The herring were sorted in size by the Scotts Girls, different barrels were placed behind the girls when the fish was gutted it was thrown into a barrel according to its size this was called selecting. The fish were placed side by side with salt between the layers, they were packed belly-up with the heads towards the outside of the barrel, the next layer was placed at right angles to the previous layer, there were about twenty layers in a barrel and 900 - 1200 fish per barrel according to their size.
When full the barrels were closed by the cooper and left to pickle, as the salt melted it cured the herring but they shrunk so the cooper would open the barrel and drain off the fluid through the bung, because there was now a gap at the top of the barrel more fish were placed into it before it was sealed up and laid on its side then the pickle was poured back in. There were different cures for different orders..
Before unions were formed there was no break for food they had to eat and drink as they worked.The girls had little time during the week to relax but knitting was a favourite passtime, with a stange action, one of the knitting needles being in a fixed position.
The girls worked in crews with their barrels had their own marks and were not paid for the work till the barrels were sold. The curers paid them 40p a week before the first world war for their food and lodgings, they lived with families in the local community and paid about 15-20p a week for the room although buying their own food the land lady would cook it for them. Before World War I a barrel would fetch about £1.75 out of this the girls were paid per barrel a pricely 3.5p, topping the barrels was paid for by the hour at 1.5p.