Hidden away, in museums, libraries and on book collectors shelves is this little treasure written by A. O. Collard and published in 1902. Other local books have referred to some of its text over the years and many of its pictures have been used.
This book, unpropressing in its way, like the town and people it described, was produced in a hard-back version as shown here and also a paperback version which may not have weathered the ravages of time as well as this copy has.
Totalling just 92 pages in a smaller than A5 format, with many of the pages taken up with pictures, it has been fascimiled here in sections per web-sized page. The images are direct scans and are of photographs, some of which also appeared in other local books of the time.
We believe that its transcription here will not only benefit the community but enhance the value of the available copies of the book as every person who has roots amongst the Oyster Dredgers of Whitstable will be on the search for a copy to pass down through generations to come.
As always, we try to translate the original format as near as possible in HTML format. In this case as the pages vary, some all text, some pictures, and others mixed, we have batched the original pages into groups to enhance their transference to this medium. It may appear to the reader that the pictures are not all in order relating to the text, but this is the order as laid out within the book, excepting the map of the fishery grounds which is a centre-piece in the hard-back copy, and at the front of the paper-back copy.
Very little is really known of the history and surroundings of the fishermen whose lives are spent in cultivating the Whitstable oyster.
It is true they do not have to seek their living far from home, and for that reason are not shrouded in quite so much romantic mystery as their brethren of the herring fleet, or the deep sea trawler. Yet the dredger, who works along a few miles of the coast, frequently encounters as much peril in his lively smack, as those who have to face it in deeper water and larger boats.
This small volume lays no claim to being an exhaustive account of the Whitstable industry, though it may, perhaps, add a little fresh information for those who are interested in oysters, and more especially in the " Royal Whitstable Native."
My thanks are specially due to Mr. W. H. Reeves, of Whitstable, for nearly all the photographs used as illustrations.
A. O. COLLARD,
8 Buckingham Street, Strand, London, W.C.
|Intro.||Introduction, Cover and preface.|
|9-12||Seaside Towns - A First Glimpse of Whitstable.|
|12-18||"Please remember the Grotter" - The old Oyster Company headquarters.||18-22||Whitstable - Origin of name, Reculvers, Romans.|
|22-26||The Churches. Leland, Ireland, and Hasted. Kent and Essex Fisherman.|
|26-29||Manor and Hundred of Whitstable, Inrollment, Water Court, Free Dredgers and Apprentices.|
|29-33||The Act of 1896. Balance Sheet, 1901.|
|33-36||Smuggling, Copperas, Salt-pans, Roman Cement.|
|37-41||Flatsmen. What is an Oyster?|
|42-46||Opening Oysters. Oyster Spawn. The three ages of the Oyster.|
|46-49||Heavy fall of Spat.|
|50-55||Enemies of the Oyster. Oyster beehives. Wired fascines in Norway. Fattening Oysters.|
|Map||Map of coastline, with Whitstable area enlarged.|
|55-60||Fresh water. Typhoid scare. The Flats.|
|60-65||Foreign Brood Oysters. Poaching. The Company's Headquarters.|
|65-71||Oyster Measures. Oyster Smacks.|
|71-77||The Oyster Dredger.|
|78-85||Phenominal low tides. Weirs and tythes. Finds on the flats. An Oyster Mouse-trap.|
|85-End||Pearls. Prices of Oysters.|