11 – 1882 – a Freeze Frame

Robert Hewett told a House of Commons Select Committee in this year that the Short Blue Fleet, including those that owned their own ships, totalled in round numbers 200.

 

The average total catch per year for the previous seven years had been £180,000 p.a..

 

Hewett and Co had eight steamers carrying fish to Billingsgate.

 

At Billingsgate a total of 118,977 tons of fish arrived, of which 76,578 arrived by land, 42,399 by sea. About 400 tons, mostly shellfish, were condemned.

 

Hewett and Co had 82 trawlers from 55 to 65 tons sailing from Yarmouth, according to Harvey Harvey-George.

 

New smacks cost from £1,000 to £1,200, unless they were fitted with a steam capstan in which case they were a lot more expensive.

 

Average gross earnings for a smack for an eight week trip was £160.

 

Ships expenses were wages £25, poundage £30, provisions £25, nets and gear £40, total £120 exclusive of insurance or serious casualty, for a Yarmouth smack.

 

All the men were on shares, 570 men being employed afloat and 107 ashore.

 

Wage structures were complex:-

 

Wages             Poundage per trip value

(per week)       under £100      £100 – £150                 £150+

 

Skipper                                    1/- per£            +20% of value over £100      20% of total

Mate                14/-                  5d per £           +7d per £ of value over £100  7d per £ of total

Third hand      14/-                  4d per £           4d per £                       4d per £

Fourth hand    10/-                  3d per £           3d per £                       3d per £

Fifth hand       9/-                    2d per £           2d per £                       2d per £

Sixth hand       8/-                    2d per £           2d per £                       2d per £

Cabin Boy       7/-                    1d per £           1d per £                       1d per £

 

Harvey-George said that he had had no problem with the men before 1880, when legislation had been passed which meant that “we have now no authority over the men and they know it”. Previously the Merchant Shipping Act 1854 had given the master, mate and owner as well as the police power to arrest a deserter and detain him for 24 hours to appear before a court. The court could order the man on board and have him pay any expenses incurred by the delay. Punishment could be imprisonment. Alternatively the above mentioned had the power to take the man on board the ship so as to allow her to sail. After the 1880 Act, though, things were different. During the 24 months following the legislation to 1882 there were 550 cases of refusal to sail, often at the last minute prior to sailing. The situation was such that it was necessary to retain men on the pay-roll ashore so that they were able to sail the ships on time.

 

The first Mission ship, the Ensign, sailed from Yarmouth on her first trip on Friday 28th July.

 

At Hull there were 420 smacks, 9 steam carriers and 6 ice vessels.

 

The 1882 Enquiry resulted in the law requiring skippers to hold Certificates of Competence. Those who had held command prior to 1/9/83 when the law came into force had them issued exempt from examination etc.

 

The Grimsby and North Sea Steam Trawling Co had two iron screw driven vessels built as trawlers, although they were also used as carriers during the summer. These were the first economically successful steam trawlers.

 

“On the 16th December, 1882, the second Local Board of Health held  its first meeting, and appointed Mr Robert Hewett as Chairman, and at a later date Mr C.E. Wilson as Clerk, and this board actively commenced its duties under the Public Health Act, 1875, and installed the present sewerage system of the district, to be superceded by new works of the joint districts of Barking and Ilford to be connected with the main drainage system of the London County Council.” The Book of Barking, October 1931.

 

and . . .

 

Three years previously in 1879 the electric light bulb had been invented by Joseph Swan. It had a carbon filament.

 

In 1879/8 Remington had developed their latest model of typewriter. It featured a new keyboard layout, now known as the QWERTY keyboard. It is said that the top row of keys was laid out so that their salesmen could type “typewriter” very quickly (using just that row) and thus demonstrate the efficiency of the new machine.

 

Jeyes Fluid had recently been invented in 1877.