James Bremner

1784 - 1856

Naval architect and engineer. Born at Stain, near Keiss in Caithness, Bremner took an apprenticeship in a Greenock ship-yard. He crossed the Atlantic twice before returning to the east coast of Caithness and settling in Pulteneytown. He took charge of a nearby ship-yard and was responsible for designing and building a large number of vessels over a period of fifty years. Also a noted salvage expert, Bremner refloated 236 sunken or stranded ships, including Brunel's famous steam-ship Great Britain which had run aground in Dundrum Bay, Ireland.

In addition, he was an effective civil engineer, responsible for eighteen harbours or breakwaters on the Moray Firth coast, including Keiss, Lossiemouth and Wick. He had designed a new type of crane and an improved pile-driver to facilitate these works.

He is remembered by an obelisk above Wick Harbour, which extols his virtues as a genius.

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