Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Peterhead History

Peterhead Bar

Peterhead Bar was built round about 1770

Most iconic structures Peterhead Bar was built round about 1770

One of Peterhead’s most iconic structures, the building housing what we knew as the Union Bar was built round about 1770 by Alexander Elles.

Peterhead_line

One of the Baron Baillies, a respectable pillar of the community and solicitor by day, Elles was the most prolific smuggler in North East Scotland by night !

He picked the site of his house carefully so that he could have an uninterrupted view of the sea from his attic and watch out for the ‘Crooked Mary’, the most notorious smuggling lugger on the coast, his cellar was built especially to hide contraband in (mainly brandy & rum), he was even known to hide smuggled goods (tea) in the Town house itself (buried under the floor apparently)

Anyone familiar with the geography surrounding the Union Bar will know that it used to back on to Flying Gig Wynd, home of the Flying Gig Inn, the favourite smuggler’s hangout in Peterhead, just a coincidence ??

Alexander Elles died in 1791 and left an estate of £15000, an absolute fortune for the day, smuggling must have been a profitable business indeed !

The building’s exciting history was added to during WW2 when the Norwegian Secret Service used the basement of the building as a base for their operation in the North Sea.

Credit by Kenny Bruce

Peterhead_line

>>>Directory of Peterhead Bars<<<

Peterhead_line
Peterhead Bar
Peterhead Bar was built round about 1770

Peterhead.Live on Facebook or Twitter for get more actual information.

Peterhead Facebook

Peterhead Facebook page New Reach 10000

Peterhead Facebook

Read More

HMS Peterhead minesweeper

New HMS Peterhead minesweeper, Royal Navy during the WW2

HMS Peterhead was a Bangor-class minesweepers built for the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

HMS Peterhead J59 So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy named after the Scottish town of Peterhead.

She was built by Blyth Shipbuilding Company, of Blyth, Northumberland and launched on 31 October 1940.

HMS Peterhead min 1
Pics by Stefan Girling

Under the command of Lt Cdr David Croom-Johnson RNVR (later Lord Justice Croom-Johnson), she took part in Operation Neptune, the assault phase of the invasion of Normandy and was mined off Utah Beach on 8 June 1944.

Croom-Johnson was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for Peterhead work in Operation Neptune.

57xzzbзz min3
Pics by HMS Peterhead in the Bay of Biscay on 30 December 1943

Peterhead was declared a total loss, and was sold for scrapping on 1 January 1948. She was broken up at Hayes, of Pembroke in May 1948.

Peterhead_line

More interesting Pictures on Peterhead Community Council Website

Scotland roads

Scotland roads, ancient and perhaps the most intriguing.

Scotland has many ancient roads, and perhaps the most intriguing are the coffin Scotland roads.

The coffin Scotland roads were often just rough tracks through glens and mountains, but they were vital for transporting the bodies of the deceased from remote locations to consecrated ground for burial.

Some can still be traced today, one such road is St Edderens way, which traverses Aberdeenshire’s Mormond Hill between the villages of Strichen and Rathen.

The corpse were transported over the hill from Strichen to Rathen, as Strichen did not have a kirk or cemetery when it was built. Mormond Hill itself is a place steeped in myth and legend, one one side is a giant white horse made of stone, on the other side a giant white stag https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormond_Hill.

On top of the hill stands the ruin of a hunting lodge, the date stone bears the legend “Rob Gibb commands 1779” Rob Gibb was Charles the Second’s court jester and it’s thought the inscription is a veiled Jacobite toast to the Stuart dynasty.

On the coffin road are many ancient sites of interest, in particular the Resting Cairn, where the coffins of the deceased were rested on the stones until the pall bearers felt refreshed enough to continue their journey.

Perhaps the greatest enigma of a Mormond Hill is that some historians have theorised that it may be considered as the site of the fabled battle of Mons Graupius between The Picts and the Romans.

I make no such claim, Mons Graupius has been attributed to locations all over Scotland !

All the photographs are mine.

