The Cellardyke Echo – 18/5/2022 – Issue 389


Our townsman, Councillor Jarvis, of Norwich renown, is about to launch another dashing North Sea clipper. She is to the order of Skipper Alexander Cunningham, of the “Scotch Lassie,” of Cellardyke—the famous model of the Royal Lifeboat Institution. She was built in the September of 1867 or all but eighteen years ago, by that prince of the trade in his day, Bailie Christopher Pottinger, who opened this now thriving at Anstruther. Here we meet with a mile-stone as it were, in the path of progress, for this time every requirement or provision was held to be met for a deep sea boat in dimensions as follows to wit :—Length 43 ft. 6 in. ; breadth, 16 ft, 10 inches of hold 7ft 41n. ; that is, 51 tons o.m. The grand idea of the Institution, however, was to make the deep-sea fleet un-submergible in the event of a disaster at sea, and, which, in the case of the Scotch Lassie was provided for, exactly as in the water tight chambers of a life boat. But as you only have to compare the once boasted model with the Cellardyke deep sea fleet of today, to realise the great stride that has been made in the energy of the coast.

At a Burgh Court of Cellardyke on Saturday—Provost Skinner and Bailie Smith on the bench Robert Watson pleaded guilty to what appears to have been a neighbour’s quarrel on the evening of Friday, the 24th ultimo, in the course of which he, being under the influence of liquor, kicked the door, and broke one of the panes in the window of Alexander Wood, for which he was fined in 10s 6d. Two young fishermen, John Henderson and George Tawse, were accused of a breach of the peace by being noisy and quarrelsome in drink at an early hour on Sabbath, the 26th  alt. Two convictions—the one in the spring, and the other in the mid-summer of last year—were recorded against the first, and one in the winter of 1883 against the second. Pleading not guilty, a lively scene followed over the hearing of the evidence. Police-Constables Martin and White deponed to the libel; while two comrades, John McRuvie and William Watson, did so in exculpation, with which the sympathies of the crowded Court were emphatically in accord that the bench sustained the charge, and fined each of the panels 12s 6d.


At the Burgh Court of East Anstruther on Monday a hopeful carter youth of Cellardyke, rejoicing in the name John Huggins, was accused of having kicked and otherwise molested the door of the Mason’s Tavern on Saturday night, till his drunken outcries were quelled in the lock-up. Pleading guilty, he was fined, after a pointed admonition, in 10s 6d. A strapping cooper belonging to the town, William Pattison, aged about six and twenty, was charged with having stolen an ornate case of bottle of raspberry vinegar from the same hotel. It appears that the gas had mysteriously gone out; but a Iucifer was ignited in time to discover the prisoner within the rail—a hint that sufficed to put Police Constables Martin and White on the trail. The Prisoner, with the missing bottle in his pocket, was apprehended at his poor old grandmother’s, and so,, hermit-like, his Sabbath day musings took place in a cell. As he showed every sign of shame and penitence at the bar, the Magistrates so far sympathised with his situation that be was released paying a fine of 7s 6d.


The Local Authority will now have to consider what charge they are to impose on each fisherman for barking his nets, and the course they adopt will doubtless be regarded as a precedent to other fishing localities, where a similar rate will be found necessary. When the water is introduced into Anstruther, a charge will likely be imposed on the Cellardyke fishermen for taking the water from Anstruther wells, and it will only be fair and just that this should be done, since the two communities are to have two separate supplies.

New Improvement on Fishermen’s Overalls . ln addition to the two patents, which Messrs Duncan & Black, Cellardyke, have taken out for buoys and sea boors, and which have proved a decided advantage to the fishing community throughout Scotland, they have just secured a registered design for the improvement of fishermen’s brooks. Formerly it has always been a complaint by the fishermen that when hauling their lines or nets in stormy weather, they are often drenched into the skin by the water getting in at the side of the trousers. Owing to the construction of the flap, water is admitted freely, and in order to obviate this Messrs Duncan & Black have put on what they term ” flap-guards,” that is a piece of cloth sewed in at the sides, and when the brooks are buttoned up these guards are so placed that any sea water striking a fisherman will at once run off, and thus keep their inside clothes thoroughly dry. The brooks have now been appropriately named ” Keep-me dry,” and a number of fishermen, who have seen them, have given orders for them, and speak highly of the advantages that will accrue to their class by wearing them

On Friday evening last about 7 o’clock some alarm and excitement were created in Cellardyke by report that a boat had gone ashore on the rocks to the westward of Cellardyke harbour. It seems that there not being enough water to get into Anstruther harbour, the James Ritchie-Welch (Skipper, James Smith), was bringing up to lie until the tide flowed, when, being close inshore, the swell carried her on to the Busses rocks lying to the west of Cellardyke harbour. Assisted by the flowing tide, however, she was soon got off, not much the worse of the mishap.


The crew of the Cellardyke boat Maggie Reid had an exciting adventure at sea. While the gale was raging like whirlwind the big mast snapped by the deck. “God be praised,” might well rise on thankful lips for the escape of boat and crew, but as the recovery of the spar was the one chance of regaining the land, it wis anxiously watched by Skipper Henderson and his crew, till the storm was far spent that they were able to hoist it on board. A carpenter and his tools were needed, but like the old fathers of Cellardyke, who when cast away on desert island, built a boat from the wreck of their ship, and so escaped to a friendly port, the crew in this case, with no better implement than the steerage axe, fashioned the broken mast to the step that they once again set sail to reach their own firesides Sabbath.


The ladies and others associated in the Cellardyke soup kitchen met in the Council Room on Saturday afternoon to receive the report of Treasurer Thomson. It appears that in the bi-weekly relief between the 8th February and the 19th March there had been 1428 free rations of soup and bread, at a cost of twopence each. 906 had been sold at a penny or half-penny below prime cost. The donations and sales amounted to £17 8s, or ¼ d less than the expenditure. Provost Martin, who was in the chair, thanked the ladies for the sacrifice they had made from week to week in this labour of love. A very appreciative reference was also made to the services of Treasurer Thomson.

Skipper Cunningham of the “Seagull,” of Cellardyke, reported that, in tacking for Shields in the end of the-week, he espied a derelict schooner 85 miles from Tynemouth, and about a hundred miles from the May. It was a mournful sight—masts and bulwarks being gone. The hull rose and fell like a coffin in the surf, without a sign of life on the deck ; and, though the boat was steered does to the taffrail, no name or device was to be seen though it was evident from her paint, &c., that the vessel belonged to a foreign port. From its situation, the wreck was the cause, of no little peril, especially after nightfall, to vessels sailing along the coast. According to the latest advices, she is fast drifting to the north, as she was seen on Monday little more than thirty miles from the May full in the track of ships on their way to and from the Firth.

It is expected that the boats at present going to the deep-sea fishing will leave off next week, and make preparations for Shetland. About 100 boats from Cellardyke will be engaged at Shetland, so that very few will be left at home in the course of three weeks.

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