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Cockenzie and Port Seton

East Lothian

Cockenzie Harbour
©2019 Gazetteer for Scotland

Cockenzie Harbour

Located on the Forth coast, between Prestonpans and Longniddry. Cockenzie and Port Seton are combined burghs with long traditions of fishing. Cockenzie in particular was a fishing and whaling centre with a harbour built in the early 17th Century. Port Seton is now a holiday resort, but was traditionally a fishing and salt making village with the latter declining by the mid-19th century. Fishing and mining still take place in the area and much of the coal fuels the 1200 megawatt Cockenzie Power Station, built in 1962 with two 152-m (500-foot) chimneys. Coal has long been important to the local economy and Cockenzie may have had the earliest railway ever when a wooden wagonway using horsepower was built in 1722 to transport coal.

Much 18th-century economic development was initiated by the Cadell family, especially John Cadell who lived in Cockenzie House, built in the late 17th century by the Winton estate. Nearby stands Seton Collegiate Church (14th C.), and Seton House (1791, by Robert Adam) which is on the site of the razed 16th-century Seton Palace where Mary Stuart stayed soon after her husband Darnley was killed.

Box-Meeting Day is an annual festival held here on the third Friday of September, celebrating the traditional return of the fishermen from their summer journeys.

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