Fraserburgh and District Men’s Probus Club meets

Fraserburgh and District Men’s Probus club met on January 12.

Bob Sim, president was pleased to invite club member, Andrew West, to present to the members his “Memories of the Broch”. Well known for his photographic skills in former most acceptable offerings frequently bringing knowledge, interest and fascination with vivid images of far away places, on this occasion our speaker chose to evoke echoes of the past in a very nostalgic journey for many and an educational trip for those less familiar with the local scene.

Having invited his listeners to take a trip round and about town we moved from the 1870 picture of a practically deserted day - time square and town centre, to 1909 with horse drawn vehicle and 1950 slide featuring only one vehicle, a parked standard Vabguard at a time when Broad Street merited that name.

Two way traffic with lack of island has become a faded memory. Reminders of a sad period in local history (World War 2) were recalled by images of wanton destruction - rubble which once were The Commercial Bar, Benzie v Miller, etc.

Other noted scenes and dates included the 1923 unveiling of the War Memorial at Strichen Road junction with re-positioning to Saltoun Place of the fountain to accommodate, the 1905 opening of the library and slightly later the now Old Academy in 1909. Steeped in knowledge of the sea (with former family boat FR993) Andrew gave, by picture and word a sympathetic introduction to the ways of those in any way connected with those who dare the rigours of the sea. Featured were the herring market and black sands, men carrying herring nets and the mending of them, gutting in the open air on the pier, seventeen klondykers off Fraserburgh in 1993, an operating steam crane, the old slip way, 1880 - 1890 sail rigged fishing fleet, an old scene at harbour with shipbuilding facility a 1914 paddle boat at the opening of the ‘new’ harbour, the life boat shed, and a younger generation of boys in more modern times fishing from the pier.

Other recalling of the past features the 1908 December storm with snow piled many feet deep in the South Church and Bellslea area, horses in immaculately presented harness for the Queen Victoria jubilee, and cows sauntering along a well known thoroughfare around 1950.

It would seem odd if a Broadsea resident were to mention going into town (Fraserburgh) maybe some do?

Jim Flett thanked Andrew for another enjoyable morning acknowledging the skill and preparation required and great good humour of the presentation.

At the next meeting on January 26, , George Ritchie will speak on Fishing - Past and Present.