Harbour History

That some sort of haven at Queensferry existed from medieval times can be inferred from early records. It is also likely that the rocks at this point, and later a pier, served as one of the ferry landing places on the south shore, along with the piers at Port Edgar, Newhalls (Hawes), Port Neuk and Long Craig.  The exact landing place, in those days was dependant on wind and tide.

Queensferry was at the southern end of Queen Margaret’s Ferry that would take pilgrims crossing the Forth on their way to Dunfermline Abbey or St Andrews. 

 

Queensferry c.1851

Queensferry
from Summer Life on Land and Water, William Wallace Fyfe, 1851

 

When Queensferry became a Royal Burgh in 1641 it was described as having a harbour and by 1693 this appeared to comprise two piers. The town was a thriving trading port during the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as having, at various times, a fishing, whisky and soap making industry.  Local skippers by the name of Dauling, Hill, Ponton, Wilson and Lowrie exported coal, slate, sheepskins and meal in return for timber, iron, wine, brandy, cloth and oil.

 

Queensferry Harbour

Queensferry Harbour

 

In 1694 George Hill asked the Burgh Council to impose anchorage and shore charges in order to pay back a loan that he and fellow skippers had obtained to build a harbour, which would then become the property of the town. The piers from this time probably formed the basis of the present harbour, the corbelled stone bastion at the harbour head (the ‘Fisherman’s Walk’) being perhaps the only remaining feature of this period.  Various changes were made between 1790 and 1820, when the council rebuilt the harbour in its present form, to a plan by engineer, Hugh Baird.

 

Queensferry Harbour c.1905

Queensferry Harbour with Steamer at Galloway Pier c.1905

 

From 1886, with the erection of a wooden pier extending out from the north-west corner, Queensferry was on the itinary of the Galloway steamers, which took passengers around the Forth. The pier was destroyed in 1919.

 

Queensferry from Forth Brridge with Galloway Pier

Queensferry From The Forth Bridge With The Galloway Pier To The Right

 

Fishing boats still used the harbour until the 1960’s, but today it provides a safe haven for motor boats, yachts and dinghies. Listed grade B, for its historic interest, it is now the responsibility of Edinburgh Council.  The berthing arrangements are managed, for the Council, by Queensferry Boat Club.

 

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