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Victoria Harbour, Dunbar
- Ref No: EL164
- Repository: East Lothian Archive Service
- Date: 1842-1857
- Description: Correspondence, reports and ephemera relating to the rebuilding of Victoria Harbour in Dunbar
- AdminHistory: The earliest record of a harbour at Dunbar is in 1574. Following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 the Cromwellian Parliament granted 300 for the building of Broadhaven and the Old harbour. A lower wharfe was added in 1761 for unloading coal and a battery was built in 1781 to protect Dunbar from privateers. By the mid 19th century it was felt that a larger harbour was needed to accommodate the growing fishing industry. A harbour at Dunbar was seen as essential for the safety of the East Coast fishermen as well as the economy of the burgh. The Council decided to approach the Board of Fisheries in 1840 and secured funding by the end of 1841, including a loan from James Balfour of Whittinghame, secured by mortgaging burgh lands. A plan was agreed involving creating the new harbour entrance by blowing up and excavating part of the rock on which the medieval castle stood. There were concerns about the plan and structure right from the start. Work began in 1842 and the new Victoria Harbour was completed in 1844.The wall of the main pier proved inadequate to withstand the force of the sea. Major repairs were needed in 1849. Then in the winter of 1856/7 a large part of the wall was destroyed and the complete destruction of the harbour seemed imminent. There followed a concerted campaign by the Council, supported by the Board of Fisheries, the Convention of Royal Burghs, the City of Edinburgh and other towns and various MPs, to persuade the Treasury to fund extensive repairs. A loan was secured in August 1857, to be repaid by revenue from the harbour. The repairs were successful and Victoria Harbour briefly profitable. However, the difficult entrance remained a problem. Eyemouth harbour became the main fishing port in the area, the railway killed off the coastal shipping trade and Dunbar became little more than an emergency port between Leith and Newcastle for vessels seeking shelter from storms. The new harbour nearly bankrupted the burgh of Dunbar and never delivered the expected gain.
- Extent: 0.007
- Level: Fonds
- Access Status: Open
- Associated Period:
- For more information contact: East Lothian Archive Service