Local Trades & Industries

History – Trades and Industries  

Salmon Fishing

The River Severn has always been a very important factor in the lives of the people of Apperley and Deerhurst.  Long net fishing was common on the River Severn in Deerhurst and Apperley in days gone by, but since 1953 it has been illegal to use  the long net upstream of Gloucester.

The net used at Apperley would have  been 90 yards long and 12 feet deep and required a crew of four men.  Nets were made in the limited space of the riverside cottages.  It would take an experienced hand two months to knit one of these nets and a net would only last one season.  When the cottages were flooded in winter, knitting would carry on upstairs in the bedrooms. 

Long net salmon fishing was not always profitable.  One year Alfred Smith and three others worked the long net at Apperley every day for seven weeks without catching a fish.

Harry Pope shows children an eel
Harry Pope shows children an eel

Elver Fishing
For centuries Severnsiders have taken for granted their right to take elvers from the river.  Generations of Apperley and Deerhurst men have spent long nights on the river bank, hoping for a big catch.  Once a common local delicacy, now elvers are so expensive that only the elver stations can afford to buy them.

Basket making was a very important industry in Deerhurst parish in the 19th Century, and even into the first half of the 20th Century.

The osiers, which were the willow shoots used for basket making, were grown in special beds along the River Severn.  These were harvested and used by the basket makers to make all different kinds of basket ware. 

Baskets outside a makers home

The basket makers worked from their own homes.  Bill Roberts worked as a basket maker between the World Wars.  He was an expert at making pot hampers and coal kipes which were used by coalmen when they loaded coal on their lorries. 

Cider Making
Apple and pear orchards flourished around Apperley and Deerhurst until the mid 20th Century.  Cider was made in a number of places including Starnhall, Greyhill Farm, The Old Farm and Cowshill Cottage.  The orchards were in decline by the 1960s and have continued to decline into the 21st Century.  However, there is a project in Apperley & Deerhurst to plant heritage apple varieties once more and to create a Heritage Apple Trail.