British Sea-Fishermen, by Anson – part II, from Buchan to Grimsby

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Anson British Sea-Fishermen

‘Most of the apprentices had been brought up in orphanages and
reformatory schools… The system produced splendid fishermen,
but the evils were many.’

The quotation comes from Anson himself, and he’s talking about the Grimsby fishing fleet. As a North Lincolnshire boy who grew up with the sons and daughters of at least a few fishing skippers, I’ve always had a bit of an interest in fishing communities, their boats and their songs, even though I have no interest at all in trying their difficult and dangerous trade myself. But I’ll say one thing – after reading Anson, I’ll forever think about the favourite hymns and songs that came out of fishing in the 19th century in a completely different way, for among other things they were the songs of boys who had no choice about the trade they had entered. Think of a bunch of pressed boys singing the words of Eternal Father Strong to Save, Three Score and Ten and Heave Away the Trawl Warp for a while, and you may see what I mean.

For a little more on Three Score and Ten, start here.

Anson British Sea-Fishermen Anson British Sea-Fishermen Anson British Sea-Fishermen

Anson British Sea-Fishermen Anson British Sea-Fishermen Anson British Sea-Fishermen

Anson British Sea-Fishermen Anson British Sea-Fishermen


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One thought on “British Sea-Fishermen, by Anson – part II, from Buchan to Grimsby”

  1. I love the 'grittyness' of these illustrations in mono, somehow black and white is the right atmosphere for this subject, colour might interfere with the spareness of them. I have somewhere a small painting of fishing boats on Chesill Beach in the 1790's. Open boats, bluff-bowed with tumblehome, designed for netting I'd think. Interesting in the pic by Anson, the square sails apparently on the mizzen.

    Jeff

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