Postcard from Scarborough

This picture gives a clear indication of the scale of the herring industry - the barrels stacked in the distance.
This picture gives a clear indication of the scale of the herring industry - the barrels stacked in the distance.

This postcard relates to an era when our seafronts and piers were taken over by the Scottish, or Scotch, fisher girls - as they were variously titled by the postcard publishers.

During August of each year between the 1890s and 1914, the 'girls' having followed the herring fishing fleet down the east coast during a ten-week season, continued their employment for a couple of weeks in Scarborough, one of the country's largest herring ports.

This picture gives a clear indication of the scale of the herring industry - the barrels stacked in the distance.

With a seemingly wall-to-wall carpet of gutted fish, the unpleasant smell must have wafted over large areas of the town and caused a distraction to visitors, and yet it is apparent that man regarded the scenes of the girls at work as an attraction.

Each girl could gut 50 herrings a minute, which were then packed in sale at the rate of 1,000 per barrel, most of which was exported.

Despite the fact the girls would spend much of their spare time washing their clothes according to the requirements of the landladies, the latter had some difficulty in attracting tourists either during, or for long after the fleet had set sail!