Rare photos capture Lowestoft trawlermen out at sea in the 1960s


Winch used to haul in the nets. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

A former photojournalist in the 1960s has shared some rare photos of his time out at sea capturing the lives of trawlermen in Lowestoft.

Dr David Lewis-Hodgson, 79, has lived an exciting life - working much of it as a photojournalist capturing photos of everything from The Beatles to The Troubles in Northern Ireland. 

skipper lunch

The skipper and crew have lunch. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

Now, he works as a clinical psychologist at the University of Sussex.

But in March 1960, aged 19, he had the opportunity in his final year of university at Regent Street School of Photography to specialise in a final year project and he chose to focus on the North Sea trawlermen.

Trawler at sea in March

A Lowestoft trawler boat fishing off the Dogger Bank in March 1960. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

Talking about how he came to be a photojournalist, Dr Lewis-Hodgson said: "I originally trained to be a doctor doing a Medicine degree but I quickly realised this was not for me.

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"So I then trained as a photojournalist and as part of my final project I got the opportunity to head out to sea from the Lowestoft coast to capture the lives of the trawlermen."


Taking on ice to keep the fish fresh. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

He wrote to Mac Fisheries, a branded retail fishmongers to ask whether he could go out with the set of Lowestoft trawlers and they agreed.

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In March 1960, it was his first time ever out at sea.

lowestoft harbour

Lowestoft harbour in 1960 - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

He said: "Lowestoft was alive and teeming with life at that point in time.

"I spent three weeks on this tiny little vessel with all the crew.

"It was an eight man crew and all of them were such hard workers.

"24 hour days, just constantly finding fish, bringing them on board, cutting them up and gutting them and then repeating this process.

"It was not for the faint hearted, I felt ill for a while but I soon managed to find my sea legs."


Life was hard on the trawlers. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

Much of the technology around fishing has changed over the years but it is still a tough industry.


David commended the trawlermen for their hard work. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

He said: "I captured around 2,000 black and white photos whilst out there for the three weeks.

"I took photos of everything to form a photo-essay.

"I have the upmost admiration for the crew even until this day.

"Whilst I have met John Lennon and took photos of The Troubles, my memories of the Lowestoft trawlermen are still vivid."

You can find more of David's work here.


Rough seas out on the trawlerboat. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

lowestoft harbour

Leaving Lowestoft harbour on March 1, 1960. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

gutting fish

Gutting fish at 4am. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

trawler life

Life on the trawler captured by David. - Credit: David Lewis-Hodgson

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