Jay Cresswell has been in touch to tell us about some more video of the Grand Bankers of Portugal – see Comments in the left-hand column above left.
He’s also been in touch to say that within a few years, there will be as many as three restored four-masted schooners built in the 1930s for use in the Grand Banks fishing grounds.
But to return to the video, the material he has found is marvellous footage of the schooners, their wooden boats and the fishermen themselves – six sections of film titled The Lonely Men of the Dories – the link above goes to section 1, but the rest are linked below. By the way, don’t let the title you see in the Youtube pages worry you – the voiceovers are in English.
Here’s a fabulous piece of film following the crew of a Portuguese schooner fishing off the Grand Banks in the middle of the last century, complete with footage of dories stacked on deck and being rowed and lifted aboard, and the fishermen themselves hauling long lines, gutting fish, getting lost in fog and even attending the funeral of a fellow crew member.
The commentary feels a little over-cooked for our times – whoever wrote it may have been reading a little too much Hemingway – and the screen is a little fuzzy, but what it shows is priceless for anyone with an interest in this aspect of maritime history and the boats involved.
I’m grateful to the excellent Mal Nicholson, owner of the Humber supersloopSpider T (of which more soon!) for letting me know about it.
PS – The really good news is that several of these Grand Bankers are still alive and being renovated and restored by the Portuguese as Jay Creswell tells us in his comment below. Don’t miss what he has to say…
Still of fishermen long-lining from dories in the 1920s, from the Albert Khan archive
Some fabulous documentary film of French fishermen catching cod from on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland is online now via the BBC iPlayer – if you’re lucky enough to have access to it. Click here!
Originally from Alsace, Albert Khan was a rich pacifist, philanthopist and internationalist who sought to promote world peace by using photography as a means of persuading the people in the West of the enormous diversity of human life and culture – so he sent French photographers on trips throughout the World to shoot black and white as well as early colour photos and film.
To say that the material his photographers brought back is hugely impressive would be an understatement. It clearly demonstrates the richness and high degree of civilisation of the lives lived by many in even the remotest areas of the world and should be seen by anyone who doesn’t know enough about people in other parts of the world, just as Khan intended.
But enough of the sermon – this particular programme includes some fabulous footage of the lives and work of dory fishermen fishing from French boats in the era before the trawlers emptied the Grand Banks of cod, as well as excerpts from the telling diary of the photographer who took it.There’s also some nice clips of sailing Breton tuna fishermen in port.
If you can see material on the iPlayer, do catch it before it’s no longer available!
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