'Imagine'

This Plaque, commisioned by the Harbour Group, tells an interesting story of the village and its history. Its placement, design and geometry were intended to catch the eye. Many visitors stop here to rest ...and perhaps reflect. The Group also placed seating in close proximity, so take a seat, look to the harbour entrance and "imagine"...

Here are the words on the plaque.......

The origins of the village of Portgordon and it’s harbour date back to 1797 when it was founded by Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon. As the village developed it became an amalgamation of three distinct communities – Gollachy to the east, Seatown of Tannachy to the west and Portgordon in the central harbour area.

The original harbour occupied much the same position as the present one and was comprised of wooden piers. As the fishing activities increased so too did the import and export trade and Portgordon soon became the principal port in the area. Between 1870 and 1874 the harbour was extensively rebuilt and enlarged under the direction of Engineers, D & T Stevenson of Edinburgh. Following this reconstruction work the number of boats registered in the harbour rose to over 100. The village also developed as a centre for the boat building industry with local yards constructing Zulu’s and then subsequently, from around 1903, steam drifters.

Around the 1920’s street lighting was introduced to the village but as there was no gas or electricity supply these new-fangled inventions were powered by paraffin. Portgordon was one of the last communities in the area to switch to electric lighting which resulted in the village acquiring the dubious title of Paraffin City.

By the 1920’s Portgordon’s fishing fleet had dwindled and in 1935 ownership of the harbour transferred from the Gordon-Lennox family to the Crown Estate Commissioners who decided to close the harbour in 1947. Following the closure the harbour structure steadily deteriorated but under an Army “Military Aid” scheme a team of Gurkha engineers made three separate visits in the mid-eighties to carry out extensive repair work. The Gurkhas titled the project “Operation Famous Grouse” and their work is commemorated by a plaque on the harbours north wall.

The harbour is now only used for occasional recreational use and by a number of small fishing boats. The area does however remain rich with wildlife and this includes several species of marine mammals and seabirds.

Arguably one of the most famous incidents in the story of the village was the capture of German Spies in 1940. After being dropped off by a Nazi flying boat the three spies landed their dinghy at the Gollachy Burn before two of them made their way to Portgordon Railway Station. After they raised the suspicions of the stationmaster and the porter they were quickly arrested by the local bobby.

Following a highly successful public meeting in the village hall in April 2003 the Portgordon Community Harbour Group was formed with a view to regenerating the harbour and surrounding area. This plaque and viewing area is the first step on the long journey towards this regeneration.

PORTGORDON COMMUNITY HARBOUR GROUP JULY 2004

 

Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd - registered Scottish Charity No: SC040805
Patron: Mrs Clare Russell - Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire
© Content copyright: Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd 2006 - 2014
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