Berwick's history of salmon netting on show

The long tradition of salmon netting on the River Tweed, the one constant of Berwick's history over the centuries, is being celebrated.

Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:47 am
Kate Stephenson and Michael Richardson

The exhibition at the Watchtower Gallery in Tweedmouth is entitled The Tweed & its Industries, and sponsored by Berwick Town Team.

Visitors are greeted at the front steps by a netboat, with the net laid on ready to row the first shot.

North Bells, 1937

Once inside an impressive array of photographs and paintings fills the walls. These include the stunning black and white images from Jim Walker’s book A Wake for the Salmon?, recording the working lives of the crews at fisheries around Berwick, Spittal and Tweedmouth shortly before the industry was reduced to a handful of men working in a few places after most of the fisheries had been bought out and closed down in 1987.

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The journey of the salmon from the river to the table is captured in a series of photographs, among others, on show from the Berwick Archives. Numerous images have been collected from a variety of sources and the faces of generations of netsmen look out from the walls.

Other aspects of life on the Tweed in Berwick are touched upon; the herring industry, the shipyard, the sailing and rowing clubs, a display from the Tweed Mudlark and a recording of The Tweed Near Berwick from the Wilson’s Tales project.

There is a short film (including archive footage and photos) of some of the net fisheries from Coldstream down to the estuary made by Castle Productions which are making a documentary about the Tweed catchment and are looking for people with stories to tell or memories to share about living beside the river.

North Bells, 1937

Only two salmon fisheries remain: one at Paxton House which works with the Tweed Foundation catching fish to be tagged and released for scientific research; the other Gardo, beside the Old Bridge in Tweedmouth.

The exhibition is open Thursday to Sunday, noon to 4pm, until April 21.