The Harbour

Aberdeen Harbour

(The video silent, unfortunately, because of issues of copyright, but if someone want to provide me with a suitable soundtrack …)

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( 1970s) conveyor loading ice into trawlers

The harbour at Aberdeen has been vital to the city’s life and economy for centuries although what is there today looks vastly different from how it used to be.


Aberdeen’s maritime trade was first officially recorded in 1136 during the reign of King David I.


The rich agricultural hinterland of Aberdeen contributed to the production of wool which came to be a major export during the harbour’s early existence.


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More recently textiles, fish (the city was a major exporter of salmon), paper and granite (stone for building or finished as memorials headed for the USA and Canada, or setts [erroneously known as cobbles] to various cities for paving) were all shipped out through this vital port.


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Brought in through the harbour were all kinds of products from timber from Russia and the Baltic to guano from South America and with just about everything in between: tea, sugar (giving rise to Sugarhouse Lane at the harbour), raisins, coal, grain and famously pottery from the Low Countries around 1000 years ago.


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Shipbuilding produced several famous ships – the world’s fastest clipper ship, the Thermopylae, the Sir William Hardy later known as the Rainbow Warrior blown up by French secret service in an act against Greenpeace, and the Malcolm Miller all made their maiden voyages through this harbour.


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The harbour was home to the city’s famous fishing industry which reached its zenith in the later 19th century with the development of trawl fishing.

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The 1970s with its clamour for oil and gas off the north east coast of Scotland turned Aberdeen’s harbour into the major hub it still is serving this industry.


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Aberdeen harbour continues to be an important gateway for goods and services with ships transferring merchandise between the city and every corner of the globe.


Removal company Aberdeen Shore Porter’s Society was set up in 1498 making it one of the oldest continuously operating companies in existence. 

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For information about Aberdeen Shore Porters Society

Shore Porter’s Society

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For more information on Aberdeen, its ships and the harbour

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