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The dresses illustrated here are a selection taken from old postcards from the wide range of styles of dress worn in fishing communities in Britain. The two photos at Johnshaven fish festival were taken in the summer of 2002

At Newhaven one set of clothes was worn as a   working dress, another, the Gala Dress, was worn on special occasions such as Sundays and annual festivals. Many examples of the Newhaven dress can be seen in the mid-19th century photographs by the Edinburgh photographers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson.
Newhaven Fishgirls
Newhaven Fishgirls

On a visit to Newhaven, Queen Victorian is reputed to have said:

“The fisherwomen are the most striking looking people and are generally young and pretty women – very clean hands very Dutch-looking with their white caps and bright coloured petticoats. They never marry out of their class.”

Do you have other examples that we can use? Please let the authors know.


Johnshaven Fish Festival
Linda Gagie, Masie Murray & Peg Hall at the Johnshaven Festival, NE Scotland, summer 2002.
Johnshaven Fish Festival
Johnshaven Fish Festival
Flither Pickers
Flither Pickers
Scotch Fisher Girls
Scotch Fisher Girls at Scarborough
Cornish Fish Wife
Cornish Fish Wife
Newhaven Fish Wife
Newhaven Fishwife
Caller Herrin
Caller Herrin'!
Cornish Fisherwoman
Cornish Fisherwoman

Flither Pickers

"Flither Pickers" or "Flithergirls" were the names given to women in the fishing community who collected "flithers" (limpits used for bait on long-lines) from the rocks along the Yorkshire coast. The work was hard and often involved the women walking many miles to suitable locations. The picture above gives an impression of this work.


Three Day Millionaires During the 1960s young fishermen in trawling towns began wearing these colourful suits. We would be delighted to receive copies of colour photos taken during this period, and to hear about how this fashion came into being. It would also be interesting to hear about the experiences of the fishermen who wore the suits.

We are most grateful to Alec Gill, of Hull, who provided a copy of this picture.