The Herring into Kippers of Robin Hood's Bay

The fishermen of Robin Hood's Bay would sail out in their cobbles to catch fish.  They would hope to find the shoals of Herrings, which they would bring back to shore to sell in the local markets.  In the 17th and 18th century they would need to preserve the catch.  This could be done in a number of different ways which included salting, drying and pickling; but the way they preserved the Herring was different.  Do you know how they did it?  They smoked it.

 

When the Herring was smoked it was given another name. Kippers.

 

The smoking of Herring continues today and not very far away in Whitby.  What follows are a series of photographs taken in Whitby.  The process has remained the same for many years ( it still involves smoke houses, oak/ wood chippings) and involves lots of smoke.  The Herring changes from a silvery grey colour to a reddish brown, while in the smoke house.

 

 

The fish are slit down the middle and hung on racks.

 

 

Below are the racks the Herring are hung on.

 

 

Below you are looking into the smoke house at a pile of oak shavings which are burnt to create the smoke.  The smoke preserves the fish, colours it and gives it a smoked fish taste.

 

 

The smoke house inside is blackened by the smoke and covered in tar...  A good reason never to start smoking!!!

 

 

The Kippers are now ready for sale, just like they were hundreds of years ago.