Fishing Folk

January to May 2014

“Wha’ll buy my caller herrin

They’re bonnie fish and halesome farin…”

Caller Herring, Baroness Nairne (1766 – 1845)


Fishing Folk was an artist and community-led investigation of the cultural legacy of the fisher folk of Newhaven.

Now a very different place than that of its heyday, this distinct costal community can trace a direct lineage, through the fishing industry, back to its foundation and the shipbuilding of the early 1500s.

Through visits to the Haven (a community café for older people), schools workshops with the local Victoria Primary School, community research visits to local collections and archives, and through a range of public and private events, the project worked to reinvigorate the many perspectives that define this place.

In doing this, Fishing Folk captured and disseminated some of the memories of the previous generations, those that lived in this once tight-knitted community and those that experienced Newhaven as a working port.

Through events and celebrations, such as the traditional Gala Day, project musician Jed Milroy joined with the community to celebrate its inheritance.

By working by in partnership with specialists, residents and the new generation of Newhaveners, the project engaged local and national audiences with the complex historic and contemporary narrative of this place.



Uncovering new archive material, now held by the community and Victoria Primary School. A new song for Newhaven, ‘This is a Change’, developed by pupils. The founding of a new Newhaven Community Choir, in the linage of the Fishwives and Fishergirls’ Choirs of Newhaven. Now on-going.



The Haven café, Victoria Primary School, Newhaven Community History Group, Newhaven Heritage, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, the School of Scottish Studies as part of the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Museums and Libraries.



The Heritage Lottery Fund


Online Archive

Keywords: Project, Local, Newhaven, Fishing, Heritage, Community, Folk, Music, Choir