Tag Archives: 1900-1943

Gloucester fishermen – Trawling the treacherous seas of the North Atlantic 1900-1943

Incorporated in 1642, the Massachusetts town of Gloucester has been one of the centers of the North Atlantic fishing industry for centuries. And it’s seen more than its fair share of heartbreak. The town grew rapidly in the 1800s, as it provided a convenient launching point for trips to the fertile offshore fishing grounds of George’s Bank and the Grand Banks. Gloucester fishermen sailed in specially designed schooners optimized for speed and holding capacity to reach the banks, fill up on cod and other fish and return as quickly as possible. Many of these ship designs were unsafe and prone to capsizing in bad weather, however: Between 1866 and 1890, some 2,450 men and 380 schooners were lost at sea. Aid organizations eventually established funds and boarding houses to support the widows and families of lost fishermen. In the 20th century, Gloucester fishermen switched from schooners to motorized trawlers. Yet the profession remained hazardous. The vessels featured in these photos, the Old Glory and the Alden, both lost men in the 1940s. An excellent selection of photo’s can be viewed by clicking here 08:51