I was recently invited to the Eel Sustainability Group’s 10th Anniversary Celebration and Conference. And while I wasn’t able to go, I’ve sent along a poster on the history of the Dutch eel trade in London. A copy of the poster can be found here.
Part of the poster deals with the eel rents that I have mapped on this site (here), and part of the poster examines the space that the Dutch ships occupied in the cityscape of 17th-century London. At the start of the century the ships had become a civic landmark, and over the next 80 years their place in the city became a matter of contestation. They were eventually kicked out, before being invited back once the English found that they could not supply enough eels to London on their own. And — in one of my favorite parts of the story — the Dutch eelers stayed in London, selling live fish from their ships on the Thames, until 1938.
The conference is the end of several weeks of celebration that include a visit from a reconstructed eel ship. So if you’re in London at the second half of June, you might stop by St. Katherine’s Dock to see it!