09 Packing Fish - Gloucester HarborWalk
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09 Packing Fish

© Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester MA

There wasn’t a chair in the place….If we were lucky there’d be fish, but if we were waiting for a boat sometimes you’d have to wait all morning long. Course this time of the year it would be desperate because those big doors would be open down stairs and all the breeze would be coming in from the wharves. You had to stand around and wait. You didn’t dare leave because it meant a dollar if you stayed. This was your livelihood. And the top pay that you could make was 33½ cents an hour at that time. And if they wanted you to work seven days a week you worked seven days a week.”

— Marjorie Stout, When Gloucester was Gloucester: Toward an Oral History of the City, Gloucester 350th Anniversary Celebration Inc. Stout’s later work included directing Action Inc., a social service agency, for over a decade in town.

“If you look out on the grey green water and you still see the rusting hulls of working fishing boats, this is still Gloucester.”

— Mark Kurlansky, author submitted quote for the Gloucester HarborWalk

Singing on the Nightshift (5:45)

An Audio Excerpt of Singing on the Nightshift


Women's Wage in the Fisheries in 1947


“The present wage payment plan consists of paying the girls on an hourly basis which is at the rate of 70 cent an hour. For this 70 cents, management has only been able to obtain an average of 25 boxes per hour from the girls. This average of 25 boxes was obtained from Gorton’s records which cover a period of five years.”

Packing Fish

Photos by Prize winning photojournalist, Charles A. Lowe

Photos courtesy Gloucester Daily Times and Cape Ann Museum

Cutting a fillet at Dave Marsh Seafood, Smith St. Jan. 9, 1978. Photo: Charles A. Lowe.
Unidentified fish packer. March 16, 1977. Photo: Charles A. Lowe.
iGetNewEngland Features Cape Pond Ice (7:11min)

iGetNewEngland video host Greg Boghosian, visits the Cape Pond Ice Company in Gloucester, Massachusetts.