a mark gain, and not above. London carriers
attending the fair were to carry a last of herrings
from Yarmouth to London for one mark, and not
Two lasts of shotten herring to be sold for the
price of one of full. Two lasts of shotten red herring
to be sold one mark dearer than one last of full red.
"And that the same barons and bailiffs of Great
Yarmouth cause to be kept these present ordinances
in all points, and to be cried in every Sunday between
St. Michael and St. Martin's upon the pain to lose
TOWN WALL AND HAVEN MOUTH, AND THE
N 1260 Henry III., upon petition of the
burgesses, granted them permission to
enclose the town with a wall and a moat,
but nothing of much importance seems
to have been done for many years. The
great plague which ravaged the town in
1349, swept off 7,052 souls, being most of the inhabit-
ants, reducing the trade and the town to a very low
condition. The wall was still unfinished 126 years
after the grant had been made. For the purpose of
building the wall the town was empowered to collect
a custom upon all goods imported and exported.
This was afterwards supplemented by voluntary con-
tributions from the inhabitants of the neighbourhood.
The wall contained a compass of about 2,238 yards,
having ten gates and sixteen towers. After finishing
the wall, a moat was made round the town, with
bridges at each gate ; the moat being deep and wide
OLD YARMOUTH. 65
enough for boats to pass with their lading to any
part of the town.
Afterwards, when "great guns" came into use, the
town was further strengthened by mounts and rave-
lins, etc. In Henry VIII.'s reign the walls were still
further strengthened by being rampired, which work
was not completed until the reign of Queen Elizabeth,
when, in consequence of the sending out of the
Spanish Armada, the work of fortifying the town was
pushed on. A boom was also erected between the
two jetties across the haven, and two men appointed
to take charge of it, with instructions to have it
opened and shut at convenient times, but by no means
to leave it open during the night.
The sea has been for centuries waging a contest
with the river Yare, rejecting any acquaintance with
its waters by casting up a sandbank in front of what
should be its natural exit. This is the sandbank
upon which the town is now built. In consequence
of this antagonism between the fresh and the salt
waters, the river has been deflected out of its course ;
its principal channel, which entered the sea to the
north of the town, being entirely stopped, forcing the
waters to pass through the southern one. It might
have been hoped that the waters of the three rivers,
being confined to a single channel, the Yare would be
able to maintain, at least, an even contest with its
ancient antagonist ; but the sea had too many sands
in battalion order at hand, which it was continually
flinging forward, so that the mouth of the river, which
was between Gorton and Lowestoft, became so ob-
66 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
structed that in the time of King Edward III. naviga-
tion became so dangerous "that few ships of burthen
could safely enter in, or go out."
This put a stop to the trade of the town, and the
people petitioned the king for liberty to cut a haven
nearer the town, opposite to Gorton, which was granted
them; but after considerable expense this only served
them twenty-six years. The sea got the better of
both people and river. Another petition was made
to King Richard II. to cut a haven still nearer the
town, and permission was given, as was also the right
to levy I2d. for five years upon every last of herrings,
brought into the town. Sixteen years later, A.D.
1408, this haven was rendered useless from the same
causes, and again resort was had to petition to
Henry IV., who granted the request, and bountifully
contributed, out of the customs taken at Yarmouth,
the sum of ;ioo per year for five years towards the
expenses, which sum was only received in part. This
haven was maintained successfully, but at great ex-
pense, for 100 years ; by which time the charges were
found to be insupportable. Some little help was
given by a remittance of " fifty marks parcel of their
fee-farm for the term of six years." Afterwards some
further help was given of a like character, as the town
had lost very much of its trade. In 1508 the people
petitioned King Henry VII. for liberty to cut out the
mouth of the haven much nearer unto the town than
the former. " This, with their own labour and ex-
pense, they maintained for twenty years, when, for a
fifth time, they became suitors for liberty to cut out
OLD YARMOUTH. 67
another haven." " But stormy wind and sea prevail-
ing, the mouth of that haven . . . was choked."
The people became so impoverished by this continual
contest, that they could no longer support the charge
of keeping an open way to the sea, yet it was im-
peratively necessary that something should be done.
It was decided to sell some of the church plate, orna-
ments, and robes ; by these means, and by contribu-
tions from town councillors and aldermen, .1,816
was raised. With this sum, in the third year of
Edward VI., by the king's permission, the townsmen
began their sixth haven, this through mismanagement,
after considerable further expenses, was not completed
after eight years, and was obliged to be stopped up.
It was then determined to make the seventh and,
happily, the last attempt. This, after being begun,
was seriously damaged by the sea, upon which " The
town was advised to send for some experienced
workmen . . . whereupon by means of Henry
Manship . . . was brought over a certain Dutch-
man, a man of extraordinary knowledge and experi-
ence in works of that nature, called Joyse Johnson,
who was appointed to be the master of the works."
The work of makingthehaven was duly accomplished,
and although it has ever been a constant expense to
maintain the victory won, the victory has been gained
over the sea, though doubtless more might yet be
done to make the port of Yarmouth suitable for ships
of a much heavier tonnage than can at present gain
access to the harbour. The mouth of the haven is
protected by two piers jutting out into the sea at
68 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
right angles to the previous course of the river. One
of them on the Suffolk coast, just under the Gorle-
stone cliffs ; the other on the Norfolk side upon the
sands. Both piers are of timber : the southern one
turns the river face to face to the sea, being mightily
strengthened by concrete packing. At this point the
slightest breeze is quite sufficient to provoke a re-
newal of hostilities, at which times the sea madly
charges both piers, more especially the southern one,
dashing over it with impotent rage. Joyse Johnson's
work, begun in 1568, remains to this day a record of
his honesty and of his wisdom. It has had to be
supplemented largely since then, as his plans were
not fully carried out, probably for the want of money ;
as the inhabitants for many years afterwards were
constant petitioners to the reigning sovereign for
help to maintain what had been won after such great
The town of Great Yarmouth is built upon the
east bank of the river Yare, at its junction with the
Bure, the Waveney having added its waters higher up.
