Film ID: NEFA 20526 Video of NEFA_20526 Whitby Herring Industry(1952) WHITBY'S HERRING INDUSTRY 1952 Visitor TabsDescription A comprehensive look at Whitby's herring fishing and curing industry made by Edward Roberts in the early 1950s. Title: Durham County Education Committee Title: Whitby’s Herring Industry Title: Filmed and produced by E. Roberts County Inspector of Schools Title: Sunset. Drifters Leave Harbour The film begins with a high level view over North Promenade on Whitby’s West Cliff. A fishing boat heads to sea from the harbour mouth, passing the pier extensions. General seascape with fishing vessels out at sea. Title: Next morning boats in the harbour Panoramic view from Whitby’s swing bridge of the boats of the herring fleet, moored six or seven deep, beside the Fish Quay. View over the bow of a fishing boat, ropes and pulleys crossing the frame, towards Tate Hill Pier as a small coble passes by. View of the bow of a fishing boat, registration WY.1. Panning view of the herring fleet, two of the vessels have KY (Kirkcaldy) registration marks. Baskets of fish are being hoisted out on to the Fish Quay. Close-up shots of the bows of four fishing boats: the Venus, the Prosperity, the Foxglove, and the Eastern Horn. View of the bow of the Faith Star fishing vessel; then views of the bows of the Pilot Me II, the Endeavour, the Galilee, and the Golden Arrow. View along Pier Road, busy with pedestrian traffic, and people watching the herring boats unloading onto the fish quay. Views of swinging baskets of fish being hoisted onto the fish quay by ropes and pulleys; nearby, a truck is laden with crates of fish, some of which are labelled “PERCY HULL”. Title: A Dutch fishing boat. When the catch is unloaded there are other jobs to do. View of a trawler boat, its deck busy with fishermen at work. A fisherman hoses a deck down with water. Portrait shot of a fisherman repairing nets while standing on a boat’s deck; he smokes a cigarette and wears a flat cap. Another man hauls a timber mast or pole over the deck, and positions it. View of another fisherman repairing nets, as he sits beside a row of buoys – beside his boat is moored the FR.22. Another fisherman repairs his nets. Title: Unloading the catch Overhead shot looking down into the hold of a fishing boat, where a group of young men scoop shovel loads of fish into baskets and send them up onto the deck by crane. A little boy watches the scene while standing on the boat’s deck. Close-up view of the men shovelling fish into baskets. In the foreground of the shot, a crane or pulley wheel spins. On the Fish Quay, two men stand on top of a pile of crates, and pour the basket loads of fish hoisted out of the fishing boats into empty crates. On the quayside’s edge, a little boy carries a few fish on a ring threaded through their gills. Close-up view of a crab on the quayside. View out over the harbour from Fish Quay. Title: A glut of herring View of the Fish Quay, where thousands of herring have been unloaded. The area of fish covers several square meters, and is being shovelled by a man. Close-up view of the heap of herring, covered thick with salt, grit, or ice. At the other end of the quayside, in front of Funland amusements, a team of men work to shovel the fish into barrels. Title: Salting and packing. These herring are to be pickled for export to the continent. Views of the fish being shovelled into barrels. Every few shovel-loads, another man scratches some salt into the barrel from a bowl; the shot lingers on the scene until a barrel is totally full of fish. View from the East Side towards Pleasureland amusements arcade and the Fish Quay, with the heap of herring is being packed into barrels. Long-lens view across the harbour towards the Fish Quay, where men (coopers) handle and seal barrels in front of an ice cream parlour; two cobles are moored beside the quay (WY 122). Title: Kippers are made by ‘curing’ herrings. Gutting and washing. Close-up of a man gutting herring. Gutted herring are thrown into wicker baskets. The wicker baskets are placed into stone sinks to wash the fish: view of a man swirling the basking in the sink water, then dumping the load of fish into an adjacent sink. Title: The brine bath Close-up of a blackboard resting above the fish washing sinks. Another load of fish is dumped into the sink. Title: In the curing sheds. Oak chippings are lighted to smoke the herrings. A woman fixes herring fish onto spiked nails set on rods. Close-up of beds of woodchip burning. Views of the rows of herring curing inside the kipper house. Title: Fresh, golden-brown kippers A man and a woman unload rods of newly smoked kippers from the kipper house. A little boy standing nearby smiles. Title: On the cliffs around the hungry gull wait to be fed from fish waste View of a craggy cliff on the East Side, populated with herring gulls. Close-ups of the birds. One bird tears at another, pulling at its wing with its beak. A woman wearing a headscarf unloads a bucket of fish waste onto the ground, and a swarm of herring gulls swoops in to gorge on the guts. A little boy stands nearby watching the birds feeding; in the background the harbour mouth piers and their extensions. The film ends with two brief shots: seagulls flying overhead; and over the East Pier ladder. Context Edward “Ted” Roberts was born on 30th July 1893; the fourth of ten children, to Thomas and Rachel Roberts of Weardale Street, Mount Pleasant, on the edge of Spennymoor in County Durham. On attaining age Edward attended the local Board School before moving to the junior department of North Road School in Spennymoor. As a youth he won a scholarship to King James Grammar School in Bishop Auckland and in 1912 attended Westminster School in London to train as a school teacher. When World War One broke out Edward joined the Royal Army Medical Corp and was later transferred to the newly formed Royal Flying Corp in 1918. On demobilisation he returned to County Durham and took up his first teaching post at East Howle in Cornforth, later moving to North Road School, Spennymoor, where he had once been a pupil. During this time he continued his education and obtained a BSc and MSc in Economics from London University. In 1930 he was appointed Headmaster of Broom School in Ferryhill, where he remained for 15 years. In 1930 he also became County Inspector for Schools, taking responsibility for 150 schools in the Durham City, Spennymoor and Weardale areas until his retirement in 1958. Like his father before him Edward was an active member of the Spennymoor Baptist Church becoming chapel organist and choirmaster as well as Treasurer for 29 years. He was also active in helping form a number of youth societies. It was at one of these societies that he met his future wife Mabel Pearson whom he married in 1923. Throughout his life Edward enjoyed many leisure activities including filmmaking, producing five films between 1950 and 1955 as well as contributed a number of articles to “Sight & Sound” magazine. The films he made are: Durham Miners’ Gala 1951-55 City of Durham Life on a Hill Sheep Farm in Weardale Teesdale & the Tees Whitby Herring Industry Edward was founder member and Treasurer of the Spennymoor Lecture Society and Chairman of the Spennymoor Celebrity Concerts Society where he became highly regarded as a choirmaster. He also adjudicated at a number of music festivals throughout the North East. On his retirement in 1958 Edward moved to Durham City joining the local Baptist chapel and Secretary of the Northern Baptist Federation. He also began writing his memoirs “Across the Green” that was eventually published in 2003. Edward died following a heart attack in June 1975.