When fishing became popular and catches plentiful in the early 1900s, Southwold needed a fishmarket. The so-called ‘Kipperdrome’ was an octagonal building on the site of today’s caravan park.(P449.2)
Longshore (fishing from the beach) fishing continued in parallel with drifting, and there were 120 boats trawling and shrimping off the beach. Some boats were jointly owned by wealthy locals and the crew, with profits equally divided.
To prepare the catch, Scottish fishergirls worked in all weathers packing herrings. Many fish were cured in brine, packed and exported to Europe. The girls stayed for the season in town or went over to Walberswick on the ferry where they would stroll, chatting and often knitting. Some fussy landladies would line the walls of their houses with paper, it was said, in order to keep at bay the grease and the smell of fish.
Herring Girls shifting barrels of salt herring P734
to process a fresh batch of herring. About 1907. P658
Busy fish sale at Southwold Harbour with women gutting herring. October 1908. P006