From Ship To Shore

From Ship to Shore

Crail mainly owes its existence to the sea. Its bays and harbours provide safe havens for boats whether for fishing, trading or leisure. In this new exhibition we look at these aspects and also some related activities.

Until the beginning of the 16th Century the produce of the sea went mainly to the Dutch fishers. Herring must be processed within 48 hours of the catch and Crail was a centre for curing and preparation, however it soon operated its own “crears”. Fortunes and herring shoals fluctuated in succeeding centuries and today only lobster and crab are caught.

Earliest mention of the Burgh’s trade dates from 1500 when the shipment of herring, cod and hides are noted being sent to Leith. Later, cured herring, skins and cloth was exported to England, France and the Baltic. Ships returned with flax, iron and timber as well as soap, loaf sugar and brandy. They also brought craftsmen who made their homes here.

Life at sea can be hazardous and some of the items from wrecks can be seen in our exhibition together with awards to people involved with the Rescue Services. There are many wrecks around our coast and many attempts have been made to warn mariners of the rocks and reefs at Fife Ness. Lighthouses, beacons and a Lightship have all been tried.

We have many interesting and diverse items in our exhibition. There are the Signal Flags from the SS Mars which was wrecked on the Isle of May and an image of a 17th Century Mariner with a Backstaff. This is the only surviving relic of the Trade Lofts which used to be in the Parish Church.

Come and see a rare medal awarded to Alexander Watson of Fifeness at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar and come and see the light that despite wind and water doesn’t extinguish!

We look forward to welcoming you.

HMS Pathfinder

Wreck Service Shield

Please note that this Exhibition is on the first floor of the Museum accessed only by stairs.