TAMH: Source Material
Arbroath Harbour: 18th Century Development - 1| 2

From the Guide 3rd January 1953.




The old Abbot's harbour had outlived its day. At the best, affording only indifferent accommodation and shelter to shipping, it was of little use in developing the trade of the burgh and always liable to destruction by severe storms. In 1725 work was begun on the formation of another harbour, to the Westward of the Abbot's harbours and of the Brothock Burn. It was excavated out of about two acres of beach and adjoining grass land, and the total cost of the work was upward of £6000 sterling.

A greater part of the burden of building this harbour now incorporated in the wet dock fell on the burgh itself, and in the course of the operations the personal labour of the inhabitants was required.

The situation of this harbour was that of the present wet dock, the entrance to it being at the South-west corner of the harbour. Between the present tidal harbour and wet dock was what was called 'ballast hill' which formed the outer wall of this old harbour on the site of the quay now occupied by the harbour sheds. It was built up of stone and rubble excavated to form the dock. The name was given this part of the harbour because the material was, doubtless, used from time to time to ballast sailing ships leaving port light. During the Napoleonic wars a battery of six 12-pounder guns was placed on the ballast hill for the defence of the port. The battery was dismantled after the exile of Napoleon.

The pierhead of the old harbour extended out from the ballast hill quay in the form of a sickle, the handle being at the harbour entrance at right angles to the main quay. The stones used in the building of it were obtained from the Ness Quarry. All that remains of this original pier at the harbour entrance is now built into what is to-day called the capstan quay on the other side of the present entrance to the harbour.