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Our Collection Wick Voices Johnston Collection The Garden Boats & Fishing
A photograph of Janet Mackenzie

Janet Mackenzie

‘I’ve been looking after people all my life and now I’m ninety-nine’

Born: 1920

Duration: 16m 45s

Type: Audio

Filesize: 15Mb

Recorded: 11 April 2019

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About this recording

Janet Mackenzie née Banks reflects upon her childhood, growing up in Wick. Traditionally the women worked during the herring fishing season in a crew of two gutters and one packer. Janet describes how her mother was a skilled packer, not only working during the herring season in Wick but like many women she travelled to Yarmouth for six weeks each year, to gut and pack the herring. She recalls her feelings of sadness when her mother went to Yarmouth for the fishing season, leaving Janet in the care of her sister. She fondly remembers some of the women from Stornoway who came to the ‘herring fishing’ in Wick. She also talks about her father who worked as a cooper, making herring barrels.
Janet’s vivid description includes her observation of processions in Bridge Street, busy Saturday evenings when shops stayed open until 9pm, washing sheets and pillow cases at the Bleaching Green and the flooding of Wick River.
Janet reflects upon the changes that have taken place within the town, during her life time and how she has devoted her life to ‘looking after people’.


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