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Peterhead

(The Bloo Toon)
Aberdeenshire

Town Seal of the Burgh of Peterhead
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Town Seal of the Burgh of Peterhead

A fishing port and resort town on the North Sea coast of Aberdeenshire, situated on a peninsula at the most easterly point of the Scottish mainland, 32 miles (51 km) north of Aberdeen. Known as The Bloo Toon from the blue stockings traditionally worn by local fishermen, those born here are referred to as Bloo Tooners or Bloo Mogganers. Largely built of distinctive red granite which was quarried locally, the town was founded by George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal following the granting of a charter creating a burgh of barony in 1593.

Until then, the only settlement in existence had been the fishing village of Keith-Inch (Caikinche), situated on an island separated from the mainland by a narrow channel that was filled in with stones in 1739 to create a causeway known as the Queenzie. Peterhead became an important whaling centre, then a major herring port and today it is Europe's leading whitefish port with capacity for a fleet of some 300 vessels. It is also a service base for the North Sea oil industry and has a heliport to the west at Longside. The port's south harbour was built in 1773 by the engineer John Smeaton (1724-94) and the north harbour begun in 1818 after designs by Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834). In 1850 a canal was created across the peninsula linking the two harbours so that boats could be moved when one or other harbour was windbound.

Towards the end of the 18th Century Peterhead became a fashionable spa, its Wine Well and other springs attracting people to the town. Peterhead Academy was founded in 1846 and now claims to be Scotland's largest school in terms of physical floor-area. The Sheriff Court on Queen Street was built in 1870. The Arbuthnot Museum tells the story of the town's fishing and whaling industries and includes important collections of Arctic artefacts and coins. Peterhead Golf Club was founded in 1841 and claims to be the 18th oldest in the world. It maintains 9 and 18-hole golf courses on Craigewan Links. A lifeboat station was first established here in 1865, while Peterhead Sailing Club operates from the marina in Peterhead Bay and awards the Bloo Toon Trophy to the winner of an annual schools regatta. Peterhead Football Club was founded in 1891 and now plays at Balmoor Stadium.

HMP & YOI Grampian opened in the town in 2014, replacing the notorious Peterhead Prison (1888).

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