The Cellardyke Echo – 11/11/2021 – Issue 313


Intelligence was received Anstruther on Saturday night stating that William Montadore, one of the crew of the Cellardyke fishing boat Venus Star, fishing at Lowestoft, was washed overboard and drowned in the storm at an early hour of Friday morning. He leaves a widow and family. He is the eighth East of Fife fisherman who has been lost within fortnight at the English fishing.

Anstruther Harbour – some employment has this week been got at the harbour by the arrival of the schooner Johanna from Mandel with a cargo of staves for Mr Cormack, Cellardyke. As showing the inconvenience arising from the want of a customhouse officer the captain and crew had to lie idle nearly a whole day before they could begin to discharge, and work was only commenced on Tuesday forenoon after the arrival of the officer from Methil. The board of trade should see that this annoyance is not suffered in future by making better arrangements for the discharge of cargoes from foreign vessels.

Baking Enterprise – A long step advance has just been made by the energetic Cellardyke bakers, Messrs Black Son, by the introduction of the patent decker oven in conjunction with their steam machines. This oven is unique. It embraces an upper and lower chamber of tire bricks, eight feet by six. The furnace, situated at the right angle, is seven times heated, as it were, with coke, which issues by three streams into a lake of living fire, if we may use the simile, between the two chambers, which are thus bathed all round with continuous flow or current from the moment it leaves the furnace till escapes into the air. The bricks are such excellent conductors of heat that the loaves or biscuit are baked in third less time than in the ordinary ovens, while the chambers are, of course, entirely free from the smoke, &c., which renders it expedient to use the primitive implement known as the scuffle. To this end the sides are encrusted with a kind of porcelain, which glitters like white glass—in fine, the patentee has done as much for the economy of the bakehouse as the inventor of the hot blast in the furnaces of the West. The effectiveness of the oven will be of special value to the Messrs Black their large orders for biscuit in the fishing season to all parts of Scotland. Some years ago Mr Black made series of ingenious experiments which was enabled to utilise his steam engine in the stirring, kneading, cutting out of the biscuit, so that the oven now bridges over the last difficulty in the way of the firm. The oven, which is patented in Cardiff, is the first of the kind in the East of Fife.


MAN FOUND DEAD IN FIFESHIRE. Last night the body of a man was found lying among the rocks the shore between Cellardyke and The body was dressed in brown and black tweed trousers, tweed vest, and on the feet Wellington boots. On the stockings were the initials 44 T. S. L.” while in one of the pockets was copy of Scott’s 44 on Religion,” with a label on the inside page, 44 Markinch Parish Library, No. 29.” The Markinch authorities have been communicated with lead to the identification.

In the course of the forenoon, a telegram arrived announcing the loss of a Fisherrow boat with seven of a crew drowned, Walter Brown, the skipper, being a nephew of Mr Robert Brown, Cellardyke. Further on, another telegram came to hand, stating that a Hopeman boat had been lost with five men. These sad news did not tend to allay the anxiety, and wires were sent off to Yarmouth asking if all the Cellardyke boats had returned. Reassuring messages came back in the case of some, but in the evening about a dozen boats were still unaccounted for. Yesterday forenoon, however, the number had been reduced to six, and by the afternoon, to four. In the evening, up to seven. o’clock, all the boats had arrived in Yarmouth but one, Rob the Ranter, Skipper Henry Rett, Cellardyke, and it was considered that intelligence would come to hand about it to-day.

Read more about the Fisherrow boat on a Fisheries Museum post today


CELLARDYKE, DISTURBING THE SALVATION ARMY – At East Anstruther Burgh Court on Friday David Davidson, fisherman, Cellardyke, was charged with creating a breach of the peace by swearing and shouting at the Cross Shore Street, on the 28th October. Two previous convictions were recorded against him. He pled guilty. The Fiscal stated that accused had interrupted an open-air meeting, and when the Salvation Army marched to the ” Fort ” he followed and renewed his swearing, &c. Davidson said that he had been attracted to the spot by the singing when a minister said, “Let us pray for a drunken brother,” which vexed him. After further remarks, he became so rambling that Provost Anderson called him to order. In passing sentence, the Provost said that as the other convictions were dated several years ago they would not be emoted. The fine was 7s 6d, or days.. Davidson loudly declared his inability to pay, and was again warned. The money was subscribed by friends in court.

At Kilrenny Burgh Court Alexander Keith, labourer, Cellardyke, was charged before Provost Martin and Bailies Thomson and Williamson with creating a breach of the peace and assaulting Thomas Brown, fisherman, in his own house on the 28th alt. Four previous convictions were aloe produced Keith pled guilty. There had been a family quarrel, and he had gone to his father in law’s house and committed the assault. He was fined 10s.



Yesterday morning intelligence reached Anstruther from Yarmouth of the sudden death of Mr David Murray, of the firm of Murray & Co., fishcurers Anstruther, Aberdeen, and Yarmouth. Deceased was bred as a fisherman, but in 1852 he, along with many others from Cellardyke, went out to the Australian goldfields, and being unsuccessful he entered the coastguard service at Williamsburgh, near Ballarat. He afterwards became captain and part owner of a small trading vessel, but owing to an accident, by which he lost one of his legs, he was ordered home. He started in partnership with the late Bailie Sharp the business of fishcurer, oilskin and net manufacturers, and ere long their trade became one of the largest in Scotland, with connections in Aberdeen , Shetland , Yarmouth , and various parts of Australia , to which they exported large quantities of dried and tinned fish every year . The business continued very prosperous until 1884, when, owing to the large bounties paid to the fishermen at the North, and the failure of the fishing, the firm were compelled to become bankrupt They were soon re-established again ; and went on until last year , when on the death of Ballie Sharp Mr Murray took the business into his own hands. Mr Murray was one oi the best known fishcurers in the North of Scotland. Mr Murray was sixty years of age, and has left a widow and one daughter.


