How Nature reported the working conditions of deep-sea fishers in 1969, and the calorific content of German and British diets during the First World War.

50 Years Ago

The British deep sea fishing industry accepts as an inevitable part of its job an accident rate which no other industry would tolerate … The mortality rate for trawlerman, 5.7 per thousand, was twice that for all fishermen, four times that for coal miners and forty times that for the manufacturing industries … Of 2,469 men who sailed, no fewer than 693 received injuries severe enough to be recorded … Most raw recruits go to sea without training, and living conditions are bad. As recently as 1947, 31 per cent of Grimsby vessels either had no lavatories or unusable ones … And working hours once the fishing banks have been reached are extremely long — 18 hours a day is commonplace. In addition the pay structure of the industry positively encourages owners and crews to underman the boats, to continue to fish when there is a risk of foundering and to continue to work when sick or injured.

From Nature 19 April 1969

100 Years Ago

A note on German and English war-time diets is contributed to the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society … From the records of German towns, according to Government statistics, the average food-value in that country was 2352 Calories per head per day in April, 1916, and 2007 in April, 1917. In June, 1917, the corresponding averages of six canteens and hostels in Great Britain were 3168 and 3073 Calories, while in April, 1918, the averages for three women’s munition hostels were 2782 and 2699 Calories per head per day. It should, however, be noted that the German statistics referred to the consumption of food in ordinary families, and this and other circumstances preclude any attempt at a very exact comparison of the conditions of living.

From Nature 17 April 1919

Nature 568, 323 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01179-6
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