The Art of Collecting Seaweed

Bonjour From Brittany

For centuries, the gathering of seaweed was an important activity along the coasts and islands of western Brittany. The back-breaking work involved in harvesting, drying and burning the seaweed changed little between the ends of the 17th and 20th centuries. Sometimes, whole families laboured together, for others it was a means of supplementing the meagre household income and an activity pursued by the women and children of the community while the menfolk were at sea.

Harvesting Seaweed Gathering Brittany

Harvesting Seaweed Gathering Brittany

Traditionally, seaweed was harvested on a fairly modest scale as a foodstuff for both human and animal consumption as well being utilised as a fertiliser and even as a source of domestic fuel. However, the 17th century saw the emergence of more intense harvesting thanks to the demands of the emerging glass-making and soap-making industries. Both of whom required ready access to good quality sodium carbonate or soda; a product…

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