Fraserburgh

The town of Fraserburgh has a population of about 12,400 people. The main industries are fishing and fish processing, and consequently the town's prosperity is directly linked to the success of the fishing and is afflicted by a cycle of prosperity and poverty as catches of fish increase and decrease in response to fluctuations in the marine environment, and the effects of harvesting.

Fraserburgh went through a huge expansion during the herring-boom times of the late nineteenth century, the harbour being extended to eight basins over a distance of about half a mile, the town itself expanding to the south and west; and much of the most prominent architecture reflects the opulent confidence of the late Victorian to Edwardian eras. The town was thriving in the early 19th century, as recorded by Pratt (1858) and already Saltoun Square had acquired the major buildings that survive to this day, but wealth and granite give the later buildings a distinction that gives Fraserburgh a unique quality. The public buildings, including schools and churches were often built in the grandest scale, many from finely cut granite, many incorporating Scottish baronial features such as crow-stepped gables and candle-snuffer turrets. The commercial architecture is on the same scale, with many exuberant buildings, splendid above the ground-floor fašades which have been replaced, in many fine buildings, by inferior shop-fronts and indifferent signage.

Much of the domestic architecture, from single-storey cottages to opulent suburban villas, is distinguished by the use of finely cut granite ashlar decorated with cherry-cocking, and to the south and west of the city there are several streets of handsome granite villas, working energetically the same vocabulary of vernacular architecture with Scottish baronial features, and with roofscapes spikey with decorative cast-iron.

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(The 6th of 14 pages. Revision date: Friday 16th March 2012)

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