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Salt Pilchards


Gutted pilchards layered with salt in large piles (baulks), for some days or weeks, then pressed to remove the excess oil. They were commonly distributed very carefully arranged in wooden hogshead barrels of up to 3000 fish. Eaten baked.

Salt pilchards packed in crates for export to Italy.
The Pilchard works, Newlyn.

Image: Richard Greenwood

In past years as many as 40,000 barrels were produced, much for export to Italy. The trade has now all but disappeared, though the distinctive heavy stones used for pressing are often preserved in newer masonry. The Newlyn Pilchard Works of British Cured Pilchards Ltd was the last remaining Cornish factory, it ceased salt pilchard production in 2005, but continues to supply tinned fish.

The former saltery at Cawsand in Cornwall
Image: Darren Rosson

Western Morning News - Wednesday 22 January 1936

See also:
Marinated Pilchards
Pilchard Pie
Stargazy Pie

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