Oyster fishing at Whitstable, c1909

This silent documentary archive captures the story of the oyster, from the smacksmen’s baskets in the ‘Pearl of Kent’ to a plate with champagne in a London restaurant.

The Whitstable Oyster Festival is an annual event, revived from a religious festival dating back to Norman times. It is held at the end of July.

From oyster-bed to London table

Archive film, shot in the ‘Pearl of Kent’, Whitstable, renowned for her oysters. This silent documentary shows the journey of the oyster from seabed to dinner plate. We watch the smacksmen rowing out to their boats, hoisting sails and hauling in their basket-loads of shellfish. Once ashore, there’s a chance to sample the best of the catch before packing and delivery to London, where we see the city gents enjoying the oysters with a glass of champagne.

BFI National Archive

Whitstable Oyster Festival