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Shipping & Ports

Pulley blocks

Description:

These were used to raise and lower the sails on sailing ships.

 

The port of Dumfries included Dumfries, Carsethorn, Kingholm Quay, Kelton and Glencaple.  At one time it stretched as far east as the River Annan and as far west as the River Urr.  Much of the shipping to and from the port was local coastal trade, and the farm produce of the area, cattle, sheep, pigs, potatoes and barley, was the main export.

                                           
Shipping from the port of Dumfries increased greatly in the early 1700s when the town made links with the new British colonies in North America.  By the 1740s there was so much tobacco imported from Virginia passing through Dumfries that the town was called "The Scottish Liverpool".

 

Coal from the coal mines of Cumberland was jone of the greatest items of trade into Dumfries and continued to be so until the 1940s.  Lime was another import, particularly after the improvements in farming of the late 1700s which required great quantities of lime to be spread on the fields.  Timber was imported form the Baltic, Norway and Sweden.

 

Brandy, wine, dried fruits and silk came into Dumfries from France and Spain.  These, together with tobacco, were the main interests of smugglers inthe 1700s, but controlling the practice was a hopeless task.

 

Emigration to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and particularly to Canada became the main trade from the port of Dumfries in the 1800s.  Newspaper advertisements show emigrant ships sailing regularly from Glencaple and Carsethorn.  Ships also sailed to Canada to trade goods with the settlers from Scotland and return with cargoes of timber.

 

Shipping in the port of Dumfries reached its peak in the 1840s, mostly with coastal trade, although there were several large ships crossing to Canada.

 

The cost of keeping the channel of the River Nith clear for shipping was becoming expensive.  When the railway reached Dumfries in 1850 a slow decline in the port began.  The First World War brought the port to a standstill and by the end of the Second World War all shipping had ceased.

Materials/Media:
wood, metal, iron
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:0204.12=14
Digital Number:
DMSH004n
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council