The best oysters are found in shallow seas, usually around estuaries, where the sea is diluted by fresh water - here the algae that oysters feed on will flourish in the warmer summer waters. For many years (from before the Norman Conquest) the flats off Whitstable and Seasalter provided an ideal breeding ground for succulent Natives, more recently harvested by boats known as yawls or dredgers.
Visit the Museum & Gallery to see:
- A model dredger
- A fisherwoman’s bonnet
- A grotter
- A section (rib) from the restored oyster yawl Favourite
- Film of harvesting and feasting on oysters in the 1920s
- Film of the last whelk fisherman working in Whitstable Harbour in 2013
- A Dutch wine bottle from the 1700s which rested on the seabed for long enough for an oyster to grow on it. It was later dredged up from the seabed by a local fisherman.
And sample for yourself some oysters in the town (though today they will not always be Natives!)