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Eyemouth Harbour
Eyemouth, Scottish Borders, UK
associated engineer
John Smeaton
date  1768 - 1770
era  Georgian  |  category  Harbour  |  reference  NT945644
ICE reference number  HEW 2399
Picturesque Eyemouth Harbour lies between sandstone cliffs on the east coast of Scotland, 8km north of the English border. The bay has been used for fishing since the 13th century, and the harbour was a focus for smuggling in the 18th century, becoming one of the most important fishing ports on the east coast by the mid 19th century.
The bay is exposed to northerly gales, and although a pier was built in 1747 to shield the harbour entrance, it remained vulnerable. Following sea damage in 1767, engineer John Smeaton designed the north pier to give added protection.
The 104m long structure was founded on rock with the external masonry constructed in sloping courses, the stones of which weigh up to 3 tonnes each. This technique may have been better at resisting wave action than the more customary horizontal courses the inclined masonry, completed in 1770, can still be seen.
The harbour sustained further damage from flooding in 1794, and on 14th October 1881 a storm caused the deaths of 129 local fishermen. This tragic event prompted Eyemouth Harbour Trust to obtain a loan of 25,000 from the Public Works Loan Commissioners for the construction of a safer harbour.
During 1884-87, the harbour was extended to 3.8 hectares and deepened by 600mm. A central pier was built, and rock cutting on the Gunsgreen (east) side improved the river course. Then in 1892-3 the harbour was deepened by a further 900mm. The harbour continued to be improved and developed up to 1995.
Supervising engineer (1747): William Crow
Supervising engineer (1768-70): John Smeaton
Main contractor (1768-70): Cramond, Dunbar
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.ports.org.uk
reference sources   CEH SLB
Location

Eyemouth Harbour