Image and identity: the lives of the Scots herring girls, 1900-1950

De Fresnes, Jillian (2010). Image and identity: the lives of the Scots herring girls, 1900-1950. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis is an exploration of representations of the Scots Herring Girls through oral, visual, and contemporary sources in the period 1900-1950. The Scots Herring Girls were a large migratory workforce of women who were employed within the herring fishing industry during the nineteenth and twentieth century, to gut and pack the fish into barrels as it was landed on the piers around the coast of Scotland and down to the southern ports of East Anglia. The thesis builds a portrait of the lives of the women who followed the herring, focusing on the themes of transport and travel, living and working conditions, and recreation and culture. Through distinctive fieldwork and methodology, it considers the complex patterns of identity and perceptions, both through the voices of the women themselves, through the voices of those outside the industry and through the popular media of the time. It also combines the visual narratives and the way in which the women were portrayed, both at the time, and subsequently as part of a cultural heritage.

This manuscript is accompanied by a DVD of filmed interview clips as an Appendix.

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