Author Kenny Bruce

Boddam Castle

Boddam Castle, Aberdeenshire

The Boddam Castle lies c 3 km South of Peterhead on a level promontory between two deep vertical sided sea inlets.

A late sixteenth/early seventeenth century courtyard castle, built by the Keith family.

The Keith’s support for the Jacobite cause saw them ruined financially and the castle was allowed to fall into decay.

The remains of the 16-17th century Boddam Castle consist of the entrance archway, surmounted by a low gable, and one or two smaller arches as well as the complete foundation.

Boddam Castle
Picture by Kenny Bruce

What may have been the hinges of a drawbridge were found when a trench was cut in front of the entrance in 1868.

Boddam Castle comprises the remains of a curtain wall, c.33.0 m square, with the entrance in the West consisting of the West gable of a building with a round arched doorway and square window above.

Three gun-loops are visible. The footings of a range of buildings remain within the enclosure against the North and South walls.

Boddam Castle
The engraving was done in 1784 by an unknown artist.

the old streets

The Old Streets in Peterhead town

One of the old streets in Peterhead town used to be called Flying Gigs Wynd

One of the old streets in Peterhead town used to be called Flying Gigs Wynd.

Located between Broad Street and the Seagate, in the 18th century it was a narrow, twisty lane, largely populated by taverns, some of low repute!

the old streets
The old streets in Peterhead town

The most infamous of these was aptly named The Flying Gig and was owned by one Michael Flanagan, an avid buyer and seller of smuggled goods, indeed Peterhead’s most notorious smuggler, Alexander Elles, has a house which backed directly on to the lane.

Where does the name come from?

The most plausible suggestions are that it either refers to the small triangular pennant flag often seen at the top of sailing ships mast, this flag was often called a gig, or if could be that the name has become corrupted over time and was originally the Flying Jib Wynd.

the old streets
The old streets in Peterhead town

No one knows for sure, The Wynd is gone now and only the entrance remains, but I often wonder what went on down that lane every time I pass.

Credit by Kenny Bruce

Music Hall

Music Hall, Peterhead was built in our town, famous throughout Scotland

In 1873 a grand Music Hall was built in Peterhead, famous throughout Scotland, it was sadly destroyed by fire in 1936.

In 1873 a grand Music Hall was built in Peterhead, famous throughout Scotland, it was sadly destroyed by fire in 1936.

Now here’s the strange part of the story, directly behind the Music Hall is a street called Tolbooth Wynd, which in the Georgian period was the home to an infamous drinking den called Clockie’s House.

Music Hall

The inn was said to be populated by people of extremely dubious morals, and was often the scene of violent altercations and brawls between the locals and the Militia soldiers who were garrisoned in the town.

Local legend always maintained that Clockie’s two daughters were not adverse to luring some of these Milita soldiers outside, where they would be immediately bashed on the head by their hidden accomplices, who would then steal the soldiers money and possessions.


As I say just legend….until February 1937, when workmen demolishing the fire ravished Music Hall to start building the shops that were to replace it discovered two skeletons with the tattered remains of military uniforms still adhering to the bones

Credit by Kenny Bruce

undersea telegraph cable

Undersea telegraph cable, which had been laid in 1868/1869

The Norwegian – Scottish undersea telegraph cable

If you happened to be strolling along the seashore in town of Peterhead.

You might just notice what look like a couple of old steel cables sticking out of the sand, these old cables are in fact the remains of the Norwegian – Scottish undersea telegraph cable, which had been laid in 1868/1869.

The building you can see on the right of the postcard is the Telegraph Station, where the first news of the Russian Revolution in 1917 was received and transmitted to the rest of the world.

More modern communication methods became normal in the 1920’s and the building was utilized as a small house, until it was demolished in the 1960’s.

undersea telegraph cable
undersea telegraph cable
undersea telegraph cable


I’m still fascinated to this day when I see these old pieces of cable.

To think that news of one of the most momentous events of the 20th century was first relayed to the rest of the world by them, via our small town on the remote NE coast of Scotland.

Credit by Kenny Bruce