Museum marks 125th year of Gourdon surf boat Maggie Law

Maggie Law Maritime Museum in Gourdon has marked the 125th anniversary of the Gourdon surf boat, the Maggie Law.

Saturday, 4th April 2015, 8:58 pm
Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster visited Gourdon as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Maggie Law. The Provost was shown around the Maggie Law Maritime Museum before visiting the Gourdon Boat Building Shed and then going to Gourdon Primary School for a reception and presentation by pupils of their maritime heritage work. Provost Jill Webster, artist Jackie Niven and Inverbervie P.4 pupils Ben Lamb, Amelie Jackson, Freya Hogg and Jamie Burness pictured with the artwork for the new plaque commemorating all the Scotsmen who served on the Cutty Sark.

Provost Jill Webster, along with other guests, visited the museum on Monday.

The museum was first opened in 1997 and provides an insight into the rich maritime heritage of Gourdon and the Kincardineshire coastline.

The central exhibit is the surf boat the Maggie Law, built in 1890 by James (Jeems) Mowatt, a local boat builder, and named after the daughter of local fish merchant, Tom Law.

“Jeems” also built two boats by commission, and to the design of Hercules Linton, Inverbervie’s famous son, and designer of the famous Cutty Sark. Linton personally supervised the building of the two boats at the Gourdon boatyard.

The Provost also visited the Old Boatshed in Gourdon, for a guided tour by a boat building volunteer, to see the revival and progress of a St Ayle’s skiff being built by community volunteers, for the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project.

The Maggie Law was commissioned by the fishermen of Gourdon who each paid a penny in the pound from their catch for the building and maintenance of the boat.

Thirty feet in length, with a beam of six feet and rowed by six men, this is the first example of an inshore rescue lifeboat.

The Maggie Law was in service from 1890 – 1930.

In a proud record of forty years of service, she saved thirty six lives.

As part of the visit by the Provost, a reception for guests was held at Gourdon primary school, where pupils have been involved in two major projects sponsored by the Museum.

They have produced a wide variety of educational activities, and produced songs and poetry for a CD “Tales of the Sea and the Maggie Law” for fund raising purposes, and have been commended by the then First Minister, Alex Salmond, for their contribution to the heritage of their community.

A new museum-sponsored project will commence this month with pupils taking part in the production and filming of an educational heritage documentary, about the past and present fishing industry in Gourdon.

Headteacher Angela Wells said: “Gourdon Primary School is very proud to continue to work together with the museum through past and future projects. Our pupils value their heritage and are enthusiastic to learn from members of their community.

‘‘ Through working in partnership with The Maggie Law Museum, our pupils will continue to have the opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge across a wide range of curricular areas resulting in enhancing their skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work.”

At the reception, the Provost met a wide range of people associated with the development of the museum, and other related community activities.

Project Director Dave Ramsay said “This is a significant celebration of a rich piece of Gourdon history, and the 125th anniversary of the Maggie Law, serves to remind the community of the rich maritime heritage of Gourdon and Kincardineshire.”

“It is a real measure of civic pride in the village, that we can celebrate 125 years of a truly remarkable boat and story.’’

Anyone who can volunteer to spare a few hours to staff the Museum, or support the Committee, should contact Jacky Niven as the initial contact on 01561 – 361871 or [email protected]