With the current works being undertaken at Peterhead harbour, we thought the following article, taken from the Buchanie in June 1966, may be of interest...
“A new fishmarket of about 7.000 square yards, with improved access in place of the present facilities and on the same site - that is the possibility opening up for Peterhead.
The dream will come to pass if the preliminaries dealt with by the harbour trustees on Tuesday, on presentation by their consulting engineer, progress to the stage of receiving the blessing, financial and otherwise, of the Scottish Home Department, a Government body which has given considerable encouragement to Peterhead as a port in recent years.
Mr C. R. Wallace, consulting engineer, at the request of the board, submitted plans and a report on the condition and possibility for improvement of the fish market.
And, thereafter, the trustees recognised that the market was beyond repair. They are now considering rebuilding it in the same area and await Mr Wallace’s next plan and report.
Provost Duncan, presiding, steered the discussion to a successful conclusion after Mr Wallace had given his report and when the Trustees had availed themselves of the opprtunity of making suggestions and asking questions relevant to the proposals, the meeting, being public at the Provost’s insistence and with the approval of the Trustees.
The figure of £25,000 was tentatively mentioned this being ‘economical’ and having a better chance of gaining Department approval than a more ambitious one.
Pointing out that the present market must date back to the 19th century, Mr Wallace explained that there had been a market extension in 1949 and thereupon submitted drawings which, he stressed were merely preliminaries to help consider the whole question of the market - to get it underway.
He then explained that they had at one time considered the possibility of repairing the old market, but it had been agreed later that it would be better to either build a new market or reconstruct the existing structure.
As a comparison, Mr Wallace explained that his preliminary drawing made provision for a market floor space of 6,758 square yards while the new market at Macduff was 5,190 square ayrds. Knowing that Peterhead was not doing too well just now, he suggested this was ample size.
At this juncture, Cllr Robert Buchan, vice-chairman, took Mr Wallace upon the question of potential and explained that ‘at the moment’ on Saturday morning the present market was at capacity, with tiered boxes outside on some days, this leaving fish to lie in the sun and giving rise to complaints by skippers, such fish losing in price value.
He conceded that the scheme submitted, while wonderful, was much too small for what they were envisaging for the future in Peterhead, as they were definitely trying to build up the port.
He suggested something ‘half as broad again’ and Mr William Buchan, having assured that Saturday landings at the port were here to stay, the consulting engineer went into the question of measurements, locale and ground available.
Mr Wallace explained the merits of the plans, and emphasises that these were ‘economical’ and ‘low cost’ and that they could not get it more so.
Also, to get through the Department, it had to be a low cost scheme.
He emphasised that a modest £25,000 which the Trustees in the circumstances might get through the Department would have a better chance than something more ambitious.
Moreover, said Mr Wallace, there was no room for expansion and the question was whether they could think in terms of another fish market. The Provost suggested he carry on with the plan.”
More next week on the future of the fishmarket.