 A telegram from Yarmouth on Wednesday forenoon received by the Rev. Mr McAlpine announced the death of this widely-known gentleman, and stated that deceased had been found dead in bed. The intimation was startling as it was unexpected, and excited the deepest expressions of surprise on all sides. The sincerest sympathy is felt with Mrs Murray and her daughter in their sudden and sore bereavement. Letters from Mr Murray on the preceding day had been received regarding business arrangements, and contained not the slightest intimation that he felt in any way out of his usual health. Mr Murray was a native Cellardyke, where his father and grandfather occupied positions of honour in the burgh, and were long the lending spirits. While barely out of his teens, Mr Murray, one of the most strapping fishermen the port, along with fifteen companions, emigrated to Australia, where the fame of the gold fields was then leading all. They soon saw that it was not altogether so remunerative, and Mr Murray returned to the coast. Here he ultimately became captain of one of the smartest schooners in the lightering trade. His energy and perseverance soon gained the confidence of the leading merchants, so that the vessel was almost in constant commission to lighter their ocean packets. But a terrible misfortune gave new turn to his destiny. The schooner was lying at anchor in the river, when a careless steersman caused collision. Murray so far averted the peril of the night, but his leg was so crushed that it had to be taken off below the knee. With indomitable spirit he turned to a new sphere, and was soon managing partner in store. He was a second time laid aside by the fretting of the wound, and had to return to Scotland. Not long after his return, Mr Fowler one night sent for him and announced his intention of retiring. Mr Murray was overwhelmed for the moment, but he soon proceeded to realise the expectations which Mr Fowler had formed of his future. He associated himself with Mr George Sharp, at that time accountant in the Clydesdale Bank. The latter acted as resident partner, while Murray attended to the buying. In this connection he became one of the most familiar visitors at and Aberdeen. He showed himself shrewd and far-seeing man of business. This was shown nowhere so clearly in the success which long attended his supervision of the net factory, of which he was also managing partner. His practical knowledge of this department enabled them to keep well in touch with the times, and in the end overcame all attempts many of the leading houses which then directed their attention to crushing out all competition. For many years the firm was the most extensive employers of labour in the district, sixty and eighty people being in their pay as net and oil workers, while the fish-curing and general merchant departments employed many others. All along the East Coast their names were like household words for the superiority of their sea-gear and outfit. Their fame was also spread in Australia, where their cases of preserved herring were paraded luxuries, and familiar to every settler. Thus their business increased in every direction, until a series of reverses were sustained. The firm was restarted, and were fast regaining their name, when in 1891 Mr Sharp was suddenly called. It will be remembered that, although ailing for some time, Mr Sharp was on the pier in the forenoon. In the evening while at supper he was taken unwell and died within a few hours. Mr Murray then dropped the net factory and merchant’s shop, continuing the fishcuring business. He had premises at Anstruther, Aberdeen, and Yarmouth, and bought large supplies at the latter ports. His long experience enabled him to take foremost place in the trade, and was in the midst of this work that he was cut off. Mr Murray was in his sixty-first year. With the exception of intermittent pains in his injured leg, he was rarely indisposed. He was an ardent Liberal, and a lifelong friend of Mr Stephen Williamson, M.P., and during his contests in the burghs was untiring in forwarding his interests. He was twice married, and his first wife had one daughter, for whom and Mrs Murray the deepest sympathy is being felt. Mr Murray is to be interred in Kilrenny Churchyard on Monday, where he will rest beside the kindred dust of many generations.

It would be an insult to the Cellardyke and other fishermen to suppose that any or many of them entertain the very absurd notions of Skipper Adam Reid as to the payment of their debts. This skipper has been the ” king fisher” of Cellardyke for two Lammas draves in succession This year alone it is commonly rumoured that he had upwards of £200 for his own share, besides selling his boat to considerable advantage. He has given orders for a new boat to be built at a cost of £300 or £400, and yet he objects to pay an account of £5 which he admits to be correct, and puts the Harbour Commissioners to the trouble of getting decree against him in the Sheriff Small Debt Court. With rare magnanimity he offers to get clear of his debt by paying £3 provided be receives a full discharge for the £5. He generously lodges the 60s in the hands of the Clerk of the Commission on this condition, and coolly gives the order that if his terms are not complied with the money is to be returned forthwith. The Commissioners seemed to be much taken aback at the amazing effrontery of the man, and it was some time ere several of them found their tongues. But one and all were unanimous in insisting on full payment being made, and the usual steps taken at once to enforce immediate payment of the debt and the expenses incurred. It is only right and honest that action of this character should be taken. The Commissioners cannot allow themselves to be defied by a man who seems to have very crude ideas as to the payment of his just debts. The Commissioners would be acting dishonestly if they exhibited the least leniency to him. He has no valid excuse whatever for declining to pay, and his case must be made a salutary lesson to himself and others that they cannot be permitted to go on incurring liability in connection with the harbour, and then shirking the fulfilment of their obligations. By a display of firmness at this time, the Commissioners will not only recover the amount due and their expenses, but also administer a telling rebuke to people who, with empty-headed bravado, sometimes boast of their ability to escape the payment of the harbour dues and rates.

(£200 in 1893 is the equivalent of approx. £26,790 today)


A Cellardyke boat, the Reliance, had nearly £100 for one shot of herrings at Yarmouth last week, the quantity landed being 12 lasts. (Adam Reid was Skipper)

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