Good morning, we will conclude 1900 Island with the Industrial Revolution hitting the fishing community. It is the final week for the families. At the start of the episode, the women are preparing the fish that the men caught on their long trip. The retired fisherman is teaching the women how to gut the fish. The men are checking on the lobster pots. The pots are empty again so they do some hand fishing. Every extra fish is extra money and food for the community.
In the boat shed, the finishing touches are put on the dingy for the community. The dingy will be used to fish in the shallower waters. The community comes together to launch the dingy and go fishing. Although women did not fish on the open ocean, there is evidence that they used dinghy’s and fished close to the shoreline.
However, there is another boat that looms on the horizon: a steam-powered boat. These steam-powered boats meant the end for smaller communities that used sailboats. The men comment on the sight and talk about the impact that steam powerboats would have had on the communities. The families saw the boat as a threat. In the 1900’s the fishermen would have moved on to bigger harbors or changed occupations.
The families then sell their fish and the women are doing the negotiating. The sale is not going their way. The fish prices are lower this time. Even though it was their largest catch to date, the price they got was thirty percent lower. The families have made seventeen pennies each and it is a bitter blow for the families. At the start, the fishermen were making fifty-five pennies for their wages. The families' spirits are low after the low price shock.
The families have been relying on secondary incomes to help supplement their incomes. One family has been selling eggs and that was a steady income. They talk about giving up fishing, which would have been the same questions the fishermen back in the 1900s would have faced.
The crash in fish prices has hit home and so the families come together to hunt for shellfish. Shellfish prices are rising. Gout had flared up again and so one man remains behind to keep the fires burning. The families walk ten miles to start hunting shellfish. The men are hunting muscles and the women are hunting cockles. This time the families have to come up with something. Finding cockles will be a challenge for the women. They have to go further out, where the mud is deeper. The women finally have hit the jackpot.
The men are hunting muscles and are having better luck. The work is easy and the muscles are easy to find. Harvesting muscles is not for everyone and the men are questioning why they are doing “women’s work.” These types of feelings were the same that the 1900’s fisherman would have faced. The men also hit a good spot for the muscles and start thinking about the money they will make from the venture. It was a good day's work for the hunters. It will be two days of prep before the shellfish are ready to sell. Two families work on preparing the cockles to sell because prepared cockles will fetch a higher price.
To continue to learn more about the 1900’s Island, watch this episode. What have the families learned from this experience? What will they take back to their modern lives? This would be a good episode to show in the class because it showed the struggles of the families as they tried to make money.
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