A Canadian Family

Genealogy & Vintage Postcards

VRAIC?

Seaweed has been an important part of Jersey life for well over 800 years, so our own Luce ancestors would have been quite familiar with scenes of seaweed harvesting like the one below.

seaweed1

*  *  *  *  *

Seaweed was a fertilizer for Jersey farming families until well into the early 1900s, since Jersey’s very sandy soil made fertilization crucial and the seaweed was readily available.

Here’s a fascinating excerpt from Plees’ Account of the Island of Jersey from the early 1800s.

vraic1-0011

detail2horses

vraic2-001

detailjerseypeople

traingles

ending1

MYSTERY!

Does anyone know what these triangluar shaped forms are? Are these the rakes? Or perhaps a form of sled?

This answer came from Nick of Societe Jersiaise!

The triangular boxes are I am fairly sure “nourrices” for storing shellfish such as lobster and crab, the shape allows them to be attached/moored and sit in the tide, the design is still acceptable today.
The law on collecting Vraic is one of the Island’s older laws although there are moves to have it scrapped to allow collection whenever.
Tracks cut in the rocks can still be seen in many places around the Island, and some of the marks at St Ouen’s still exist all be it now with various lorry prop shafts stuck into said rock, once uncovered one could venture down to collect, this was to allow those inland time to come down and an even share.
Best wishes Nick – Jersey

 

Update 1 from comment boxes

“The triangular boxes are I am fairly sure “nourrices” for storing shellfish such as lobster and crab, the shape allows them to be attached/moored and sit in the tide, the design is still acceptable today.
The law on collecting Vraic is one of the Islands older laws although there are moves to have it scrapped to allow collection when ever.
Tracks cut in the rocks can still be seen in many places around the Island, and some of the marks at St Ouen’s still exist all be it now with various lorry prop shafts stuck into said rock, once uncovered one could venture down to collect, this was to allow those inland time to come down and an even share.
Best wishes Nick – Jersey”

Update 2 from comment boxes

“I visited PEI a few years back to attend the wedding of a cousin (Lagace). While taking a walk on the beach I had the pleasant surprise of coming across a horse galloping through the ocean with a few men standing nearby. My cousin explained that they were seaweed harvesting. There is a semi-floating ‘sled’ attached behind the horses which drag them along to collect the seaweed brought in by the tide. They overturn the sled on the beach, collect the seaweed, then load it into a pickup truck for transport. (I can send you a photo). Carol-Ann   I imagine the way it is done today is much the same as it was then – the triangles you see are semi-floating sleds and since they didn’t have pickup trucks they may have dumped the seaweed into small boats to bring to a central depot rather than pile it on the beach and bring it in by pickup truck. Comment by CarolAnn”

Update 3 from comment boxes

“You may be interested in the array of seaweed industries depicted in the collection of seaweed postcards/memorobilia at http://www.seaweedpostcards.co.uk/
David”

Comment by David Thomas |

Related Posts:

Vintage Postcard: St-Brelade Church, Jersey

The Luces from Jersey, Channel Islands to Canada

Further Reading:

Seaweed Postcards and other algal delights

An Account of the Island of Jersey by W. Plees

Gorgeous Jersey images at Planefacts

January 29, 2009 - Posted by | . | ,

3 Comments »

  1. I visited PEI a few years back to attend the wedding of a cousin (Lagace). While taking a walk on the beach I had the pleasant surprise of coming across a horse galloping through the ocean with a few men standing nearby. My cousin explained that they were seaweed harvesting. There is a semi-floating ‘sled’ attached behind the horses which drag them along to collect the seaweed brought in by the tide. They overturn the sled on the beach, collect the seaweed, then load it into a pickup truck for transport. (I can send you a photo)

    Iimagine the way it is done today is much the same as it was then – the triangles you see are semi-floating sleds and since they didn’t have pickup trucks they may have dumped the seaweed into small boats to bring to a central depot rather than pile it on the beach and bring it in by pickup truck.

    Comment by CarolAnn | January 31, 2009 | Reply

  2. The triangular boxes are I am fairly sure “nourrices” for storing shellfish such as lobster and crab, the shape allows them to be attached/moored and sit in the tide, the design is still acceptable today.
    The law on collecting Vraic is one of the Islands older laws although there are moves to have it scrapped to allow collection when ever.
    Tracks cut in the rocks can still be seen in many places around the Island, and some of the marks at St Ouen’s still exist all be it now with various lorry prop shafts stuck into said rock, once uncovered one could venture down to collect, this was to allow those inland time to come down and an even share.
    Best wishes Nick – Jersey

    Comment by societejersiaise | March 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. You may be interested in the array of seaweed industries depicted in the collection of seaweed postcards/memorobilia at http://www.seaweedpostcards.co.uk/
    David

    Comment by David Thomas | February 23, 2010 | Reply


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