Monday, 30 September 2013


I am very busy with the book I am in the process of publishing about the Ramsgate fishing smacks, so don’t have much time to blog at the moment.

Trying to find out when trawling was first introduced here is a tricky one and has sent me looking through all the early histories looking for references.

Reading John Lewis writing about Ramsgate and Broadstairs in the early 1700s I came across this quote which amused me and I thought would amuse other blog readers; “Anciently the inhabitants of Ramsgate , St Peters and Bradstowe, lived, it seems very meanly and poorly, eating scarce any thing but fish, and particularly Red-herrings, and Ling”

On a more serious note, sea fishing using drift nets has been practiced since prehistoric times, and we know trawling was invented before 1376 because the king was petitioned to stop it on environmental grounds.   

 "three fathom long and ten mens' feet wide…. of so small a mesh, no manner of fish, however small, entering within it can pass out and is compelled to remain therein and be means of which instrument the fishermen aforesaid take so great abundance of small fish aforesaid, that they know not what to do with them, but feed and fatten the pigs with them, to the great damage of the whole commons of the kingdom, and the destruction of the fisheries in like places, for which they pray remedy."

But although the historians noted the nets; this is William Camden in 1586 “the Inhabitants, those especially who live near the roads or harbours of Margat, Ramsgate, and Brodstear namely, That they are exceeding industrious, and are as it were Amphibious creatures, and get their living both by sea and land: they deal in both elements, are both fishers and ploughmen, both husbandmen and mariners; and the self same hand that holds the plough, steers the ship. According to the several seasons, they make nets, fish for Cod, Herring, Mackarel, &c. go to sea themselves, and export their own commodities.” When did we first start trawling here?

On a computing note, this is the first book I am trying to put together using cloud computing, which means that the text file is in cyberspace somewhere and I am editing it using various computers and my mobile phone depending on where I am.  


  1. Michael,

    This will be an interesting book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

  2. so rather than your head in a cloud your book is!


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