In 1844, Hill and Adamson advertised a volume of photographs of The Fishermen and Women of the Firth of Forth. They took most of the photographs in the famous village of Newhaven, a mile to the north of Edinburgh on the shores of the broad estuary of the river Forth. Adamson used the demanding calotype process, which was comparatively slow and required good daylight to take and print the photographs. In this project, they arranged and took about 120 photographs of single figures and groups of up to twenty people, women, men and children.

This is the first documentary series to show working life, not just as hard but as heroic. In conditions of extreme economic difficulty, this small society was religious, self-determining and culturally remarkable. The fishermen manned small open boats, which they took a hundred miles along the coast and out to sea, following the shoals of fish. The women managed their affairs on land, preparing the fish, carrying hundredweights on their backs up to Edinburgh to sell. They wore the distinctive striped dresses and were widely known as beautiful women and good singers.
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