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TAMH: Source Material
Arbroath Harbour: 18th Century Development - 1| 2
From the Guide 3rd January 1953.
HISTORY OF ARBROATH
THE BROTHOCK BURN.
In 1765 the Town Council found it to be 'absolutely necessary for the preservation of the harbour and shipping' to erect a sluice so as to let the water of the Brothock run through the harbour to clear out the silt; and this was, accordingly, done. There had been an earlier resolution to the same effect, but it did not appear to have been acted upon. When it was found the harbour was much filled up with sand in 1741, expert advice was taken, and it was reported 'that the only way for clearing it was to bring the water by an aqueduct from the burn into the harbour, and that it would be necessary to enlarge the basin at the head of the canal' - at Ladybridge.
Trade increased after the new harbour was built. Following a memorial presented by the Town Council in 1786 by shipmasters and importers representing their own hazard and loss through the smallness of the harbour, its unsheltered situation, encroachment of the sea, and decay of some of the piers, the Town Council accepted the suggestions to erect gates at the narrow end of the harbour and a breastwork of breakwaters off the pierhead, one which remained until 1842, being on a site midway between the shore and the present West breakwater.
The smallness of the harbour was increasingly felt with the development of the trade of the port. The subject continued from time to time to occupy attention. In 1822 a high tide swept away a large portion of the ballast hill, and the engineer then consulted advised the harbour be extended. The first of several plans was obtained, but nothing was done until 1839, when a bill was passed by Parliament for extending, improving, and regulating the harbour, the board of management appointed by the Act consisting of 19 trustees.
At the time the trade of the harbour was still prosperous. The improvements of the old harbour, enlarged to an area of about 3 acres, and the construction of a new outer harbour, generally to a plan similar to the lay-out of the present harbour, were begun, but the scheme was held up by lack of funds. The conversion of the old harbour into a floating basin, the renewal of old piers, and the deepening of the entrance could not be gone on with. A government Commission visited Arbroath in 1846, and, consequently recommended that financial assistance be given.
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