The British trawler fleet: 1940 – 1949

This ‘Instructional film’ from the Pathé Archive provides a clearly-presented overview of trawling in the 1940s, as steam began to take over completely from sail. The film follows the skipper and crew of the trawler ‘Jacqueline’ as they prepare to leave port, with the clipped tone of the presenter explaining their actions and meanings of specialist terminology. The cameraman follows the crew about their tasks from casting off, preparing the fishing nets, operating the otter boards, winches and warps for the trawl. There are animations to illustrate how the drift nets work, followed by more footage of the fishermen sorting and gutting the catch. Finally, the ship returns to port and we see skipper and crew swinging baskets of fish ashore onto the waiting lorry to go to market.

Created at the beginning of the 20th Century by the Pathé brothers, the newsreel was the world’s first televised news platform. Pioneering the technology and methods of cinema, British Pathé stayed at the forefront of filmed news for decades. Releasing three newsreels a week during that period, British Pathé was the way the people of Britain experienced world events until the advent of television.