The families I've been looking at today came from the fishing port of Lowestoft in Suffolk...though a bit earlier than this photo was taken. It must have been a truly hard way to earn a living...both as a fisherman and for all the people who were involved in the end process of getting the fish ready to sell.
Now, I did find a word which I had to look up 'cos I'd not the faintest idea what the work was...Beetser. There were several Beetsers in the census...including one of Himselfs people. And the word doesn't give a clue about what was entailed...they were the women who mended the fishing nets. Must have been awfully hard on their hands and heavy work too because the nets were big...
Most of the older people...those over seventy anyway...went to live in the Fishermens Hospital which seems to have been rather like Almshouses...it was described as being for 'Decaying and Destitute Fishermen'...an upmarket version of a Workhouse I would imagine...it was built in the early 1700's to home those who had spent their lives at sea, risking life and limb to bring home the catch of fish.
The building still stands today and is used for various exhibitions to do with the town of Lowestoft and it's history.
Then I found a puzzle...a man who died in the Shipmeadow Workhouse...he'd been a fisherman...five years before three of his children were born. The Workhouse records are virtually impossible to track down, and then if you're lucky and find them tucked away in a box in a basement, the charge for having a copy of the record you would like is horrendous. But I'm presuming the Ancestry info is correct...the man researching that branch of the family has been spot on so far. I'm going to message him I think and see how he found out. Maybe his wife found someone else...perhaps she admitted him to the Workhouse to get rid of him.
The Shipmeadow Workhouse is a listed building...and it is now coverted into flats or apartments. A far cry from it's original purpose, though they didn't separate married couples when it was first opened...they were given a room of their own. And the Fever House, which was a small two storey building set apart from the main house, took in local people who were suffering from smallpox and similar diseases...almost like a small hospital.
While I was reading about Shipmeadow I found a little nugget of interesting information...among the records available from Suffolk Council is a list of people who paid to take an infant away from the Workhouse. I've always wondered if that was one way of 'adopting' a small child or a baby and this more or less confirms what I'd long suspected.
Himself isn't really interested in the history of his family so it's just was well I can regale you with what and who I've found!