Opposite the junction of the Yare and the Bure
stands the Parish Church, named after St. Nicholas,
built about 1123, by Herbert, surnamed "Losinga,"
i.e. a " liar " ; who, on account of alleged simony, was
enjoined to build this church and others. The church
has three aisles, the middle one being the longest,
measuring within the walls 230 feet, the breadth of
the three aisles being 108 feet. The Norman tower
with Early English windows, and the spire, the fisher-
men's well-remembered landmark whilst yet far out
70 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
at sea, spring from the centre of the building. It is
said to be the largest Parish Church in the country,
its porch being larger than the Church of St. Lawrence
in the Isle of Wight. An organ was erected in it in
1545, but the one now in use was built in 1733, since
which time it has been several times enlarged, its
pipes now numbering over 3,000.
The town wall at the north rested upon the river
Bure, from which it proceeded east for a short
distance, thence south, and again east, so as to
enclose the Parish Church and yard, from which it
proceeded south, taking a curve almost parallel with
the river for a distance of somewhat over 4,500 feet ;
it then turned to tlie west, and rested upon the river
Yare. The town was thus protected on the west by
the river, and upon its other three sides by the wall.
The old town is built in blocks with exceedingly
narrow streets, called " rows," which are numbered
i to 145. The rows in some instances are less than
three feet wide, but generally they measure from four
to six feet.
On account of these narrow streets, which are
mostly paved with cobble stones, the old town has
been likened to a gridiron, the rows representing
the bars of the grid. In these rows are yet to be
found interesting relics of some of the houses of the
wealthy inhabitants of the olden time, the upper
storeys of which, occasionally projecting over the
lower walls, shut out considerable of the little sky
left by the narrow way. The houses of the well-to-
do of former days, situate in the rows, are now turned
OLD YARMOUTH. 71
into warehouses, sail lofts, and smaller tenements for
the poor. The rows are still traversed by the old-
fashioned troll-cart, a long narrow vehicle without
sides, running on two low wheels. In order to
economise space, the wheels are placed underneath
the hinder part of the troll, which is higher than the
front, and very similar in appearance to the ancient
" British war-chariot " (see page 40).
Of course it is impossible for two of these to pass
each other, and the pedestrian must needs, on meet-
ing one, press into a doorway, or be content to
retrace his steps. Fortunately the town was not
dependent entirely upon the rows for means of pro-
gression, as these were intersected at right angles
by one or more wider streets, according to the width
of the town. The principal houses were built along
the quay side, which is over a mile in length, and for
a portion of its distance ornamented with an avenue
of trees. There the merchant prince watched from
his windows the vessel loading his herrings for the
sunnier skies of the Mediterranean, or his fishing
boats unloading their silvery spoils from the bleak
North Sea, or the dusky collier from Newcastle with
its black antidote to the familiar north-easter.
The greater portion of the town wall is now gone,
but there are several " bits," with an occasional tower,
yet preserved, welcome to the lover of the pencil as
affording an opportunity for securing a reminiscence
of a pleasant visit. The town possesses one of the
largest market-places in the country, covering nearly
three acres of ground. The market is well served
72 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
and attended, especially during the visiting season,
when the thousands of strangers greatly add to
the liveliness of the scene. The market days are
Wednesday and Saturday.
SOUTH COAST TOWER.
/I , MODERN ' TOWN.
N important feature of the modern
town is the New Town Hall, a red
brick and stone building in Queen
Anne style, freely treated, built at
an expense of 40,000 ; which was
opened by H.R.H. the Prince of
Wales, in 1882. It is built upon the site of a former
one, upon the quay facing the river. The toll-house,
in existence in 1261, situate in Middlegate Street, is a
very interesting relic of early times, with a front well
worth seeing. It is in a very good state of preser-
vation considering its age. It was used in after years
as a gaol, and was the scene of Sarah Martin's self-
denying labours ; who, in spite of her own poverty,
found means of visiting the prisoners, helping them
to a more human state of mind, and mitigating the
cruelty of the prison treatment usual to the times.
A few of the old houses still remain in the town, but
they are mostly hidden under modernized fronts ; one,
facing the river, reputed to have been built in 1596, is
supposed to be the one in which the death of
Charles I. was determined. Near the Parish Church
THE OLD GAOL OR TOLL-HOUSE.
The Scene of Sarah Martin's Labours.
MODERN TOWN. 75
is the Fisherman's Hospital (with a figure of Charity
in the square yard, and one of St. Peter under a cupola
over the inner gate), built by the Corporation one
hundred and eighty years ago, for the accommodation
of twenty old fishermen. The population of the town
at the last census numbered nearly 45,000 ; this is of
course largely supplemented in the summer months by
thousands of visitors. There are also churches and
chapels, with charitable institutions incidental to a
town of the size of Great Yarmouth. It is approached
by three lines of railway, two of which belong to the
Great Eastern Company, and one to the Eastern
Midland, and in summer time by steamers from
London. There is also a steam-packet service with
Hull and Newcastle. There are several points of
interest in the neighbourhood, as Somerleyton Park,
the seat of Sir Saville B. Crossley ; the old Roman
ruin of Burgh Castle ; Caister Castle, with its pictur-
esque tower ; and for those on fishing intent there
are the celebrated Norfolk broads.
The modern town occupies the space between the
old town and the beach, along which has been made
a magnificent marine parade over three miles long.
Here, facing the German Ocean, are the principal
hotels and fashionable lodging-houses, and the
splendid beach, the all-day-long delight of childhood
and the welcome invigorator of the wearied.
The beach begins at the harbour's mouth, some two
miles to the south of the town, and extends far away
to the north, being from 100 to 150 yards in width.
The sea at Yarmouth always presents a lively scene
76 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
from the many vessels and steamers passing through
the roads, as well as from the numerous fishing
vessels belonging to the port. There are three piers,
and, during the season, the usual bathing-machines
and pleasure-boats. At the height of the season the
visitors number from twenty to thirty thousand ; and,
in addition to the regular season, there is a quieter
one extending up to Christmas. From its exposed
easterly situation, the coast of Great Yarmouth is
subject to fierce storms, especially during the winter
months, when wrecks are frequent and lives lost are
many : happily many are also saved through the cour-
age of the life-boat crews. But it is while following
their dangerous occupation far out in the North Sea
that our fishermen run their greatest risks, and where
so many lives are swallowed up by the cruel waves.
