Newbiggin has a maritime heritage that goes back to the early 14th century; records show that there was a pier to the north of the bay around that time. A fishing industry has always been important, and has a long standing association with the church.
These upside down boats were called ‘Mules’ and used for living in and storage. They were found at the east end of the bay.
A Newbiggin fisherman’s life was a hard one of toil and a constant battle with the sea and elements. As well as fishing duties, nets needed to be repaired, cobles attended to, lines tarred and pots mended. A fisherman’s outgoings were high, his income low and there was little time for leisure.
Once the fish were landed, they needed to be sold quickly; open air markets were common. The average wage of fishermen in 1915 was 12 shillings (£25) per week.
It’s good to put some names to faces. This photo was taken in Robinson Square. The young girl second from the right is Mary Dawson Armstrong. Standing in the centre are Margaret Robinson and her sister Elizabeth. Betty Robinson is working the fish line, watched by Annabel Dent, daughter of sailor Dent smoking the pipe.
Did you know….
Herring feed on plankton and small animals and plants.