Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - letter from British Railways, 1953
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_DAVIDBANKS_117
DATE OF IMAGE
6 August 1953
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
1457
KEYWORDS
fishing industry
commercial fishing
salmon fishing
trout fishing
net fishing
rail companies
British Railways
West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - letter from British Railways, 1953

This letter was sent to James Banks in Portree after Banks notified British Rail that a shipment of fish had gone missing in transit. Although not a regular occurrence, this did happen from time to time. Items were usually sent by steamer from Portree then put on the goods train from Kyle of Lochalsh or Mallaig to Inverness, Glasgow and points beyond. The usual practice was for Banks to send a telegram to the recipient, notifying them that the goods had left Portree. In turn, when fish were received, a telegram would be sent back confirming all was in order.

Other correspondence shows that this particular shipment was bound for Barbour & Son Ltd of Billingsgate Market, London. Apparently, a telegram had been sent on the morning the fish were despatched but there was no response saying it hadn't arrived at the destination. The West Highland Salmon Fisheries then made it clear that they would be holding Barbour responsible if British Rail complained about the delay in reporting this missing shipment. However, after correspondence between all the parties, British Rail sent a cheque in full settlement to West Highland Salmon Fisheries as compensation.


West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd
In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree.

When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired.

The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots.

The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957.


This image may be available to purchase.
For further information about purchasing and prices please email
Skye and Lochalsh Archives

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - letter from British Railways, 1953

1950s

fishing industry; commercial fishing; salmon fishing; trout fishing; net fishing; rail companies; British Railways

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd (documents)

This letter was sent to James Banks in Portree after Banks notified British Rail that a shipment of fish had gone missing in transit. Although not a regular occurrence, this did happen from time to time. Items were usually sent by steamer from Portree then put on the goods train from Kyle of Lochalsh or Mallaig to Inverness, Glasgow and points beyond. The usual practice was for Banks to send a telegram to the recipient, notifying them that the goods had left Portree. In turn, when fish were received, a telegram would be sent back confirming all was in order. <br /> <br /> Other correspondence shows that this particular shipment was bound for Barbour & Son Ltd of Billingsgate Market, London. Apparently, a telegram had been sent on the morning the fish were despatched but there was no response saying it hadn't arrived at the destination. The West Highland Salmon Fisheries then made it clear that they would be holding Barbour responsible if British Rail complained about the delay in reporting this missing shipment. However, after correspondence between all the parties, British Rail sent a cheque in full settlement to West Highland Salmon Fisheries as compensation.<br /> <br /> <br /> <b>West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd</b><br /> In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree. <br /> <br /> When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired. <br /> <br /> The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots. <br /> <br /> The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>