Round about the Round-O 1880. Arbroath's yesteryear in print
 

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THE STORY OF ARBROATH
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Arbroath, a fishing town on the east coast of Scotland, is located about 17 miles north of Dundee and 50 miles south of Aberdeen. For generations the town has earned its livelihood from the sea, and remains today an important fishing port as well as being known worldwide for its unique place in Scottish history. A long established holiday resort, Arbroath continues to attract visitors from near and far.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, like many other coastal towns in Scotland, Arbroath's fishing industry relied heavily on the prolific herring shoals which made an impressive appearance every season. Fishing boats crowded the harbour, where "fishing lassies" gutted the newly caught herring before they were cured with salt into wooden barrels for export, often to ports in the Baltic.

The town has also become renowned worldwide for its Arbroath Smokies, which for generations have been smoked over oak chips in tiny smokehouses around the harbour. History tells us that the 'Smokie' most likely originated in the tiny fishing village of Auchmithie, 3 miles north of the town, perched unbelievably high on the cliffs and practically tumbling into the North Sea. The stretch of coast to the north east is not only renowned for its caves, such as the Forbidden Cave and Dickmont's Den, but also its tales of smugglers.

As well as the thriving fishing industry, Arbroath was busy in the flax trade. The Brothock Burn not only provided the power to drive the many flax mills which had sprung up along its banks but was also a source of drainage for the town. In fact the name of Arbroath (Aberbrothock) was originally taken from this hard working little river.

The town of Arbroath has a unique place in Scottish history as it is home to the famous Tironensian monastery - The Arbroath Abbey - the ruins of which dominate the town's skyline with its circular window known for centuries as the 'Round O'. In days gone by this window was illuminated at night as a beacon for mariners, to help guide them into port.

It was in this Abbey that an event took place which is held dear in the hearts of Scots at home and abroad, the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath. The year was 1320 when the Scottish King Robert the Bruce witnessed the famous document being signed, establishing Scotland's independence from England's rule. The Arbroath Abbey is one of the most historically important buildings in Scotland and in 1951 the Stone of Destiny found a temporary home there.


SCOTLAND

Detailed antique map of Scotland engraved for the Encyclopedia Londinensis

This republished detailed antique map of Scotland with added highlights from
John Adam's series of Arbroath engravings is available to purchase from our print shop.

Map originally engraved for the Encyclopedia Londinensis, 1827
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