Apprentices learn about fishing heritage

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APPRENTICES from Whitby’s fishing school joined a packed audience at Whitby Museum last Saturday (5 March) to learn about the Yorkshire coast’s rich fishing heritage.

Christiane Kroebel, librarian and archivist at Whitby Museum, helped to organise the event.

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She said: “It’s getting more difficult for the fishing industry and it’s so nice to know that there are still young apprentices learning their trade and wanting to be fishermen.

“There’s always a combination of people who have moved to this area and want to know what it’s about and other people who are from here and want to know more about their history.”

The event brought together expert speakers and also featured short films supplied by the Northern Region Film and Television Archive.

Mrs Kroebel added: “We saw film footage from the 1920s showing the fishermen who were deep sea fishing,

“They had to row out and to chuck their catch from one boat to the other and then they had to jump themselves across, even in really high seas.

“It was really, really scary.”

Other guest speakers talked about fishermen’s wives left behind, medieval fishing archaeology, and Whitby’s old whaling fleet, which brought a lot of wealth to the town between 1750 and 1850.

Mrs Kroebel said: “Besides whales, large numbers of seals and narwhals were shipped back from summer expeditions to the Arctic.

“Even polar bears were brought back, at least one of them still alive.

“It ended its life in a zoo after terrifying the inhabitants of Church Street.”

The event was organised jointly by the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society and the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.