Buckie in old picture postcards volume 2

Buckie in old picture postcards volume 2

:   Eric Simpson
:   Moray
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6334-7
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Buckie in old picture postcards volume 2'

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The nineteenth century herring boom brought prosperity to the fishing communities of the Moray Firth coast. Buckie, in particular, expanded dramatically. New traders and businessmen came to the town to participate in this boom. These entrepreneurs included commercial photographers. Their studio portraits of individuals and family groups proved very popular. Photography out of doors was difficult and expensive until the invention of the dry plate photograph allowed photographie artists, as they called themselves, to take their cameras outside. By the 1870s more and more photographers were specialising in outdoor scenes. The earliest photographs used in this baak, taken in the early 187 Os, show us what parts, at least, of auld Buckie looked like. We cannot say for sure who taak them but some of them were reissued as postcards in the early 1900s. Sa rapid had been the growth and development of the town that these old views were even then regarded as quaintly different. See the postcard of Baron Street Beach in 1875 (No. 18). The sender who posted this card in 1906 wrote: 'Your aunties will recognise Baron Street aflang aga .. .'

In 1894 picture postcards were introduced to Britain, and within a few years pieture postcard production had become big business. Buge numbers were produced by a large number of firms, some large-scale like Valentine's and others small, aften alocal chemist like Rome Innes ofPortgordon. Same small shopkeepers, aften newsagents like].P. Pozzi, published postcards, though usually utilising photographs provided by one of the large, commercial firms. The growing popularity of Cullen as a holiday resort meant that a lot of postcards were produced and subsequently sold, ensuring that the photographic archive for this town is unusually rieh. At Cullen the beach, golf course, tennis courts and bowling green were obviously popular with visitors, so these fea-

tured on many postcards. In the twenties and early thirties, many visitors to Cullen walked out to Sunnyside to see alocal character, Charlie the Hermit. Since he made some money by selling postcards ofhis cave, quite a few have survived (see No. 72).

Actually providing photographie illustrations for tourists was nothing new. Even before the postcard came on the scene, holiday-makers sought mementoes of places they had stayed in and sights they had seen. Entrepreneurs met this demand, supplying photographic prints that could be stuck into a souvenir album. See, for instanee. numbers

1 0 and 17. These photographic prints were partieularly common where the local sights and scenes were on the tourist trails of the day. Fortunately, boats and harbours and distinctively-garbed fisherfolk had the kind of pieturesque appeal that photographers and tourists alike appreciated. In contrast to other industries, the fishing industry is, therefore, well represented in picture postcard archives. After cheap, simple cameras, like the Kodak Box Brownie, came into vogue in the early years ofthe 20th century, family snapshot photographs became more common. From the standpoint of the social historian snapshots that were destined for the family album are now sourees of evidence and, therefore, have historical value. See, for instanee. the photos taken by jim Tweedie in the thirties and early forties, Nos. 6, 7 and 53b.

The photographic archives thus accumulated provide us with information that would not otherwise be available. The occasional painting or print aside, we have na appreciable visual record until the camera began to capture for us moments in time - moments that have passed and cannot otherwise be relived. Although the contribution of artists like Peter Anson cannot be ignored, it has to be admitted that photogra-

phers have made amuch more varied and extensive contribution to the pictorial record of the past. This has meant that we now have visual material of a type and quality that was not available to previous generations. Virtually for the first time, we can see what communities looked like and how they changed and developed over different periods of time. Archive photographs reveal not only the general physical expansion of the town but also, in finer detail, the shops and business establishments which served the consumer needs of the wider community. We see people in working contexts and, more commonly; enjoying leisure pursuits. Same pictures speak of success like the group photos of trophy-winning football teams ofthe past. Others record failure as, for instanee. the photograph of the dinghy retrieved from the sea after the arrest at Portgordon of two German spies (No. 74). These are exarnples of photographs taken for the record - the team photo on the one hand and, on the other, an illustration to be used in evidence for the subsequent trial.

As to the early photographers themselves, we know very little about them. We can piece together a few bare bones from the names that appear on some of the old photographs and posrcards, Same were the work of outsiders, emanating from large commercial firms like Iarnes Valentine & Co. ofDundee and George Washington Wilson & Co. of Aberdeen. G.WWilson (1869-1905), who was one ofthe very best of the Victorian photographic artists, had local connections, being a crofter's son from Fordyce. William Clark from Old Deer was one of the pioneers in Buckie.Arriving in Buckie in 1878, he went into business in Baron Street. In 1897 he opened a new studio in Low Street where the bowling green was later sited (No. 22). Within a few years, he was back in Baron Larie. William Clark expanded into other farms

of business, helping to found the aerated water trade in Buckie - in premises at the top of Land Street. He participated in community affairs, being elected to BuckieTown Council and to the Vice-Presidency of BuckieThistle F.e. (see No. SOa). On his death in 1909, the 'Banffshire Advertiser' , reported that the business was to be carried on by Misses Maggie and Lizzie Clark with the assistance of the eldest son, William Clark, photographer, Huntly. Same firms specialised in posteard views, like the Newton Brothers who covered Buekie and Cullen as weil as Banff A surprisingly large number of postcards and photographs have na identifying marks. Some at least must have been the work oflatter-day praetitioners like Ali Mohammed (d. 196 7) and Ian Iohnston (d. 1969). Bath were weel-kent and weel-liked figures in the locality. We owe them, and their anonymous predeeessors and eontemporaries, a eonsiderable debt. In business in Buckie sinee the 1930s, Ali 's favoured means of transport, until he eventually acquired a small van, was the bicycle. Ali Mohammed, after being in business in Portessie for many years, ended up in the former Clark's studio in East Chureh Street, where many generations 0 Buekie fowk 'had their photos taak'.

