Margaret Smith’s first job working at the Herring

Description English: Buckie Harbour. Fishing boats moored by the quayside at Buckie. Source From

Fishing boats moored by the quayside at Buckie

Margaret started working in the ‘Sheds’ on Buckie Low Street when shewas 15 (born in 1938).  The job was arranged for her by her father.  There was basic training and the girls worked at the machine that prepared the fish for the next stage of smoking them for kippers, from 6am till the fish stopped coming in by lorry (sometimes at 1am).   They had Mondays off (no fishing at the weekend) but were on call to clean the machinery, in turn, on the Mondays. It was a very sociable job and they sang their way through the days. They had a morning and dinner break and those who lived close by went home for dinner. Margaret lived in Portessie, so could not get home for a main meal.  These girls bought pies from the local baker on ‘tick’ and paid him when they got their wages at the end of the week.  They earned 5 pence per hour, which averaged out at £2. 10 shillings per week. Her wage was handed over to her mother, who gave her spending cash.  Health and safety was not the issue as it is today and Margaret remembers when her oilskin sleeve got caught in the

Buckie Town Hall June 2012 © Copyright John Stephen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Buckie Town Hall

machinery – luckily an observant man cut her free and she escaped injury.  Her leisure time was enjoyed at the Dances in the Fishermens’ Hall also the Town House, both in Buckie.  They swam in the outdoor pool at Strathlene.  Margaret enjoyed her time at The Herring and worked there till she got married in 1956. Thereafter, she worked as an Auxilliary Nurse in Moray at various hospitals until she retired at the age of 65. 

She is an Elder of Rathven Parish Church.  Asked what she thought was different to life these days, she said that there is too much greed and that people have forgottten their roots. When she was young, there were no washing machines, not much electrical equipment and no vacumn cleaners.  She remembers women polishing the lino floors in their houses.

Margaret Smith was interviewed by Royal Voluntary Service volunteer Marion Yool, who then submitted the memory using the online form


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