Follow the Herring: project celebrates unsung ‘fishergirls’

PUBLISHED: 14:57 24 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:57 24 January 2014




Around 150,000 people living and working on the east coast of Britain are to embark on a unique project celebrating the unsung heroines of the fishing industry – including Great Yarmouth.

For almost 100 years, women from fishing communities in the north east and Scotland followed the herring fleets down the coast, meeting the catch and gutting, salting and barrelling the fish.

Now, the back-breaking work of the “herring lassies” or “fisher girls” and the traditions which grew up around them, are to be commemorated with a nationwide project of performance, song and visual arts, launched last week at South Shields.

Follow the Herring – a collaboration between The Customs House Arts Centre in South Shields and the North East-based Guild of Lillians Theatre Company and supported by Arts Council England – will re-trace the women’s journey, from Scotland down to Yarmouth, in a three-month tour of 12 coastal towns starting in May and arriving in the town week commencing June 30.

Their will be performances of Get Up and Tie Your Fingers, a play by Ann Coburn, will be performed at St George’s Theatre while a boat/exhibition will be on display at the Tide and Time Museum.

The exhibition, Coat for A Boat, is an acclaimed knitted art exhibition, supplemented by items knitted locally for each venue.

Teams of knitters have already decorated a full scale fishing boat and organisers hope as many people as possible will now knit a herring to join the boat on its journey down the coast, where it will be exhibited in each town visited.

The aim is that, by the end of the tour in August, the boat will have a full, woollen “catch” of the fish, known as “silver darlings.”

A spokeswoman for the organisers said: “We very much want knitters to start sending in woollen herrings. Check out the website where knitters can download the herring knitting pattern!”

In addition, community choirs are learning songs based on traditional shanties sung by the women, which they will perform to a specially commissioned score by composer Karen Wimhurst.

For further details about the project visit

Other News


One Great Yarmouth home has fully embraced the Christmas spirit this year, all in the name of a good cause.


The heart of two communities shone through as well-wishers - including an MP - rushed to help people injured in two serious falls.


The future of Great Yarmouth is bright, according to council bosses leading the transformation charge in the borough.

Drivers are being forced to pay a “stealth tax”, it has been claimed, after it was revealed car owners in Norwich paid £74 on average last year to park their cars.

Most Read

Fri, 12:40

Taco Bell has opened its doors in Great Yarmouth for the first time after a surprise early opening, much to the delight of fans of the Tex-Mex fast food chain.

Read more
United States
Mon, 16:52

A care home where mattresses were getting soaked through to the base with urine has been put into special measures.

Read more
Care Quality Commission
Thu, 08:02

A parent who was “frightening” children by wearing a face mask outside of a Norfolk secondary school has been captured having a heated argument with a police officer after he refused to remove it.

Read more
Lynn Grove Academy
Wed, 07:03

A former American diner’s £350,000 transformation could help to improve the reputation of one of Great Yarmouth’s main urban thoroughfares.

Read more
Mon, 09:14

Witnesses are being sought after a teenage girl was punched in the face in Gorleston High Street.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 0°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy