Herring fleet passing Scarborough

As we look out across the North Sea today, we’ll see oil rigs, wind farms and colossal container ships making their way towards Felixstowe. This photograph captures the sights of an earlier era with the fishing fleet passing Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1897 whilst Victorian holidaymakers take a dip in the sea using bathing machines.

Herring fleet sails past Scarborough as bathers enjoy a swim, c.1897
Herring fleet sails past Scarborough as bathers enjoy a swim, c.1897

This photo from the National Maritime Museum collection really shows the spectacle of the fishing fleet as it sails down the coast in search of herring.

Scarborough’s believed to have been the first place to introduce bathing machines as sea bathing became popular. Generally pulled by a horse or pair of horses with a driver, machines were sometimes dragged across the sand by men. Further down the coast at Folkestone, bathing machines were raised and lowered with cables stretching down the beach on rails.