Pathfinder Pack on The Fishing Town of Fraserburgh
The Fishing Town of Fraserburgh
There are many fishing villages and towns in the North East of Scotland. About a hundred years ago these were mainly small places. There were villages like Rosehearty and Gardenstown on the Moray Firth. In the south were villages like Johnshaven.
Photograph of Gardenstown in 1985 with a few boats on the shore and behind them the village and the cliffs
At the beginning of the 20th century new boats were being used for fishing. These were called steam drifters. Before this sailing boats like fifies were used. The steam drifters were much bigger. They needed deeper harbours. They also caught more fish. Fishermen and their families began to move. They went to towns with bigger harbours like Aberdeen, Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
Fraserburgh is a very old town. The first harbour was built here in 1547. It was used for trading. People from the country brought things like wool and skins to market. These were sold to merchants. The goods were then sent on boats to England and Europe. Luxuries like silk and expensive pottery were brought into the town. Hundreds of years ago roads were very poor and there were no railways. The best way to travel and to carry goods was by sea. This harbour was used until the beginning of the 19th century.
Simple sketch showing fishing between Peterhead and Fraserburgh in 1802
After that there was a lot of work done to improve it. Herring fishing began at this time. The harbour became much busier. In 1855 there were hundreds of fishing boats. There were also 34 trading ships and 5 whaling ships.
There is a photograph of the North Breakwater at Fraserburgh Harbour. It was taken in around 1900. It shows the basin full of sailing fishing boats. A few years later the scene looked very different. Rows of funnels of steam drifters and trawlers replaced the masts of the sailing boats.
In 1818 a man called Robert Stevenson built a new harbour. He was a famous engineer. He and his family built a lot of bridges, lighthouses and harbours in Scotland. The harbour was called the New Southern Pier. It cost £6,000 to build. More and more fishing boats used the harbour. In 1857 another new harbour was built. This was called Balaclava Harbour. More work was done. By the end of the 19th century there was room for about 1,000 boats.
The old fishing village of Fraserburgh is called Broadsea. It is still there today, but there are no fishermen now. The houses have been modernised. A hundred years ago they were small and sometimes dirty and smelly. The fishermen did not have very much money. They could not afford to improve their houses. You could tell which was a fisherman's house by the fish hanging outside to dry. Today, you can still see some of the old houses. Some were built by the fishermen.
Photograph of an old house at Broadsea, taken in 2003
There is an old lighthouse in Fraserburgh. It is called Kinnaird Head Lighthouse and it was built on top of an old castle. The light was put there in 1787. This made it much safer for boats to enter the harbour.
Today there are about 100 fishing boats at Fraserburgh. The boats go a long way out to sea and catch a lot of fish. The fish is sold at the modern fish market. It is open every day at 8 o'clock except on Sundays. At that time it is very busy. When the fish has been sold it is put onto lorries and taken all over the country. Some of it is sent abroad. In many places people enjoy their fish and chips with fish caught in Fraserburgh.