Record

CodeNA7496
Dates1837-
Person NameMontrose Harbour Trust; 1837-
ActivityThe privileges of a free port were granted to the burgesses of Montrose by King James IV (1488 - 1513) in 1493 and rates were levied by the town from this date. In 1837 Parliament passed an Act for Improving the Harbour of Montrose in the County of Forfar (1 Victoria cap xcix), under which control passed to a Board of Trustees who made a payment of £600 to the town out of the harbour rates. The trustees consisted of the Provost, senior Bailie and two town councillors of Montrose, plus eight merchants or ship owners who were elected annually, in addition to four Brechin councillors and five Angus County heritors. They held jurisdiction over the entire Southesk estuary and the Basin. The Wet Dock was contructed under this act in 1839 and opened in 1843. A Fish Quay or Low Water Berth was opened in 1885 and in 1888 a Wooden Deep Water Berth was completed.These improvements helped to modernise the harbour's facilities but greatly added to its burden of debt. The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Trustees' efforts to balance the books. This situation became worse in the 20th century as fishing declined rapidly and few large vessels were attracted to the harbour. In 1921 they endeavoured to persuade the town council (without success) to take back responsibility for the harbour.The situation reached crisis point in the 1960s when the last pilot in the port, Andrew Mearns, retired with no one to replace him. To make matters worse, in 1957 the east wall of the wet dock had collapsed and the cost of repair far exceeded the funds of the Trust. However, the discovery of oil off the east coast of Scotland in the late 1960s saved the harbour from terminal decline and its fortunes improved. The 1970s saw the creation of the South Quay by infilling the shallow, sluggish Inch Burn at the expense of oil companies. The harbour was now open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 1981 the Wet Dock was finally abandoned and filled in. In 1978 the Trustees were reorganised by a Review Order. The number of Trustees was reduced to nine.
Corporate NameMontrose Harbour Trust
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