Bacon, Bread and Butter for the Long Journey Home

The fishing industry has been, and remains to this day, critical to the economy of ReykjavÝk. For the better part of the 20th century, the town of ReykjavÝk operated trawlers and fish processing factories. These enterprises were important to the economy and provided jobs in the rapidly growing town.

By examining the budget plan for the trawler "Jˇn Forseti" over a two-month period in 1918, we can see that little profit was expected. It also reveals other details such as; the cost of salaries for crew members, provisions, coal, salt for the fish, and a special prize for the crew for collecting and processing fish livers. The catch mainly consisted of cod, haddock and coalfish.

Another document contains a list of provisions bought by the trawler "Nj÷r­ur" in England in 1923, before the journey back to Iceland. The items selected for the crew illustrate of the type of food Icelanders preferred at the time. They bought for example bacon, white bread and butter. Interestingly enough, they did not buy vegetables or jams.

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Detailed planning of the cost for equipping and running of the trawler Jˇn Forseti in Mars and April 1918. (BskjR: Mßlasafn borgarstjˇra, askja 917, rß­stafanir til eflingar sjßvar˙tvegi 1917-1962, a­fnr. 3343. Photo KB)
A bill from William Cussons, Ltd. in Hull for provisions to the trawler Nj÷r­ur in the year 1923. It was usually the cook that decided what was bought. If permitted by the shipowner, they preferred to buy in England also some food that was not available in Iceland or expensive there. (BskjR: Mßlasafn borgarstjˇra, askja 917, rß­stafanir til eflingar sjßvar˙tvegi 1917-1962, a­fnr. 3343. Photo KB)
A bill from The General Supplies & Ship Repairs Company in Hull to equip and to run the trawler Nj÷r­ur as well as to make repairs and provide provisions. (BskjR: Mßlasafn borgarstjˇra, askja 917, rß­stafanir til eflingar sjßvar˙tvegi 1917-1962, a­fnr. 3343. Photo KB)