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Who was Polly Swallow?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
    It seems there was a small lodging house in Waites Yard which ran between 150 and 151 Church Street. Polly may have been a 'blow in'. If she was, and she was a fisher girl, she would have been more likely to come from elsewhere on the NE coast, i'd have thought, than somewhere like Leeds.

    The steamboat captain came from Durham and there were a few Swallow families there. No luck yet with a Polly/Mary Ann of the right age, but I'll continue looking. Makes change from knacker spotting.
    A GG aunt of mine married a schooner captain from Grimsby, and she was born and brought up in Gravesend, Kent. The North Sea herring fishing industry was seasonal and the fish used to migrate up and down the east coast from Aberdeen to the Thames estuary. The fish once landed had to be processed rapidly and the 'fish girls' used to follow the fleet from port to port. To trace her I would suggest looking for a 'Polly Swallow' who was born in or near a North Sea fishing port between 1870-75 and who possibly married in another such port in the 1890's.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Phillip Walton View Post
      It was once common practice, particulary in the Elizabethan period and later for young women to indicate that they were looking for a husband (nubile) by wearing loose clothing or a plunging neckline or even loosening her clothing as long as it was not considered indecent. The practice was dying out by the LVP. As for the name, its quite possible that Sutcliffe had made up the name for several reasons, he may have forgotten or lost her real name or may have never had it in the first place. Or its possible that she gave a false name or requested that her real name not be used.
      Thanks Philip.
      I'm not sure when her name came into the frame, perhaps it's from Sutcliffe's records and he gave her a false name, or some later research produced it. I only noticed recently that the photograph had the name Polly Swallow attached to it. In the copyright registrations Sutcliffe didn't give her name.

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      • #33
        As has I think been mentioned, there's another pic of her (holding her hand to the side of her mouth). But is that her again, facing left, hair more dishevelled and holding what looks like a crab?

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
          As has I think been mentioned, there's another pic of her (holding her hand to the side of her mouth). But is that her again, facing left, hair more dishevelled and holding what looks like a crab?
          Yes, Robert. That's the 'examining a large seashell' pic mentioned earlier. Her hair is a real mess on that one, almost wet looking but it might have been because the photograph of her with the shawl over her head was taken first and she has 'shawl hair'

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          • #35
            Here's a link to the website of a firm called Swallow Fish of Seahouses, which was established in 1843. I haven't found the origin of the name yet, but it may well have been that of the original owners.


            https://www.swallowfish.co.uk/about/

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            • #36
              Also, "Polly Swallow" could be the name of a boat.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                Also, "Polly Swallow" could be the name of a boat.
                Yes, Rob, that's what I thought. The steamboat master's wife was Mary Ann Swallow. It's not unusual for a man to name his boat after his wife/sweetheart/daughter.

                I've found a MAS, the daughter of a deceased sailor living in Alnwick, but she was born in 1850. There's no chance our girl was in her late 30s, is there?

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                  Here's a link to the website of a firm called Swallow Fish of Seahouses, which was established in 1843. I haven't found the origin of the name yet, but it may well have been that of the original owners.


                  https://www.swallowfish.co.uk/about/
                  The business was owned by a family named Swallow at one time.

                  http://www.thejournal.co.uk/culture/...ng-hot-7335446

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                  • #39
                    Difficult to say from the face, but the three photos we have of her seem to suggest she's in her teens/20s, because of the hands - they don't look at all rough.

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                    • #40
                      I've been inside a smokehouse at Yarmouth, now part of a museum. A smell of fish is still noticeable. Apparently in the days when the smokehouse was in use, the men used to go up to get at the herrings by pushing against the sides with their feet. The sides being greasy, I think one man had a fatal fall.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                        Difficult to say from the face, but the three photos we have of her seem to suggest she's in her teens/20s, because of the hands - they don't look at all rough.
                        Good point about the hands, especially if she did manual work like gutting fish or handling shellfish.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                          I've been inside a smokehouse at Yarmouth, now part of a museum. A smell of fish is still noticeable. Apparently in the days when the smokehouse was in use, the men used to go up to get at the herrings by pushing against the sides with their feet. The sides being greasy, I think one man had a fatal fall.
                          I've got a story about a one-legged man who fell into a copper of boiling horseflesh, but that's for another thread...

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                            Difficult to say from the face, but the three photos we have of her seem to suggest she's in her teens/20s, because of the hands - they don't look at all rough.
                            I agree. She could be as young as 15 but not over 21 I'd say.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                              Yes, Rob, that's what I thought. The steamboat master's wife was Mary Ann Swallow. It's not unusual for a man to name his boat after his wife/sweetheart/daughter.

                              I've found a MAS, the daughter of a deceased sailor living in Alnwick, but she was born in 1850. There's no chance our girl was in her late 30s, is there?
                              Good idea about it possibly being a boat name, Gary and Robert

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                                Thanks Debs. There were a couple of Whitby Swallow births - James Stewart Swallow, and Daniel Richard George Swallow. This latter sounds like the issue of the marriage you mentioned.
                                James Stewart Swallow apparently had a sister named Mary Hannah I don't know anything about her apart from she married someone named Douglas (surname) evidently. She may even be the same lady Gary mentioned earlier as Mary Ann and she may also be too old but here she is:


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