Fisherrow harbour is situated in the Fisherrow area of Musselburgh, to the west of the River Esk. It lies 7 miles to the East of Edinburgh, on the East Lothian coast. The present harbour dates back to the 17thcentury, although many structural changes have been made over time.
It served as a port for fishermen who sailed out to catch herring, and later white fish, prawns and sprats. There was also a fishmarket at this location where fishwives would sell the catch. Today, the harbour is mainly used by leisure boats and only fragments of this previous way of life remain. With the Fisherrow sands located to the immediate west, the area is popular as a leisure spot.
This blog will be a space to document progress on my current projects.
For my final degree project, I am focusing in on women’s histories, in relation to this year being the centenary of the first women gaining the right to vote. After a period of initial research into collections of women’s history, I discovered some photographs of Scottish fisherwomen. Women had an important role to play in the Scottish fishing industry and in their communities. Not only did they assist fishermen in their work and look after their families, but they were also the main breadwinners in the family, earning a living through carrying and selling fish. The Fisherrow fishwives from Fisherrow harbour in Musselburgh had a very physically demanding job and were instantly recognisable from their “distinctive striped skirts and aprons”1. This is an example of a group of women, who, because of their dedicated work and ability to earn a living, gained a sense of emancipation and equality, during a time when other women were fighting hard for it, and this is why I have decided to explore their history.