" But men must work and women must weep,
Though storms be sudden and waters deep."
In 1877 eighteen fishing vessels and 116 souls were
lost in a single storm, leaving 118 children, 55 widows,
and 12 aged parents unprovided for.
" For men must work and women must weep,
And there's little to earn and many to keep."
A special fund was raised, which was nobly con-
tributed to by London, to meet the severity of this
loss. There is a small permanent fund invested for
the benefit of the dependent survivors of those fisher-
men who have subscribed to it, but these only
number some 300. The Mayor of the town is the
chairman, and Mr. G. T. Watson, manager of the
MODERN TOWN. 77
Sailors' Home, a fine building facing the sea, is the
Secretary, who would be glad to acknowledge con-
tributions for the relief of foreign as well as home-
born shipwrecked sailors. South of the town, upon
the Denes, so often covered by the brown swaths of
the fishermen's nets, there was built in 1817, in com-
memoration of Lord Nelson, a Norfolk man, a
lofty fluted Column, springing from a massive square
pedestal. The Column is surmounted by a ball rest-
ing upon caryatides, and above this is placed a fine
figure of Britannia. The Column is 144 feet high,
and is ascended by 217 steps. From the top may
be seen, in fine weather, Norwich Cathedral, and
a magnificent view of the roadstead with its pano-
rama of ships and steamers, the distant sea with
" ropes of smoke lacing the sky " against the horizon,
uncoiled by the far-away steamers hasting on to a
The Fish Wharf, upon which is built a large shed
750 feet long and 40 feet wide, was constructed in the
year 1869 for the better accommodation of those
engaged in the staple industry of the town. It is
situate a mile from the Town Hall, lower down the
river, just outside the south end of the town. In
front of the shed is a landing quay, 40 feet wide,
paved with granite cubes ; below this, at a distance
of something over 1,500 feet, and nearly opposite the
Nelson Monument, is a ferry to the village of
Gorlestone. All along this line of riverside during
the height of the season, herring boats are moored
with their noses to the quay, packed as closely as they
78 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
can be placed; sometimes
even two and three boats
deep ; the herrings from
the outer tier being passed
in baskets over the decks
of the two inner ones ; the
boats alongside the wharf
delivering their herrings ;
while those lower down
the river, having freed
themselves from their
burden of fish, are again
busily engaged taking in
fresh stores preparatory
to their next voyage. Oc-
casionally during the sea-
son the whole of the space,
from the beginning of the
fish wharf to some dis-
tance beyond the ferry, is
occupied by boats deliver-
ing their catch of her-
rings; and the shed and
the wharf, with an aggre-
gate space of about 10,000
square yards, are covered with wicker baskets, called
swills, each holding five hundred fish, awaiting sale or
removal to the different curing premises. The boats,
as they complete their delivery of fish, have to seek
at once other quarters in the river, to make room for
those arriving with later catches.
0ixr 10 C00k %
" Of all the fish of the sea, Herring is king."
" Herring in the land,
Doctor at a stand."
" Red Herring ne'er spake but e'en [once]:
Broil my back but not my weamb."
N former days, before new fashions had
led men astray, causing us to "take a
forgetfulness " of the worth of the herring,
it was not thought unworthy of a place
before kings and nobles. If it were the
denizen of some distant sea, found swim-
ming in solitude instead of in schools (which are
sometimes to be measured in miles), and if every
herring were sold at a crown per scale, it would doubt-
less be as highly prized as any other foreign novelty.
Its merits have long suffered an undeserved eclipse ;
but at length the delicacy of the bloater and the
savouriness of the ham-cure are again causing the
herring to be recognised as worthy of the attention of
all who estimate worth by quality rather than by cost.
8o THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
The real Yarmouth bloater, which is in season from
August to December, is purposely cured with the
smallest possible modicum of salt and smoke, just to
retain the delicacy of the fresh fish for a few days ;
the slight smoking and salting adding to, as well as
preserving, the original flavour. Of course, with such
slight curing the bloater will not keep like the ham-
cure, which by the mode of its preparation acquires a
distinctive value of its own. It may be observed,
that by over-cooking this class of cure the fish be-
comes very dry, and consequently over-salt ; so that
palates which are very susceptible to this condiment,
should choose that mode of cooking which will keep
the fish from becoming dry. Acids, such as lemon,
cut up fat, and in this way assist digestion, bringing
this pleasant addition within the reach of those who
might otherwise find them indigestible.
Open the fish, remove the gut, and place on a dish
before the fire inside upwards. Toast a thin slice of
ham over the fish, and serve with lemon inside a ring
of mashed potatoes.
Cut off the head, and split the fish open down the
back. Take out the backbone and roe, or milt ;
grill, skin downwards without turning. Serve hot.
Cut off the head, and draw out the gut without
opening the fish ; place on a gridiron over a clear
fire, turning occasionally. Serve hot, with pepper
Should the fish be found too salt when cooked by
either of the previous methods, place it in front of a
quick, clear fire, whole, i.e. without removing the head
82 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
or opening it ; turn occasionally, and when cooked
cut off the head, split open, and remove the roe or
milt Spread a little butter over the inside of the
fish, and squeeze a few drops of lemon upon it. Serve
TO POT BLOATERS OR HERRINGS.
Open and place inside to inside in a dish as many
herrings as wanted, putting minced shallots, or bay-
leaves, and a sprinkling of flour between each herring.
Fill the dish with spiced vinegar. Bake very slowly
till the bones are soft Eat cold.
ROES AND MILTS,
When the roe or milt is not cooked with the her-
ring, it may be cooked and served as follows :
Grate the uncooked roe of a ham-cured herring
over hot buttered toast.
Break into a buttered frying-pan one egg for each
roe or milt ; place a roe or milt across each egg while
cooking. Eat with mustard and lemon.
Pound the roe in a mortar with an anchovy, and
serve with bread and butter, or hot buttered toast.
