Industry

Industry

After the declaration of War it was important that industry quickly resumed in Aberdeen. This was because the stoppage of trade would impact Aberdeen’s commercial position and affect people across the country if they did not receive supplies from Aberdeen. A prohibition order was issued at the harbour forbidding the exportation of goods which may be helpful to the enemy. This resulted in a decrease in exports which damaged industry in Aberdeen. A week after the declaration of War the people of Aberdeen began "to realise what war means to the city. It has involved complete dislocation of the fishing industry. Although the city is famed for its granite, much of its prosperity depends upon the harvest of the sea."

The Admiralty issued an order against fishing and no vessels were allowed to leave the harbour immediately after the declaration of the War. The suspension of the fishing industry seriously affected Aberdeen. By 12 August 1914, fishing vessels were allowed to go out to sea but did so at their own risk and were uninsured. They had to follow restrictions, such as the trawlers had to remain in sight of land and return to the port before nightfall.  In Aberdeen "local insurance companies have notified all the local trawl owners that they have decided to take no risks for a fortnight. This means that any vessels which do go to sea go uninsured and entirely at their own risk."

Approximately 15,000 workers in Aberdeen were affected by the declaration of War. This included "skippers, fishermen, deck-hands, engineers, firemen, and cooks on trawlers – in all numbering fully 3,000 – several hundred fish porters who assist in the discharge of the vessels, hundreds of carters, and some 4,000 fish workers." Other workers who were associated with the fishing industry such as trimmers, ice workers, railway workers, casual labourers, shop assistants and clerks were also affected. Families who depended on the fishing industry lost their main source of income and found it difficult to afford to live soon after War was declared. This was because they had little money and the price of food and basic supplies was increasing. On 15 August 1914, the herring fishing industry had come to a standstill as fish could no longer be transported to Germany and Russia. The termination of a successful industry at the height of the herring season seriously affected Peterhead and the people who lived there. However, more trawlers were beginning to leave Aberdeen at their own risk, allowing the future of the fishing industry to look more optimistic.

Many industries such as farming and granite quarrying were affected by the War, as several men working in these trades offered their services to the military. These industries had a shortage of workers and this resulted in a lack of goods being produced; therefore they received a lower income. This damaged Aberdeen’s commercial position and impacted many people when they did not receive supplies from Aberdeen.

Holiday resorts in north-east Scotland were affected by the War, especially in areas such as Deeside where tourists were heavily relied upon for income. The lack of tourists impacted many local businesses in these holiday resorts and some were forced to close. The declaration of War was announced in the height of the holiday season resulting in the tourism industry losing a large proportion of its yearly income.

The rise in the price of sugar was the main reason for the preserved fruit trade being seriously affected by the War, as the preserved fruits were becoming more expensive to produce. People were unwilling to spend money on these luxuries; therefore the preserved fruits were sold at low prices.

Source: Carragh Rabbitte (Duke of Edinburgh volunteer with Aberdeen City Libraries).

The Aberdeen Journal, 5th August 1914
A settmaker at Persley Quarry
The Aberdeen Journal, 11th August 1914