Heritage Centre prepares to opens its doors to the public

Centre Volunteer Guide Barbara Buchan. picture: Alison Kennedy
Centre Volunteer Guide Barbara Buchan. picture: Alison Kennedy

FRASERBURGH Heritage Centre is preparing to open its doors to the public next Saturday, with a special exhibition dedicated to the traditional herring industry.

Vistiors are invited to expereince the the sights, sounds, and smells of the industry with a demonstration from authentic 1930s Gutting Girls.

Centre Volunteer Guide Barbara Buchan explains: “Working in a Herring yard was a very hard, wet, messy job.”

“Three women formed a crew; two women gutted the herring and the third packed the gutted herrings into barrels. At the beginning of the season the crew took “Arles”.

!The Curer would give the women £1 each when they signed on – their contract that bound them to the Curer for the season. They were paid £1 each per week.”

“Herring drifters fished all night and arrived back in port in the morning. A sample of the catch was rushed to the Herring Market where the bell was rung to alert the Curers the Sale was about to start.

“The Curer would bid for maybe twenty Crans - Four Herring baskets made up One Cran.”

“The Cooper had gone round the gutting crews telling them “Come on quines, get yer clooties on, ther’ll be twenty Cran o’ herrin in the yard in half an oor”.

“The women put on their Kwytes (a protective waterproof garment) and their rubber boots.

“Then they ‘bandaged’ their fingers with old pieces of cloth to protect them from the sharp gutting knife.”

Volunteers look forward to welcoming guests between 10am and 4pm on Saturday September 17 as they share stories of this fascinating period in Fraserburgh’s history.

As well as a the usual displays and demonstartions from the Gutting Girls at 1.30pm and 2.30pm, visitors will be delighted with Doric recitations from the Lochpots School Choir at 2pm and 3pm.

There will also be model boat building and The Family History Society of Buchan will be on site to chat to vistiors about relatives and ancestors.

Amateur Radio Club members will also be transmitting from the Marconi Shack.

Across the car park The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses will be offering tours to the top of Kinnaird Head Lighthouseand out to the Wine Tower throughout the day.