The hard roe of the ham-cured fish need not be
cooked, but cut into thin slices and eaten with toast
or bread and butter. A little mustard is a pleasant
addition. This will be found a delicious relish for
Remove the heads and tails from two herrings,
split them, take out the roes or milts, and, placing the
insides together, fasten with skewers, one on each
side ; place on a gridiron over a clear fire for three
or four minutes, turning them several times. When
done, separate, and rub a little butter on the insides.
Serve hot with slices of lemon. Eat with mustard.
How to serve the roe or milt. See Recipe " Roes
and Milts," page 82.
Cut off the head and tail, split open down the back,
take out the backbone, and gut, leaving in the roe or
milt. Take a thin slice of bacon, the size of the
opened fish, and lay it over the inside of the fish ;
broil through the bacon, turning the latter as needed.
Serve with slices of lemon, and mustard.
. Take two or more herrings, cut off the heads and
tails, strip off the skin, and remove the backbone, and
gut. Place between the two herrings a small lump of
84 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
butter, sweet herbs, or minced shallots, or mushrooms,
or pieces of bay-leaf. Sprinkle the whole with fine
bread crumbs, bind in buttered paper, and grill slowly,
or bake in moderate oven twenty minutes. Cut the
bandage, and serve in the paper with slices of lemon.
Fold a piece of paper once round the herring, and.
place it in the oven or broiler without removing the
head. Let it cook gently for fifteen minutes. Split,
serve with slices of lemon and cayenne. By this plan
the herring retains most of its oil.
For Those who Object to the Oil of the Fish.
Make incisions through the skin across the herring,
place on the gridiron over a quick fire for about three
to five minutes, turning frequently. Wipe off surplus
oil, and serve.
Cut off the head, but do not open the herring.
Cook over or in front of a quick, clear fire for three
or four minutes ; turn frequently. When done, split
open, and serve hot.
Grill the herrings whole over a clear fire for about
four minutes. Cut off heads and tails ; open, remove
gut and bone, lay on dish inside upwards, and place
on each fish a poached egg, and serve with parsley
round the dish.
Cut off the head, open, and remove the gut, place
in a dish ; cover with cold water' from eight to ten
hours, dry with a cloth, and grill over a clear fire ;
when done spread a little butter on the inside. Serve
with lemon and mustard.
Place the herring whole in a frying-pan full of boil-
ing water ; let it simmer from three to five minutes ;
remove, and dry before the fire ; cut off the head, and
serve with butter and mustard, and hot buttered
No. 1 6.
Place the herring whole in a dish of boiling water,
cover close, and let it remain for five minutes ; then
remove and grill for two minutes. Serve without
Remove the head and gut, cut the fish into lengths
diagonally, one inch wide ; place in a basin, and pour
on boiling water ; cover close. After standing about
five minutes place the pieces on a dish, dry in the
oven, and serve with butter and mustard.
86 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
NO. 1 8.
After steeping the herrings in water a few hours,
according to their saltness, place them in a dish of
milk into which one or more uncooked mushrooms,
according to size, have been broken ; let the herrings
remain in this for half an hour; remove, egg and
bread crumb, and place in oven till brown. Serve
with bread and butter.
If found too salt, steep the herrings in milk or
water from two to twelve hours ; drain, skin, and
bone, and place in sufficient milk to receive them,
mixed with a large teaspoonful of mustard, a tea-
spoonful of minced shallot, and another of dried
parsley. Leave the herrings half an hour in this, re-
move, egg and bread crumb them, and place in
moderate oven till brown. Serve with buttered toast.
Place in a stew-pan enough milk to cover the her-
rings, a lump of butter, sufficient flour to thicken
slightly, a sprinkle of sweet herbs and pepper ; stir
till it comes to the boil. Having opened, gutted,
boned, and skinned the herrings, cut them across, and
place in the pan till hot through ; turn all out on a
hot dish, sprinkle over a layer of bread crumbs, place
in oven to brown. Squeeze over a few drops of
lemon, and serve.
For Luncheon or Breakfast.
Cut off the head, split open, remove the backbone,
soak for two hours in warm milk and water. Cook
through the back on gridiron over a clear fire. Serve
with butter and mashed potatoes.
Split the herring open down the back, and lay it
in an ordinary pie-dish, cover it with boiling water,
and cover it down close for ten or fifteen minutes,
according to the size of the fish. Take out and lay
on a cloth for a few seconds to remove the moisture
(do not rub the fish), and dry in front of fire or in the
oven. Serve hot on fish d'oyler, skin upwards ; eat
with buttered toast. The roe may be treated the
same as the herring in this case.
BALLS OR CAKES.
Sufficient mashed potatoes, one tablespoonful of
Spanish onions cut up very fine, one egg well beaten,
one herring skinned, boned, and chopped fine. Mix
all thoroughly together ; form into cakes or balls, and
fry for five minutes in butter. Serve with lemon.
88 THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA.
Cut up fine one Spanish onion and the flesh of the
back of a ham-cured herring ; make a dressing of one
tablespoonful of milk, one teaspoonful of mixed
mustard, and another of vinegar, a little pepper
(Cayenne if preferred), the hard roe of a herring
grated up fine. Mix thoroughly. Lettuce in place
of onion if preferred.
Bloaters keep longest when hung on a line separate
from each other in a current of dry air.
Ham-cured herrings should be kept in a dry cool
place, in their original packages, covered down, and
removed only as required for use.
YARE FISHERY WORKS.
tsit io & Herring- wring <
BY A VISITOR.
[From The Eastern Daily Press, August 25th, 1881.]
S a visitor to Yarmouth, I was de-
sirous of seeing something of the
process by which the fish delivered
out of the smacks are converted
into " bloaters," and so I went down
to the Fish Wharf, at the south end
of the quay, hoping to be able to have my curiosity
gratified. The Fish Wharf is a model wholesale
market. From the boats moored alongside the quay
the herring are delivered out of the hold and counted
into big baskets, called " swills." These swills are
contracted round the middle, so as to have the form
of a figure " 8," and these are placed upon the stand
of one or other of the salesmen, who offers them by
auction. Most of the buyers are fish-curers, who
have extensive premises in and around the town,
where they conduct a business which has attained for
Yarmouth a celebrity such as no other fishing port
90 VISIT TO A CURING ESTABLISHMENT.
enjoys. I was afforded the opportunity of following
a lot of freshly-caught herring to one of these estab-
lishments the Yare Fishery Works over which I
was shown by one of the proprietors, Mr. C. Stacy-
Watson, who I observed had just had the honour of
taking a noble lord over his extensive premises.
