A Fishing Harbour

A Fishing Harbour - extract from Colin Martin’s Collection 1985

Johnshaven lies nine miles north of Montrose. In 1722 it had 26 fishing boats, but accidents and the press gang reduced this to five by 1776 and by the 1790s to only one.

In the 1790s it had a small wharf, but the harbour was not considered safe, and some boats were kept at Montrose. In 1793 12 ships totalling 475 tons were operating from Johnshaven, either fishing or importing coal and exporting grain.

By around 1840 fishing was in decline, and the coast was too rocky for salmon stake-nets, but three sloops continued to be engaged in coastal trade.

A new harbour was built in 1884 at a cost of over £4000. By the 1890s a brewery and a sailcloth factory had been established. From 1891 to 1928 Johnshaven also had a coastguard station and a lifeboat station.