Lossiemouth Heritage

Heritage
Welcome to the heritage section, below is a brief history of Lossiemouth, for further details click on the more info link.
Lossiemouth owes its existence to Elgin's need for a seaport through which its trade could pass. The town was formed by the combination of three villages: Lossiemouth, Branderburgh and Stotfield.
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The Harbours


Harbours
Lossiemouth Harbours
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The first harbour at Lossiemouth was started in 1699 by a German engineer, Peter Brauss, at the mouth of the river Lossie near to where the East and West piers stand today. The first efforts at the beginning of the 18th Century looked to have failed but the new jetty had been built by 1764 at approximately £1200 (approx £128,000 today).
A new Company took over the harbour, The Stotfield Harbour Company, formed by the merchant traders of Elgin. The company, later renamed "The Elgin & Lossiemouth Harbour Company", built a new harbour from the rocks at Stotfield Point between 1837 and 1839. The beginning of the building process was marked by a ceremony and reported in the Inverness Courier as follows:- "The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the inner basin of the new harbour at Stotfield Point, Lossiemouth, took place on the 15th inst [June]. The stone was laid by Lieut. Colonel James Brander of Pitgaveny, the proprietor of the site, with the assistance of the Trinity Lodge of Freemasons, and in presence of the Chairman and shareholders of the Harbour Company, and representatives of the burgh of Elgin."
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The Stotfield Disaster


Stotfield Memorial
Stotfield Memorial
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Stotfield was a small village/settlement to the West of Lossiemouth. On 25th December 1806 the village lost its entire fleet of three fishing boats in a violent storm. Each Skaffie boat had a crew of seven.
The morning has been fair when the boats set sail for the fishing ground just a mile or two off-shore. However, the weather took a dramatic turn for the worse and violent winds from the South West blew the boats away from land and down the Firth.
The boats were overcome by the violence of the storm and the village lost all of its able bodied men and youths in one afternoon. The boats and men which had the shoreline in their view were never seen again.
The village was left with 17 widows, 47 orphaned children and 2 old men. A record of the disaster and memorial to those who died is contained in Lossiemouth Fisheries Museum.
Stotfield never recovered from the disaster and no fishing boats have since set sail on Christmas Day. There is also a memorial in granite at West Beach to this tragedy.
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The Railway

The Opening Ceremony

Lossiemouth Railway Opening Ceremony
Opening of Lossiemouth Terminus 1852
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The idea of constructing a railway from Elgin to Lossiemouth was first considered in 1841 by James Grant, an Elgin solicitor who owned, with his brother, the Glen Grant distillery at Rothes, railway mania was in the process of sweeping the country at this time. However, it was not until Elgin Town Council agreed to invest and Colonel Brander of Pitgaveny agreed to invest inmore shares that the contract for the Elgin to Lossiemouth section was placed.
Hutchings & Co were awarded the contract and the first sod was cut at Bareflathills just outside Elgin near the River Lossie by the wife of James Grant on Saturday, 30 November 1851.
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James Ramsay MacDonald

Prime Minister 1924, 1929 - 1935

James Ramsay MacDonald
Famous Lossimouth Son
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Lossiemouth’s most famous resident was Ramsay MacDonald the first Labour Prime Minister.
James Ramsay Macdonald was born 12th October 1866 in Lossiemouth, Scotland, son of a ploughman and a serving girl. While his future fellow parliamentarians were at Eton or Oxford, James lived with his mother, and attended a local free school run by the Church of Scotland.
Moving permanently to England in 1886 there was a series of clerical jobs, with study in the evenings. In 1893 the Independent Labour Party was formed in Bradford with Keir Hardie as its leader. Macdonald ended a brief interest in the Liberal Party and joined the Labour Party in Bradford, soon becoming a member of its national council.
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Lossiemouth East Quarry


East Quarry

A quarry on the east side of town was found to contain a large variety of fossil reptiles, five species being unique to Lossiemouth.
Lossiemouth East Quarry is a large section of yellow and grey sandstones of the “Lossiemouth Sandstone Formation”. The quarry was worked from the 1790’s and was used to produce stone for local building, including Branderburgh and probably the harbour.
It was designated a SSSI during a Geological Conservation Review (GCR) that was completed in 1989. The fossils were originally thought to be fish remains and tortoise tracks but after much debate amongst the Victorian scientists as to the date of these fossils, they were eventually recognised as reptiles from the Triassic period.
Lossiemouth East Quarry is one of Britain's most important vertebrate fossil localities, yielding eighty fossils of eight different species from the Triassic Period (225 million years ago). Of the six types of fossils discovered, five are unique to Lossiemouth, including Saltopus, Britain’s oldest dinosaur, the fossils of which are on display at the Natural History Museum in London.
Further information on the fossils found in this and other SSSIs in the Elgin area can be found at Elgin Museum.
Visit www.elginmuseum.org.uk for more information.