Messrs. Stacy- Watson's establishment is a short dis-
tance behind the Fish Wharf. It has been constructed
on the newest principles, and has been fitted with the
latest improvements, so as to economize time and
labour. This fish-curing establishment is in the form
of a parallelogram. When the swills of herring have
been brought by the long carts into the yard, they are
carried into a brick-floored building, entered by slid-
ing doors, called a " barfe " house. Here the herring
are sometimes heaped up in " cobs," that is, in piles
varying from eighteen inches to three feet high, the
preservative salt being sprinkled over layer after layer
of fish. Under this process the herring acquire that
degree of saltness which the curer deems necessary.
In the " barfe " house are several huge tubs or vats,
in which the herring are next washed, so as to remove
the loose salt and scales, and any dirt which may
have got among them from the time they were caught.
The next process is that of " spitting " them. This is
done by women. The " spits " are rods of wood, four
feet long, with pointed ends, which are inserted
through the gills of the fish. As each " spit " is filled
with fish, it is placed in a " room " in a drying-house.
This word " room " has, however, a meaning which
differs from the conventional term. These herring
VISIT TO A CURING ESTABLISHMENT. 91
drying-rooms have'neither floors nor walls. They are,
however, very lofty, those in Messrs. Stacy-Watson's
new establishment being about twenty-five feet from
the rafters to the roof. The rafters at the base of the
rooms are six feet above the brick floor of the drying
house. From these rafters, nearly four feet apart,
spring a series of stout uprights, which reach to the
roof, and across these, from side to side of the build-
ing, parallel with the rafters, are stout rails, at inter-
vals of about eighteen inches. There are thus formed
a series of narrow, floorless compartments with skele-
ton walls. These are the drying-rooms. The spits,
full of herring, are handed up to a man, who places
them on the horizontal rails, so that the fish extend
across the room. When one pair of rails is filled, the
man fills the next lower pair with the spits, taking
care to place each spit exactly under the other.
W r hen a room is thus filled, any one standing on the
floor can look up amid the spits of herring to the
roof. On the brick floor, oak dust, shruff, or billet, is
placed and ignited, and then the process of smoking
begins. A herring is subjected to only one or two
hours' smoking to convert it into a " bloater."
These curing-houses of Messrs. Stacy- Watson are
fitted with improved windows for regulating the
heating and ventilation. The old-fashioned plan was
to have sliding windows, similar to those in use on
the upright sides of greenhouses ; but when a drying-
house is filled with smoke, it is difficult for a man to
adjust such means of ventilation properly and expe-
ditiously, for it must be done quickly, as a drying-
92 VISIT TO A CURING ESTABLISHMENT.
house filled with smoke cannot be entered with
impunity. By means of long weights, which counter-
balance the windows, Messrs. Stacy- Watson's men
can walk round a curing-house and open all the
windows to a fixed point in the short space of time
in which they can hold their breath. The " ham-
cured " herring, having undergone a special process,
are subjected to the smoke for a considerable period.
When they are sufficiently cured, they are collected
and packed in barrels. These barrels are sold by
weight, not by the number of fish they contain.
Herring are pressed into the barrels by means of a
small circular screw-press till the requisite weight is
secured. Messrs. Stacy-Watson & Co. make their
own barrels, of well-seasoned material, and have at
the present time 6,000 in stock. This is done that
they may guarantee sound packages for their fish,
which they export in large quantities to Italy and the
Levant. When the barrels are duly weighed and
packed, they are branded according to the quality of
the fish. I found the coopers employed on the
establishments busily at work making barrels, to add
to the huge store which now nearly fill the several
chambers. There is another branch of the herring-
curing business to which my attention was directed.
In the floor of a long building I observed seven deep
cement-lined tanks or vats, which I learned were
pickling vats. These seven vats will hold 660,000
herring. After the herring have been kept in these
vats for a time, they are packed in barrels and sent
away, chiefly to the Emerald Isle, where they are
VISIT TO A CURING ESTABLISHMENT. 93
purchased by Paddy to eat with his potatoes. An-
other class of prepared herring are " gypped " herring,
that is, herring which have been eviscerated, and are
then salted and dried. These are sent in large quan-
tities to the Baltic. From this establishment alone
thousands of barrels of herring are yearly sent out of
Yarmouth, principally to Ireland, the Baltic, Italy,
and the Levant.
BLACK FRIARS TOWER.
MEANINGS AND DERIVATION OF WORDS.
1. BARF HOUSE, shed or open ground-floor, where
first stage in curing herrings takes place.
2. EARTH, shelter, a ground-floor.
3. COB, supposed to be from the Welsh cwb, a
4. GYP, Per. giepen, to gape.
5. HERRING, from the German " Her," or in modern
spelling, " Heer," an army, great number,
multitude, with the idea also of unity.
6. LAST, lastage or lestage. Derived from the
Saxon last, a burden in general, as also par-
ticularly a certain weight or measure ; for, as
we say a last of herrings, so they say ein last
corns (last wines, i.e. two tons), etc.
7. LOVES, Dan. lufte, "to air." Ger., luften, "to
lift," so as to expose to the air.
8. MAUND, Fr. mande, an open basket.
9. FED, an osier basket with lid.
10. RIVERS, Dan. rive, to lacerate.
1 1 . ROARERS, Dan. rare, to stir about
12. Row, Fr. rue, a street.
13. SWILL, Gael, suil, a willow.
H I Gr EC E S T .A.'W.A.iR, ID S ,
C. STACY- WATSON & CO.
received the ONLY AWARDS
at the National Fisheries Ex-
hibition, Norwich, and the
Fisheries Exhibition, Gt. Yar-
mouth, for HAM- CURED HER-
RINGS & ANTI-PILFERAGE
PACKAGE, and the only Prize
Medal awarded at the Interna-
tional Food Exhibition, London.
