The Herring Girls History
The Herring Girl Collection is inspired by a collection of knitting patterns
that my granny passed down.
Until the outbreak of the Second World War, the herring industry was
booming. The herring girls – those employed in the industry – followed
the shoals of herring from port to port up and down the British Coastline,
sending money home to their rural communities.
Many girls would knit in their spare time, curing the catch by day and
knitting by night.
The Guernsey had particularly unique patterns and would be worn by the
fishermen, identifying them to their home ports.
Each garment has its own place of origin, the knitters having an affiliation
with a specific herring port, and sometimes a specific boat.
The port of Castlebay is the chosen launch point for the 2020 collection.
Castlebay has a special significance for the company’s founder and
designer, who hails from the crofting and fishing township of Bruernish
on The Isle of Barra. It was her family who inspired the designs of the
Fishing Guernsey’s boats registered at CY which would have followed
the Shoals of Herring. The design journey begins at the CY port and will
migrate to other ports, telling the tales of the hardworking women upon
which the ports relied.
2020 Herring Girl Collection
The Port of Castlebay
Each Herring Port has its own story to tell. The tale of the 2020 Collection and launches from Castlebay. Where my own family would start there trail following the Shoals of Herring.
A Herring Girl would travel with her own kist in which she would have packed the following items:-
The Herring Girls Kist
A thin Mattress
Sheet and pillow case
Towel and Flannels
Six knitted knickers
Cutlery, mug, plate and Bible
Working Clothes- long coat, a skirt. A Gansey (sweater)
Aprons six pairs of woollen stockings, shawl, helmets and working gumboats.
And for pleasure Knitting Needles, Wool, knitting pouch tied around her waist.
Questions about Herring Girl Collection? Don’t hesitate to reach out today.
Isle of Barra