Peterhead  Aberdeenshire


In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Peterhead like this:

Peterhead, parl. and police burgh, seaport town, and par., E. Aberdeenshire, on a small peninsula on N. side of Peterhead Bay, 44½ miles NE. of Aberdeen by rail - par., 9170 ac., pop. 14,257; parl. and police burgh, pop. 10,922; town, pop. (including Buchanhaven) 10,953; P. O., T. O., 4 Banks, 2 newspapers. ...

Market-day, Friday. Peterhead was made a burgh of barony in 1593, but at this date the only part of the town existing was the fishing vil. of Keith-Inch, which stands on the extremity of the peninsula. Keith-Inch has now been insulated by the canal which connects the 2 harbours on either side of the isthmus. There are now 3 basins, hewn out of the solid rock, covering an area of 21½ ac., and 2 graving docks. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) Peterhead is the centre of one of the 26 herring fishery districts of Scotland, and during the season of the herring fishing the pop. of the town is increased by from 3000 to 4000. Immense quantities of herrings are exported, chiefly to Baltic ports. A number of vessels are annually employed in the Greenland seal and whale fishing, an industry which has been carried on from this port since 1788, but has had great fluctuations. Peterhead is the most easterly town in Scotland, and owing to its prominent situation and its position as regards the great fishing industry of which it is the centre, it has been selected by Parliament for a national harbour of refuge. Granite is extensively quarried in the neighbourhood. Peterhead is one of the Elgin Burghs, which return 1 member to Parl.

Peterhead through time

Peterhead is now part of Aberdeenshire district. Click here for graphs and data of how Aberdeenshire has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Peterhead itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 28th May 2024

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