DIPLOMAS OF HONOUR.
Ham-cured, Export, and
C. STACY- WATSON & CO.,
CURERS AND PACKERS OF THE
C E L E B R A T E D
WHITE SALTED IN PICKLE,
PACKED IN BARRELS, BOXES, AND TINS.
For Prices and Particulars address
C. STACY-WATSON & CO., Yare Fishery Works, Gt. Yarmouth.
"THE SILVERY HOSTS OF THE NORTH SEA."
WITH HISTORICAL SKETCH OF QUAINT OLD YARMOUTH;
HOW TO COOK THE YARMOUTH HERRING.
By C. STACY-WATSON.
Price, cloth gilt, is. 6d. ; coloured stiff covers, is.
LONDON: "HOME WORDS" OFFICE, i, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.G.
GREAT YARMOUTH : C. STACY- WATSON.
"THE GREATEST DELICACY OF THE SEASON WHAT is
IT ? Tastes differ, and there is abundance of choice ; but after
honey (which the young folk consider to be always in season),
we should say, just now, a real Yarmouth Ham-cured Herring
at breakfast, following upon an early morning stroll to promote
the hunger which is the best condiment at every meal, would
carry the verdict. A family box from the inexhaustible Yar-
mouth stores of Mr. C. Stacy- Watson, was tested the other
morning in our presence,, and there was no questioning the re-
sult. ' Less meat and more herring,' would not be a bad medical
prescription especially for the breakfast table. Economy and
health would be equal gainers. We ought to add, take care how
you t cook ' your herring when you have ' caught it.' Like cook-
ing a potato, it is no doubt a very simple process, but it may not
the less be regarded as a triumph of the culinary art. Mr.
Stacy- Watson has issued a book of hints how to cook herrings.
There are dozens of ways ; and his suggestions will be invalu-
able in the kitchen." Hand and Heart, October 26th, 1877.
" Tot's . . . parents and friends much appreciated the
breakfast delicacies, which are the best Yarmouth bloaters, Ham-
cured by Mr. C. Stacy- Watson." Myrds Journal, December
" If our readers want a cheap breakfast-table luxury, let them
try Bloaters and Ham-cured Herrings in their season. They
may rely on Mr. Stacy- Watson, Great Yarmouth, to supply the
best of the best. We speak from experience." The Fireside,
1880, p. 241.
PKESS NOTICES. 97
" A CAPITAL BREAKFAST RELISH. The majority of people
get tired of ham, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, and long for a
change. Such persons we advise to try the Ham-cured Yar-
mouth Herrings sent out by Mr. C. Stacy- Watson, of Great
Yarmouth. Although they have been advertised in our columns
several weeks, it was only a few days ago that we had the op-
portunity of tasting them, and after trial we can recommend
them as a very capital breakfast relish. They are sent out in
boxes of various sizes." Coventry Standard, March gth, 1877.
" As I have mentioned on previous occasions, the ' sportive '
features of the exhibition are, in my estimation, of small account
in comparison with those connected with the great industry of
our coast. The ' herring ' is the staff of life to hundreds all
round our seaboard. Future exhibitions will probably do some-
thing more to foster and encourage the catching and curing of
this remarkable and prolific creature. The herring employs a
larger amount of capital engages more fishermen gives more
work to boat-builders, net-makers, curers, and innumerable
other handicraftsmen and demands a larger sacrifice of life
than any other fish that swims the sea. It is breakfast, dinner,
and tea to thousands of the poor, and the occasional luxury of
the rich. Whether as * Bloater ' or ' Ham-cured' it is alike use-
ful and delicate. It has made Yarmouth everywhere famous.
Packed in Messrs. C. Stacy- Watson and Co.'s thief-proof, Anti-
pilferage Box, which I am glad to see has obtained a diploma
of honour, the ham-cured article goes to all parts of England,
and indeed of the civilised world, and then, delicately cooked,
with just a masterful squeeze of lemon to soften its flavour and
imbue its own rich aroma with another, it makes the produce of
the pig vulgar, and becomes a food for lords and monarchs as
well as for labourers and artisans. But why do I write thus
about the herring ? Simply because it is the foundation of a
great industry, and to suggest that in future exhibitions this fact
should be to the front." Eastern Daily Press, May 7th, 1881.
" We must also draw the attention of our readers to a simple
yet admirable adaptation to the necessities of the fishing trade.
This is in the shape of packages for the better preservation
98 PKSS NOTICES.
and carriage of cured herring. They are exhibited by Messrs.
C. Stacy- Watson & Co., of Great Yarmouth, who have ob-
tained what we understand to be the only diploma for the
article in its marketable shape. These herring (which are
exhibited in bulk, not as samples or specimens of cured fish,
but as packages taken from stock) are * Ham-cured ' by a pro-
cess known only to this firm. They also obtained a diploma
for their Anti-pilferage Package. This appliance is designed
to meet a long-felt want in the trade, that of securing consign-
ments of fish from the petty thievery constantly going on
amongst the servants of public carriers, much to the annoyance
of merchants and consignees. Messrs. C. Stacy- Watson & Co.'s
invention differs from the ordinary square box, primarily in its
being wedge-shaped. The expediency of this is obvious when
we point out that an iron band is passed over the thinner, and
knocked down cooper fashion to the thicker part. This of it-
self would make the package very secure ; but, in order to
render it more so, nails are driven through holes bored in the
iron band for that purpose. Herrings thus packed are proof
against pilferage ; but in the improbable event of an attempt
being made to extract the contents, the appliance is made self-
detecting by placing a label over the iron band, and covering
the entire surface of the lid, the address card being fastened
in the centre of the label and over the band. Thus protected,
the package is safe, and in the case of any tampering a sure
clue is afforded to the discovery of the delinquent ; and when
the advantage is considered, viz., the receipt of goods well packed
and in perfect condition, there is not the least doubt that they
will reap their reward in an increased demand for their excel-
lently cured and securely packed commodities." Eastern
Daily Press, May 7th, 1881.
