26th May 2023
To celebrate National Fish and Chip Day, Friday 2 June, a new poster exhibition to highlight the role of women who played vital roles in the city’s food processing industry is popping up in fish and chip shops in and around Hull and the local area.
In twentieth-century Hull, thousands of women worked in the city’s food processing industry, salting cod, ‘bashing spuds’, smoking kippers and packing boxes in the Victorian fish houses and modern factories surrounding west Hull’s docks. Known locally as the ‘Pattie Slappers’, they were ordinary women whose everyday lives were a world of hard work, rivalry, friendship, and community. They took their nickname from the traditional method of making patties by hand.
A decade ago, writer Nick Triplow and social enterprise CERT set out to capture the stories of the ‘Pattie Slappers’ in a series of oral history interviews with men and women who had worked for companies like Summit and Birds Eye.
Ten years on, Hull Maritime have brought this story back to life by publishing the women’s stories on pop-up posters in fish and chips shops around Hull.
The four pop-up posters feature a memory (some have more than one) shared by a woman who worked in Hull’s food processing industry.
Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “Women have been the backbone of Hull’s food processing industry for decades. They worked incredibly hard behind-the-scenes in the city’s factories and were a core part of our city’s maritime communities, but their stories have often been overlooked. This exhibition shares some of their memories and the conditions they worked in.
“This pop-up poster exhibition is a creative way to raise awareness of this story in unexpected places and what better way to celebrate National Fish and Chip Day.”
Matthew Kinsley at East Park Chippy, said: "I’ve been working in the industry since I was 16 and I’m really glad to see the Pattie Slappers being remembered. I’m really pleased to be taking part in this exhibition that also coincides with National Fish and Chip Day on Friday."
As part of Hull Maritime’s community programme, this poster exhibition is part of a new series of temporary exhibitions which will explore the many different, important maritime stories in lots of creative and exciting ways.