THE HERRING LASSIES
The backdrop for these paintings is Newhaven Harbour in Edinburgh. The idea was to recreate and capture the spirit and camaraderie of the Herring Lassies. Thousands of girls from the Scottish Highlands and islands worked in the Herring industry. They normally worked in a tight knit crew of three. Herring gutting was a valuable seasonal source of employment for the girls and women. Although the work of herring gutting entailed long hours of very hard and dirty work for a low wage, the work was appreciated and, because of the companionship and the team work the cheerful girls looked forward to the opening of each fishing season. Many got their first job opportunity at the herring gutting after they left school at 14 years old!