" Messrs. C. Stacy-Watson & Co., of Yarmouth, are to the
fore with cured goods, and what is termed their ' Anti-pilferage'
package, for both of which they have secured diplomas. All
can test the eatables for themselves, and we recommend a trial.
The box, however, must be seen or used to be appreciated as
it ought to be. It is one of the simplest and best inventions
we have seen for many a day, and perfectly calculated to
PRESS NOTICES. 99
accomplish the purpose to which it is devoted. The firm have
done for fish-packing what some ingenious mechanics say they
have accomplished for locks, made them unpickable. We will
not discuss the question of locks that is a matter we must
leave to experts and rivals ; but Messrs. Stacy- Watson & Co.'s
invention is perfect. It consists of a wedge-shaped instead of
a square box. Here is the great departure from the old
practice. An iron band is made to slide from the thinner to
the thicker part, when it is nailed to the box, and the lid thus
securely fastened. In order, however, to render the box a
tell-tale should violence be attempted, the label is placed over
the iron, and as the lid must either be broken or the iron band
be disturbed, the evidence would be complete of some one's
guilt, and inquiry would in all probability lead to detection.
But supposing the genius of thievery overcame the obstacle, it
would occupy so much time, that the result would not only be
dangerous, but annoying and profitless ; so that in every way
this simple invention is a great improvement, and a perfect
security against that petty crime, pilfering. This firm charge
no more for the new package than they did for the old, thus
showing their desire to meet the wants of the public, and to
secure them the full quantity of articles they order and pay for.
Much vexation is avoided, disputes rendered almost impossible,
and a vast amount of temptation prevented. This invention is
little to look at, but its value has been found in practice, and its
increased usefulness and demand are the best test of success."
Norwich Argus, Special, April 2 7th, 1881.
" The herring-curing process is a most important industry, but
there are, of course, different methods employed. The Ham-
cured Herrings, as they are styled, are undoubtedly a choice
breakfast delicacy, and of the excellence of those prepared by
Messrs. C. Stacy- Watson & Co., of the Yare Fishery Works,
Yarmouth, we can speak in terms of unqualified praise. Caught
between October and December last, these delicious fish are
now in splendid form, but they will retain their good qualities for
twice as long a period as has elapsed since they came ashore.
This firm, we understand, treat a vast number of barrels a year,
and the novel recipes they give for cooking the fish should be
ioo PRESS NOTICES.
procured from them, as a perusal will put the cook up to ' a
wrinkle ' or two not before understood. We are surprised this
firm got no more than a diploma of honour." Norwich Argus,
Exhibition Edition, May 4th, 1881.
" Of those Harn-cured Herrings, prepared by Messrs. C.
Stacy- Watson & Co., we can speak, as we have before
spoken, in terms of unqualified praise. This firm has hel
a foremost place in the Exhibition with their Ham-cured
Herrings . . . and their new invention the l Anti-pilferage
Package,' for both of which we are glad to see they have
obtained diplomas of honour, the only awards for either."
Hand and Heart, May 2oth, 1881.
"HAM-CURED HERRINGS. This breakfast-table relish is
again ready. Mr. C. Stacy- Watson, of Great Yarmouth, is ac-
quiring a wide reputation for the supply of these charming
Ham-cured Herrings. We have tested them now for some
years, and each year we are disposed to say we appreciate them
better, though we hardly see how that is possible. A Family
Box direct from Great Yarmouth, will make a welcome gift in
any home. We advise our readers to try it." Hand and Hearty
September 7th, 1880.
"YARMOUTH HERRINGS, ETC. At the recent Fisheries Exhi-
bition, Norwich, prominent among the exhibitors were Messrs.
C. Stacy- Watson & Co., the well-known fish curers and ex-
porters, and the sole proprietors of what is known as the * Anti-
pilferage Package/ of the celebrated Yarmouth Bloater and
Ham-cured Herrings. These specialities are very good, and
deservedly popular wherever they are known." Australian and
New Zealand Gazette, June 25th, 1881.
" FISHERIES EXHIBITION, GT. YARMOUTH. C. Stacy-
Watson & Co.'s exhibits are numerous and excellent in every
particular. First, we may notice a plan of his herring-curing
buildings on South Denes Road, and which will hang fifty
lasts, and also tanks for pickling fifty lasts (over a million-
and-a-quarter herrings). There is a stand specially devoted to
C. Stacy- Watson's toothsome Ham-cured Herrings, and his far-
PXSS NOTICES. 101
famed ' Anti-pilferage Package ' for which he received a diploma
of honour (the only award given for either) at the recent Norwich
Exhibition. It is needless to expatiate on the merits of the
* Anti-pilferage Package,' as its merits have already been fully
acknowledged." Yarmouth Gazette and North Norfolk Con-
stitiitionalist, July 23rd, 1881.
" Messrs. Stacy-Watson & Co. showed the Ham-herring in
addition to the ' Anti-pilferage Package/ The quality of these
fish was demonstrated by Mr. Watson opening a package in
our presence. These were last year's fish, packed in April of
the present year, and when the box was opened they were found
to be as sound and full-flavoured as when they were packed.
The Anti-pilferage Package, invented by Mr. Watson, has been a
great success, and is everywhere spoken of in the highest terms.
It thoroughly answers its purpose, namely, prevents pilfering in
the passage of the goods from one place to another. Numerous
testimonials have been received as to the success of his pack-
age, and although its introduction and make entail a consider-
able addition to the cost as compared with the old style, no
addition of price is made." Yarmouth Independent, July 23rd,
" 'HAM-CURED ' HERRINGS. As tasteful as ever, this break-
fast delicacy ought to be found on every breakfast table.
Messrs. Stacy- Watson Co., of Great Yarmouth, have made
the 'Ham Cure' quite famous." Church Standard, February
1 6th, 1883.
" COUNTY ANALYST'S OFFICE, London Street, Norwich,
" I hereby certify that I have made a very careful examination
of some boxes of Bloater and Ham Herrings, as sent out by
Stacy- Watson & Co., of Gt. Yarmouth, to ascertain whether
they were smoked with oak wood, or with common and cheaper
materials as is too often the case. The result of my examin-
ation has perfectly satisfied me that they are cured with oak
smoke ; and I may further add that it is seldom I have tasted
any herrings equal to them in flavour and quality, and certainly
have never had them surpassed.
