Sunday, 19 January 2014

Eyemouth, Scotland


Eyemouth is a small town  Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders with a population of about 3,420 people (2004).

The town's name comes from its location at the mouth of the Eye Water. The Berwickshire coastline consists of high cliffs over deep clear water with sandy coves and picturesque harbours. In the main it is a fishing port, although notable buildings in the town include Gunsgreen House and a cemetery watch house built to stand guard against the Resurrectionists (body snatchers). Many of the features of a traditional fishing village are preserved in the narrow streets and vennels – giving shelter from the sea and well suited to the smuggling tradition of old.


Eyemouth Harbour

The life of the historical hero of the town, William Spears (1812–1885), is celebrated by the dramatic bronze statue in Eyemouth Market Place, where he stands pointing the way to Ayton, the scene of his peaceful demonstration. At great personal risk, Spears led a revolt against the tithes on fish levied by the Church of Scotland, even after the great Disruption of 1843 when most fishermen left the established Church to join other congregations.
Very soon after the cost of getting the tithes removed had been met, the town was struck by the Eyemouth Disaster when on 14 October 1881 most of the fishing fleet, some 20 boats and 129 men from the town were lost in a terrible storm. Including victims from other coastal towns, a total of 189 men lost their lives. This is commemorated in the Tapestry housed in the Museum.




 


A contemporary article offers an interesting insight into Eyemouth in the 1860s:
"Between Abbs Head and Berwick, however is situated Eyemouth, a fishing-village pure and simple, with all that wonderful filth scattered about which is a sanitary peculiarity of such towns.
The population of Eyemouth is in keeping with the outward appearance of the place. As a whole, they are rough, uncultivated, and more druken in their habits than the fishermen of the neighbouring villages. Coldingham Shore, for instance, is only three miles distant, and has a population of about one hundred fishermen, of a very respectable class, sober and well dressed, and "well to do." – The Fisher Folk of the Scottish East Coast, "Macmillian's Magazine" No.36 October 1862.
The wide sandy bay is flanked by high cliffs. Despite being sheltered by the Hurkur Rocks, storms can generate high waves and throw high plumes of spume into the air over the sea wall. Named "The Bantry" said to be in affectionate memory of the Irish labourers, from the fishing town of that name in County of Cork, who constructed it.

 
 
 
 

In 1997, Eyemouth was given EU funding from a scheme to regenerate declining fishing villages and raised matching funds itself to construct a deep water extension to the Harbour. Eyemouth Harbour caters for most types of fishery activity and as a result Eyemouth's primary industry has seen a certain amount of rejuvenation. A pontoon has been installed in the harbour to provide ease of boarding for seafarers. This has attracted an increasing number of pleasure craft. Walks round the harbour never fail to interest. This is a real working fishing port and the scene is constantly changing.



Feeding the Seals
 
 
 
 

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