Local artist Bridget Heriz' Fisher Girl celebrates the role women played in Great Yarmouth's successful fishing industry.
At the turn of the twentieth century, 'fisher girls' were a familiar sight in Great Yarmouth. Following the vast shoals of herring which moved down the coast, these women – often from the highlands of Scotland and the Hebridean islands – migrated southwards to gut and pack herring for the autumn fishing season. Fondly remembered for their cheerful singing and incredible dexterity, they were an important feature of the town and played a significant role in the success of Yarmouth's fishing industry.
To celebrate these women and the legacy they left in Great Yarmouth, a life-size bronze statue of a 'fisher girl' has been installed against the backdrop of the medieval town wall. The site at Blackfriars Road is close to a number of former smoke houses, but is also significant for its connection to Victoria Gardens, a (now demolished) 19th century garden filled with neoclassical sculpture.
“It is hoped that this plan will evolve with the support of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the cultural board into a wider sculpture trail around the town linking the town together and enhancing connectivity between town centre and seafront. After the ten year scheme Great Yarmouth will be regarded as a place to experience incredible works of sculpture in an outdoor town-wide gallery.”
The figure was created by sculptor Bridget Heriz and printed using 3D technology at the Mckinney foundry in Fakenham. Bridget has been living and working as a sculptor in Great Yarmouth since 2002. Her work has been widely exhibited across East Anglia, as well as at shows in Russia, Belgium and Finland. Her other public art commission in the town is the Mother and Child at the Nelson Medical Centre in Pasteur Road.
The sculpture is the first of a planned 20 to be installed along the 1.2 mile length of the medieval wall over the course of ten years. The intention is to create an outdoor sculpture trail to encourage local people and visitors to learn more about the nationally significant town wall and explore Great Yarmouth's fascinating culture and heritage.
The official unveiling and gallery exhibition due to be held in March has unfortunately been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.