Film crew stress importance of saving Broch heritage centre

Barbara Buchan, the volunteer guide who will feature in the documentary
Barbara Buchan, the volunteer guide who will feature in the documentary

The importance of preserving Fraserburgh Heritage Centre as a link to understanding the cultural heritage of our town has been noted by a Canadian film crew who were on location filming at the centre recently.

The film crew were making a documentary on preacher and evangelist Jock Troup and his involvement in the fisherman’s revival during the early 1920s which centred around the Fraserburgh area.

Speaking to the Herald, John Troup, grandson of Jock Troup, explained he has been assisting the film crew, stating: “Before becoming a preacher and evangelist, my grandfather worked as a cooper in the herring fishery in Wick and would have spent much time in Fraserburgh during the herring season.

“We contacted Fraserburgh Heritage Centre in the hope that the centre could play a role in helping us link the story of the past with the current film footage in understanding Fraserburgh past and present.”

Impressed by the quality of exhibits and knowledge of the volunteers, Mr Troup continued: “The heritage centre has done a marvellous job capturing the history of Fraserbrugh including the particular period in which we were interested.

“The building in which the Heritage Centre is situated is itself a former barrel factory with the sloping floors inside which makes it a unique heritage site in and of itself, there is also a rebuilt cooper’s workshop inside. Both the building itself and the display were of great interest for our purposes.

“Before visiting the centre, I had no idea of the scale of the herring industry during that period and the volunteer guide brought some of that to life for us.

“We learned that at the peak of the herring industry 1,500 coopers were employed in the Fraserburgh area which begins to give some understanding of the scale of this industry in North East Scotland.

“A cooper had a quota of about eight barrels a day which would mean up to 12,000 barrels of herring were being shipped a day from Fraserburgh during the peak of the season.

“Having a better understanding of the coopering trade also allows the film maker to have a better understanding of what shaped my grandfather’s character and work ethic for the rest of his life.”

Mr Troup added: “It is important for children to know how hard their ancestors worked to build the town in which they live today.

“Times change but children have much to learn from the past. I found a quote from Mark Twain which I think say’s it most simply and succinctly, “The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” It is all to easy to get caught up in the “tyranny of the present” and not prioritise the things that really matter in the long run. Fraserburgh has an amazing heritage and a very unique place in which to preserve it and volunteers with a passion to do so. Once its gone—its gone for good.”

The documentary will be aired on the Christian Network in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Commenting on her involvement with the documentary Barbara Buchan added: “The film promotes our town’s cultural history and I feel very honoured to portray a part of our heritage and way of life that is now gone.”