Fishing

A whole variety of baskets were needed for the fishing industry. These ranged from highly adaptable and regionally variable sculls, murlins and rips to very precise and prescriptive herring quarter crans (used for carrying and measuring fish). There were also creels, which fish-wives used to carry on their backs when selling fish, often with rips balanced on top to display their wares. Creels too varied in form from north to south, and even more so from east to west. Arm creels were also used in some regions, such as Arbroath. And there were baskets for locally specific jobs associated with fishing, such as bait baskets and lobster creels, as well as regionally specific forms such as Orkney and Shetland kishies and budies made from dockens, rattan or straw.   A question which has provoked a great many assumptions and opinions is, ‘Who made these baskets?’ The temptation has been to assume that, with the exception of the quarter cran, which had to be made by trained basket-makers who had completed an apprenticeship, most fishermen made their own. From our research so far, this looks unlikely. It is, however, surprisingly difficult to find out any information about this now. If anyone browsing the site has information about this, please contact us.See also Fish selling, Herring industry and Line fishing for white fish

Fishing gallery

Baiting lines in Writers' Court Dunbar, 1893

Tabh. A North Uist fishing net

Carex flacca

  The tabh was a conical fishing net made of the roots of Carex flacca, commonly known as blue sedge or glaucous sedge. These roots are particularly strong. It was used by placing the net at the mouth of a …Continue reading “Tabh. A North Uist fishing net”

Ceramic Fishwives of the Forth Littoral

Ceramic fishwives, National Museum of Scotland

From about 1750 until the 1930s Scotland’s potteries were producing utilitarian and decorative wares including fishermen and fisherwives.Continue reading “Ceramic Fishwives of the Forth Littoral”

From Creels to Quarter Crans: the form and function of baskets used by the Scottish fishing community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

by Linda Fitzpatrick, Curator, Scottish Fisheries Museum This presentation outlines the types of baskets developed and used within the Scottish fishing industry from its heyday in the late 19th century to the early 20th century.   Based on an examination of the baskets …Continue reading “From Creels to Quarter Crans: the form and function of baskets used by the Scottish fishing community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries”

Blind Benjie Finlayson plays fiddle, with all the materials for making a line basket to his left

PC_CAMPBELLROSS_01

‘Blind Benjie’ Finlayson is playing fiddle, sitting with his father who baits lines, feeding them into a deep Cromarty-style line scull. A half-finished scull lies on the ground between them, while a bundle of the materials for making it, probably willows …Continue reading “Blind Benjie Finlayson plays fiddle, with all the materials for making a line basket to his left”

Longline baskets on the beach at Cromarty, c1910

Men with line baskets on the beach at cromarty

Two fishermen work on the shore beside a boat, below the fishertown at Cromarty. Beside them are several sculls, or scoos, – line baskets. The small boats reflected the type of fishing and the sculls used, which was close to home. …Continue reading “Longline baskets on the beach at Cromarty, c1910”

Preparing mussels for bait, Cromarty 1910s

Woman preparing mussels for bait

A fisherwoman is preparing mussels to use as bait in line fishing in Gordons Lane, Cromarty, around 1910. The mussels are in a large barrel before her, while behind her are what appear to be several deep sculls,  typical of …Continue reading “Preparing mussels for bait, Cromarty 1910s”

Quarter cran , a basket using willow and hazel

Quarter cran, Leith Customs House Collection, NMS

A quarter cran was used in the herring industry. Originally they were made in willow and hazel but later came to be made in rattan.