Follow the Herring


The local community of Berwick and the surrounding area created a fantastic exhibition in Berwick where over 200 people including 4 schools contributed to Gymnasium Gallery exhibition in May 20014.Locals were knitting herring that was part of a shoal of fish that heads down the east coast to Hasting. Different groups created textile art and art work that related to the fishing heritage of Berwick and the surrounding area.

Follow the Herring as it journeys down the east coast of the UK.

“Follow the Herring” was a Community Education Resource produced by the customs house and supported by Shoofty Publishing. The focus was on shared maritime history, social history and the herring fishing industry to encompass coastal communities and forgotten heritage. The tour of 13 selected venues on the east coast celebrated this heritage through singing performance, craft and art.

Further information can be found at

Ingrid Wagner at the helm of 350 knitters that created this 20ft knitted Coble and mast.

Get involved - become part of this national project

  How do you knit a coat for a boat?

That question was first answered in 2009 when, led by acclaimed textile artist, Ingrid Wagner, a group of knitters in South Shields came together (with additional pieces sent in from around the world) to design and knit enough sails, and maritime equipment to swathe a 20ft coble from fore to aft, before being launched on the River Tyne.

The Coat for a Boat! Exhibition is now being cast off again and sails into towns as part of Follow the Herring.
Big knitting in progress back in 2009

The coble boat, made by the North East Maritime Trust and The ‘Materialistics’, was the centrepiece of each exhibition with
the scene being set and brought to life by additional knitted, crafted and pieces of art created by each town.

Berwick upon Tweed was the third of 12 venues involved. With the boat arriving from Cockurnspath and heading south to South
Shields. The project finished in Hasting in August 2014.

What this meant for Berwick upon Tweed in May 2014 



  • An unique exhibition was at Berwick's Gymnasium Gallery on 13-18 May 2014
  • Knit a herring that travelled with the boat along the east coast and was part of each exhibition.
  • Produce an individual piece of art / craft representing the fishing industry of Berwick and surrounding area.
  • Work collaboratively to produce a unique display piece for the exhibition.
  • Many items will be used again in 2015 for the Berwick 900 Fishing, Seaside and Maritime exhibitions being held in July 2015.
Thanks to Derek Sharman for the Fishing Heritage photos. 

Follow the Herring is being organised by the Customs House, South Shields, supported by the Arts Council and backed by Berwick Visual Arts. Theresa Wilkinson (lead) from Border Textile Group and Annie Robinson, Berwick Arts and Crafts Group are helping to co-ordinate the project locally. Committee members of the Berwick Arts and Crafts Group supported this event.

Further details of workshops held and the exhibition are held