Fraserburgh Fishing Industry
The growth of the herring fishing industry in the 19th century put Fraserburgh firmly on the map. The development of the harbour allowed more than 1000 drifters to land their fish each season in the busiest years between 1870 and 1900. At this time the industry employed 16,000 people including gutters, coopers and curers. The fishing season ran from July to September when the whole town worked on the curing and barrelling. The coming of the railway in 1865 enabled catches to be sent all over the world with fish destined for Jamaica and America as well as Russia and Europe. Today the herring industry has declined somewhat but Fraserburgh continues to be a major white-fish port and a busy commercial harbour.
Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat
Fraserburgh was the first RNLI Station in Scotland, opening in 1858. It is thought that the station was closed for sometime between 1848 and 1858 when the lifeboat was placed in the town at the request of the residents. Three times in the 20th century thirteen men and three Fraserburgh lifeboats have been lost whilst going to the aid of others in distress:
1919 – The ‘Lady Rothes’ capsized and two lives were lost.
1953 – The ‘John and Charles Kennedy’ capsized at the harbour entrance and six of the seven crew were lost.
1970 – The ‘Duchess of Kent’ capsized about 38 miles off Fraserburgh and five of the crew of six were lost.
Fraserburgh’s new Trent class lifeboat the ‘Willie and May Gall’ arrived in May 2002. It has a top speed of 25 knots and carries a crew of six. The cost of £1 1/4 million was funded by a legacy from Willie and May Gall who lived in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire.
The Fraser family are said to originate from Anjou in France. The Fraser’s settled in Scotland around the 12th century. It is known that Sir Alexander Fraser of Cowie and Durris and first of Philorth died circa 1410. His son, also Alexander Fraser, received a charter from Mary Queen of Scots which erected Faithlie into a free burgh, mainly as a result of him building a harbour which encouraged trade. His grandson, Alexander Fraser, 8th Laird of Philorth, is recognised as ‘The founder of Fraserburgh’ He built Kinnaird castle, erected a new church, and extended the harbour build by his grandfather. The 10th Laird became The 10th Lord Saltoun through his mother, Margaret Abernethy. Since that time the Lady Saltoun of Abernethy was recognised as the ‘Chief of the name and arms of the whole Clan Fraser’.
Clan Fraser website http://www.fraserchief.co.uk/index.html
Broadsea, also known as ‘The Seatown’ was originally a separate village which is now integrated into the town of Fraserburgh. The village was inhabited by fishermen, a hardy but insular community of people. The first houses were erected at the point of the headland and later the village extended further inland. Broadsea was the home of Christian Watt, author of the Christian Watt Papers. Today this village is a conservation area and the rudiments of the original settlement are still to be seen
This stands adjacent to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. In May 2007 the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre, was awarded a FOUR STAR rating by Visit Scotland and previous winner of the Scottish Museum of the Year award and Commended by the tourist board. The centre was setup in 1998 to display the story of the town. You can step back in time through centuries of history from the bustling quayside in the age of sail to the haute couture of dress designer Bill Gibb. The centre also features temporary and topical displays which change regularly. Experience guides are available at the centre to make you visit enjoyable and informative.
The Wine Tower
The Wine Tower is the oldest building in Fraserburgh and is described as “remarkable and mysterious”. It contains an extraordinary collection of ceiling bosses including representations of the Fraser coat of arms. The original use of the building is unknown and there are various local stories about the tower. Entry to the public is only allowed on special open days organized by The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, or by pre-booked group. For further information, or to arrange a visit contact The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses on 01346 511022
Kinnaird Head Lighthouse
Kinnaird Head is the headland at the north end of Fraserburgh, it marks the end of the Moray Firth. Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was built in 1787 as the first lighthouse in Scotland. The Northern Lighthouse Board’s first engineer, Thomas Smith, identified the headland as one of four vital to light to protect trade to the Baltic Sea. In 1824 Robert Stevenson, Thomas Smith’s son-in-law, and engineer to The Northern Light Board constructed a tower within the castle walls to hold the weight of a new light.
A fog horn was constructed at Kinnaird Head in 1902, when further improvements were made to the light, it ceased to sound in 1984. The lighthouse at Kinnaird Head is now open to the public, for further information contact The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses www.lighthousemuseum.org.uk
Fraserburgh Castle was built as a town house by Alexander Fraser, 8th Laird of Philorth in 1572. Gradually other buildings were added, however none of these remain today. Inside the keep which was used to house Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, there is still some evidence of the grandeur of the building. This is further shown by the bosses in the Wine Tower. The castle fell into disrepair and Sir Alexander Fraser, Lord Saltoun, sold the building to the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1786
Step back in time through 400+ years of history inside the Fraserburgh Heritage Museum
Bill Gibb took the fashion industry by storm in the 1960s and 1970s with the rich and famous and pop stars and film stars clamoring for his unique designs.