Severn Salmon Fishing

Exhibition: Tue 09 May 2023 - Tue 19 Dec 2023
Venue: The Museum Admission: FREE

Come and discover the tough life of the traditional Severn salmon fishermen.

Tied to the tides, the fishermen had to be ready to harvest the fish caught in their woven willow putchers as soon as the river receded enough to allow them to wade out in their thigh- or chest-high waders.

Sometimes, they used traditional lave-nets to scoop up the salmon – but trying to move fast in the treacherous waters of the tidal Severn was a dangerous undertaking.

This exhibition is packed full of information gleaned by the late Nick Large from his numerous interviews with the last generation of Severn salmon fishers.  His sharp black and white photographs illustrate their stories.

You can also watch short film clips of interviews with Deryck Huby and Don Riddle, the last of the willow putcher-makers.  The film shows them cutting the withies and making the putchers using traditional tools and techniques. They are shown setting the putchers out in ‘ranks’ but also fishing with traditional lave nets.  At the end of the season, they were required by law to bring ashore all their putchers, a back-breaking job which had to be carried out between tides.  Friends and family often helped out at this stage – and then helped them celebrate the end of the season afterwards, with – inevitably – barbecued salmon and a drink or two!

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