1 We begin with a Heraldic Series postcard depicting a rope-enclosed coat of arms. The legend reads BURGH OF BUCKIE and the picture appropriately enough depiets a small sailing craft with BF

1 888 on its sail. This card must predate the famous BCK registration which commenced in 1907. The numeral 1888 refers to the year when Buckie became a Police Burgh, thus bringing the town council into being. The town's population in 1881 was 4, 1 76. Ten years later it had soared to 5,849. Buckie was the hub port in what was termed the Buckie fishing district which went from Banff to Findhorn. At that time, the Buckie fishing dis-

trict, with 71 3 boats and 3,522 fishermen and boys, was ranked 'the foremost in the kingdom in respect of the number ofboats owned and employed, and also in value'.

2 This view of the High Street from Cluny Square, around 1 870, shows a scene which is barely recognisable from today's standpoint. The thacket hoose on the right stands on the site of the Cluny Hotel which was not erected till 1880. One distinctive and readily identiflable feature is the South Kirk with its soaring spire. Built in 1 850, it was then called the Free Kirk. Although the New Buckie of those days was a planned new town, it is apparent that, when it came to house construction, na planning controls were applied. By the look of it, toa, this was one of the thoroughfares which would have qualified, in the words of a contemporary

critic, as one of the 'rnany unsightly bags which are dignified with the name of street in Buckie'.

3 While New Buekie was still eomparatively tiny, na fewer than three presbyterian plaees of worship appear in this illustration. The Free Kirk appears on the right of this photograph of 1870. The ehureh on the extreme left, was ereeted as a Chapel of Ease in 1 835 - an offshoot from the original parish kirk of the Chureh of Scotland at Rathven. Beeause of the breakaway of the Free Chureh of Scotland in 1843, the establishment Kirk - the Chureh of Scotland - was popularly terrned the Auld Kirk. The West Kirk of 1870 features in the centre-left. There was then na Cluny Plaee and West Chureh Street was just a planner's dream.

4 In this postcard we see three kirks in a row, but now the Chapel ofEase on the left has disappeared. In the Square, there is now a new establishment kirk, completed in I 880, which nowadays is designated the North Church. After the main presbyterian churches were reunited, the United Free Kirk became the West Kirk. Completing the holy trinity is the Episcopal, or 'English' Kirk, of 1876. Observe opposite the West Kirk, which recently has been converted into flats, a camera on a tripod.

5 Onee again we have a greatly altered scene - obviously prior to 1880. We see the old Chapel ofEase and a part of East Church Street, then simpIy entitled Church Street. The Free Church manse was sited behind the Chapel ofEase on the narth side. The building to the right of the chapel was the manse far the establishment kirk. At that time the Post office was the next building but one.

Old Parîsh Church, Buckie, 1875.

6 We jump far forward in time to a Cluny Square that is jam-packed with buses. The year is 1936 and the occasion is the Monday morning assembly of Alexander's buses. The summer herring fishing is in full swing, so the buses are gathered to take the local fishermen back to the Broch where their drifters were based for the season. The fishermen were conveyed from Fraserburgh to Buckie on the Saturday afternoon. There was no fishing on the Sabbath in those days, of course. About a dozen buses were required for the double journey. On Buckie holiday Monday, things were done differently. Then, it was the fishermen's families who used the buses

to go to the Broch on a daytrip to visit their menfolk. This was a great event and was organised by one of the wives, Elsie Ann Cowie from the Yardie, at a charge of 6/for adults and 3/- for bairns. Regarding the buildings, we observe, on the north side of the square, to the east of the Cluny Hotel, the Central Cash Hardware Store and next to it the Savings Bank.

7 In this photograph we see Alexander's booking and parcel office in Cluny Square in July 1938.Alexander's became entrenched in Buckie in 193 1 when the Falkirk firm bought out Miller's. the local bus company [irn Tweedie, who served as Bus Inspeetor in the town from 1935 until 1942, is seated in front between the two display boards. Each morning [im Tweedie wrote out each evening's programme of bus excursions on the boards. Craigellachie was that evening's destination, departing Cluny Square at 6.15 p.m. The fare was 1 /9d. On other nights, jim Tweedie tells us, the excursion buses might be bound for Huntly and the

Cabrach, Pluscarden Abbey, Rothes, Forres, Findhorn, New Pitsligo and Strichen. Day tours were also run, including special trips to events like the Braemar and Aboyne Gatherings.

8 Returning to the early 1900s, we move to East Church Street, noting that, on the left, the former Auld Kirk manse was then a rather plain edifice. Likewise, [ames Mackay's shop then stood only two storeys high. The building next to it was the Post Office. Across the street we see Shearer's which was founded in 1895. Previously, jarnes Mackay's drapery had been located on that si de of the street, having opened on that site in 1885. Charles Innes Shearer started up at No. 6 as a tailor and outfitter, doing so well that some fourteen years later his premises were expanded to include general drapery, knitting wools, floor coverings, ete.

Compare the building to the east of Shearer's with its appearance in the next postcard. A few years later it had been modified by adding two upper bay windows and, on the ground level, shop prem-

ises - the Cluny Dairy which later flitred to the High Street.

Church. Sb-eet, E., Backie

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