Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Who was catching fish in Hertfordshire 200 years ago?

My attention has been drawn to the above news item that appeared in the Courier (presumably the London Courier) in 1816 and was later recorded in Kirby's Wonderful and Scientific Museum (Volume 6, 1820 - available as Google ebook) and later the story was repeated in the Guinness Book of Records (19th edition) in 1972. The current world record is just over 40lbs.

This immediately raised two questions which some of you might be able to help answer.

  • The first is who actually caught this magnificent fish - and where one might find the evidence, as the above tantalizing news story, with no name mentioned, is typical of the snippets of news in the slim papers that were being published in the early 19th century.
  • The other is a more general question - are there any records of other interesting sized fish caught in Hertfordshire in the early 19th century, and who was involved. Clearly there was a significant interest in fishing as the following 1815 advert for Rickmansworth Park Manor points out it has an excellent Trout fishery and while the advert does not name the river it would have been the Colne, a few miles downstream from Watford.

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