Eyemouth is a charming harbour town in Scotlandís Borders area. The people are friendly and willing to share their knowledge about the town with you. A good place to start a visit is at the Eyemouth museum where you can learn about the background of the area and the town.
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There are interesting information boards and artefacts from past occupations of the way of life of the people. These include farming, water milling, blacksmithing, wheelwrighting, and fishing. Homes and customs are also highlighted.
Fishing for both haddock and cod was a hard life for the women as well as the men. The women collected mussels to bait the lines which had up to a thousand hooks each. This took two hours. If the tide was out the women carried the men on their backs out to their boats to keep their feet dry during the long hours at sea. The nets were kept afloat with inflated bladders from sheep. Fish were stored in barrels made by coopers. In 1906 48,000 barrels of herring were exported from Eyemouth. Locals made sails and nets for the industry by hand.
A 15 x 4 foot Eyemouth Tapestry relates to an 1881 fishing disaster. In 1891 a railway was completed to Eyemouth allowing the fish to be sent as far away as London. A side effect of the railway was it opened up Eyemouth as a seaside holiday destination.
Farming was a necessary occupation. Livestock included sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, poultry and goats. Most households had their own cow to supply milk and butter, but small dairies provided for the needs of those without one. Blacksmiths and wheelwrights were kept busy supplying the local needs.
A second stop in Eyemouth is the Maritime Centre. (sadly now closed). The centre is home to a collection of historic and ethnic boats. There are interactive displays and changing exhibitions. Maritime themes are put on show and include smuggling.
On the other side of the harbour is Gunsgreen House, a 250 year old house now restored. It was home to smuggler John Nisbet, a local merchant. Perched high on the hillside the owner could watch the comings and goings of the boats as well as provide a space for small boats to pull up from the beach and unload their contraband after which it was hidden in the cellars. There was a secret tea/tobacco chute. It started in the loft and ended on the ground floor. Of special note is the parlourís blue panelling. Ironically the house later belonged to a minister. He created a Regency dining room. In the house are historic wallpapers.
Eyemouth has banks, a market, eating places and other amenities for tourists.
Auld Kirk, Manse Rd, Eyemouth, on the A1107
Tel: 018907 50678
Open: April-end Sep, Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm
TIC in the building
Gunsgreen House Museum
Tel. 0 1890 752 062
Open: April-end Oct, daily, 11am-5pm, last entry 4pm
Special childrenís activities; also has a self catering apartment on 2nd floor
Web: Gunsgreen House