The red herring press KITWIJK pamphlet series uncovers and makes visible untold and consciously-hidden histories in the town of Great Yarmouth (GY) – in an effort to share alternative narratives – both forgotten and ignored - to the dominant one, which portrays places such as GY as devoid of culture and radical histories and currents.
There is immense focus on what has “left” GY over the years: the dwindling tourists, relocated art school, closing of the last smokehouse, the shipbuilding industry, the high street. The KITWIJK pamphlet series aims – through writing and working with local residents, and distributing pamphlets across the GY – to draw attention to how much radical history and current culture there is in this working class town, in line with a Centerprise youth worker writing in 1977: “Two centuries of active suppression of working class people becoming too interested in politics and literature... The incalculable years of imprisonment spent by thousands of individuals in the last 150 years for daring to publish, or distribute writings on economics, philosophy, literature and other oppositional categories of thought.”
Pamphlets will be edited, printed, bound and distributed by Lotte (as red herring press), who will write an introduction to each one. Working with local artists, writers, and other residents in the town (who will guest-write the content to each), pamphlets will cover subjects including: Lorina Bulwer, the “unruly” and “mad” woman incarcerated in GY workhouse at the end of the 19th century who made embroidered textile creations; an archival history of fisherwomen in the town and the contemporary fisher girl sculpture made by local artist Bridget Heriz; the history of anarcho-socialism in the 19th century in GY; a modern day perlustration of GY; a history of work songs in GY. Some pamphlets will be translated to languages spoken by many in the town such as Portuguese.
The word ‘KITWIJK’ refers to old Dutch, meaning "a house of ill repute". The narrowest row in GY (once 27 inches wide in parts) is still called Kittywitches Row - a derivation of kitwijk. It is said this is because it was occupied by groups of unruly women - the wives of fishermen away at sea: “hideous beldams of the lowest order" - who went from house to house, wearing men’s clothes with faces smeared in blood, to levy money for their antics.