Dory fishermen’s lives in the 1920s on film

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Albert Khan

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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Sadie Snowdon builds a John Gardner dory

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Sadie Snowdon

Sadie to the sea Sadie workshop 1 Sadie workshop

Sadie’s 14ft Gardner dory project Dolly

Boat Building Academy student Sadie Snowdown built this 14ft Marblehead dory skiff designed by John Gardner, and launched it along with her fellow students’ projects back in June.

It’s a double-chine plywood rowing skiff with oak details that she has set up for two rowers with modern gates and pins rather than the more usual traditional rowlocks.

Sadie joined the course at Lyme after working at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as a volunteer, during which she decided she wanted to develop her boat building skills. See the Portsmouth Dockyard website for information about the work volunteers undertake.

John Gardner’s books are a tremendous body of work if you’re interested in American boat types, and some of them have been available at very keen prices in recent years it’s well worth checking Amazon Johnny Tyson builds a 14ft Whitehall at the Boat Building Academy.

My thanks once again to Academy principal Yvonne Green for the photos.

For more on student launches at the Boat Building Academy, click here.

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