The Trade of Dysart Harbour

The Rev. George Muirhead, a local minister, gave a vivid picture in the Old Statistical Account of 1792 of the huge scale of the harbour's cosmopolitan trade, both in the large number of vessels and men involved and also the variety of cargoes going in and out. "There are 23 square-rigged vessels and two sloops belonging to Dysart, measuring 4,075 tons, value 30,000, and employing 249 men," he wrote.

"There is not trade from this port to employ this shipping. They are mostly in the carrying trade, going out in ballast, or loaded with coals, and bringing home wood and other articles from the Baltick to Leith and other ports.

"A few of them trade from London, Liverpool and other English ports, to the Mediterranean, West Indies and America. Three of them are at present in Government service as armed ships, and one as a tender. As to foreign exports and imports from and to Dysart annually, there were exported4,584 tons of coal, chiefly to Copenhagen, Gothenburgh and the ports of Holland. Imported from Easterizer, Christiansand, Dantzick, Hamburgh and Bremen, about fourteen cargoes of wood. From Rotterdam, Campvere, Hamburgh and Dantzick, two or three cargoes of other goods(timber, wine, iron, flax, linseed oil, tallow, apples, onions, beer, books, oak bark, linen and yarn).

"Goods sent coastways annually are 2,080 tons of iron stone to Carron works, 3,583 tons of coal to Dundee Perth, Montrose, Aberdeen etc., 1500 bushels salt to Aberdeen and Inverness, 160 bales of cloth to Leith.

"Imported from Aberdeen tiles, bricks, cheese and butter; from Johnshaven, some cargoes of dried fish. This coasting trade is carried on in small vessels."

A busy Dysart Harbour from c. 1880 showing a number of Danish ships.

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