" (Signed) FRANCIS SUTTON, F.C.S.,
" Fellow of the Chemical Societies of London and Berlin,
Public Analyst for the County of Norfolk, Borough oj
Gt. Yarmouth, etc?
" Sirs, Since I made the original examination of your
Bloaters and Ham Herrings in 1877, I have repeatedly com-
pared them with the fish sold in fish shops and by travelling
salesmen, with the result that your method of curing finds pre-
ference at the table, and the genuine oak flavour is always the
"(Signed) FRANCIS SUTTON."
From the Rev. CHARLES BULLOCK, B.D., Blackheath.
" To my taste they are exquisite. I regard you as a bene-
factor of the country."
From J. HUTTON, Rector of Stilton.
"Your Family Box of ' Ham-Cured ' Herrings is of excellent
From F. BARLOW, Mayor, Cambridge.
" The Herrings duly to hand, and very good indeed ; so good,
that I shall be glad to receive another box."
From W. H. OLLEY, Esq., Savage Gardens, London.
" Kindly forward to the above address two packages of the
same fine description of Bloaters as you sent me last year."
From A. E. RUTTER, Esq., Summerside, Shaftesbury, Dorset.
" Will feel obliged by Messrs. C. Stacy- Watson Co.
forwarding a barrel of their 'Ham-Cured' Herrings, which
were so delicious last season."
From T. C. PENNY, Esq., Little Dartmouth, Dartmouth.
" Box of ' Ham-Cured ' Herrings has given great satisfaction,
and friends inquire where they come from."
From J. H. THOMPSON, Delifield Road, Charlton*
" The Herrings sent last season were splendid."
From G. JENNINGS, Esq., Elvaston Castle, Derby.
" If you have any Bloaters or Kippers, please send the Earl
of Harrington a box to above address. You have sent them
From JAMES SMALE, Hales Street, Southwark, London.
" So very fine in flavour. I should like you to send me six
boxes of the same kind just sent."
From VISCOUNT HARDINGE, South Park, Penshiirst, Kent.
" Lord Hardinge would be obliged by your sending him a
box of fifty Bloaters, same as before."
From JOHN HEAD, Esq., Somerton, Somerset.
" The barrel of ' Ham-Cured ' Herrings has arrived, and they
are very good. Some of my neighbours have taken a part, so
that I require another barrel as before."
From THOMAS CASELY, \a, Kentish Town Road, London.
" They are really very fine. I don't know where such a quality
get to when they arrive in London, for we never see them."
From ROBERT MCCRACKEN, Esq., 38, Fenchurch Street,
" The Bloaters are really delicious, which fact was demon-
strated by the manner in which they disappeared from my
breakfast table this morning."
From Mrs. W. VIGOR Fox, Comberbech House, Northwich,
" Encloses P.O.O. requesting Mr. Stacy- Watson to send her
a box of his ' Ham-Cured ' Herrings, which are much liked."
From J. R. V. BRYANT, Esq., St. Michael's Square, Pembroke.
" The fish are very good, and the box cannot possibly be
opened on the way."
From HENRY RIBBAND, Esq., Bonchurch, Isle of Wight.
" The Bloaters you sent me arrived safely, and were most
beautiful. Kindly send me another 90 box as soon as possible."
From FRANCIS SUTTON, Esq., County Analyst's Office,
London Street, Norwich, March, 1883.
" I have great pleasure in telling you that the barrel of ' Ham-
Cured ' Herrings which I bought of you at the end of last year,
and also the box had at the beginning of this year, turned out
of first-rate quality, and possessed the same rich oak-smoke
flavour as those which I originally examined in 1877."
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN.
DEAN CONNOR, one of Her Majesty's Chaplains, writes :
" Her Majesty permits me to say she has read and approved of it with
THE WEEKLY PENNY NEWSPAPER.
"THE CHURCH STANDARD:"
&n Ellustratcti Journal anti
The Art Journal says : " The art is as gopd as the literature."
The Derby Mercury says : " We are more pleased than ever with the
thorough manliness of tone, its outspoken comments on passing events, and
the admirable summary of events of the day contained in its columns."
THE NEWS DEPARTMENT COMPRISES :
I. The Week: a Chronicle of Current Events and Opinions.
II. In Parliament: A Digest of the Debates during the Session.
III. Leaders on the most prominent Topics of the Day.
IV. Jottings on Men and Things. By a London Wayfarer.
V. Temperance : Facts, Figures, and Illustrations of the Move-
VI. Sanitary Papers.
VII. Out and About.
VIII. Fireside Tales.
X. Evidences of Christianity.
XI. England at Work.
XII. Historic Pictures.
XIII. Evenings at Home.
XIV. Humanity Page.
XV. Science Notes, etc.
XVI. Men of Mark.
*,* This Series has included Portraits and Biographical Notices of the
following Temperance Leaders:
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.
SIR WILFRID LAWSON, M.P.
J. B. GOUGH.
THOMAS BURT, ESQ., M.P.
THE REV. J. HASLOCH POTTER.
THE BISHOP OF EXETER.
J. G. RICHARDSON, ESQ.
THE BISHOP OF DURHAM.
MR. ROBERT RAE.
THE BISHOP OF BEDFORD.
THE REV. CANON FLEMING.
MR. A. SARGANT.
THE REV. J. F. KITTO.
CANON BASIL WILBERFORCE.
MR. F. SMITH.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER.
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columns of The Church Standard, The Fireside, and Tlie Day of Days"
The Church of England Temperance Chronicle.
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teresting." Alliance News.
"A capital paper. It is giving increasing attention to temperance topics."
Scottish League Journal.
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To whom he was indeed a ' living song.' "
FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL.
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Rev. Horatius Bonar, D,D.
The Rev. Ray Palmer, D.D.
Frances Ridley Havergal.
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Rev. C. H. Spurgeon.
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18. Parting Words.
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TEMPERANCE LANDMARKS: 1829-1879.
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