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TITLE
The Battle of Strome Pier (1 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_JOHNTHOMAS_07
PLACENAME
Strome Ferry
DISTRICT
South West Ross
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Lochalsh
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
John Thomas
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2069
KEYWORDS
Highland Railway
railways
transport
battles
disputes
riots
Sabbatarians
Sabbath
religion
audio

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The Dingwall and Skye Railway was opened in 1870 but only went as far as Strome Ferry on Loch Carron. It would be another twenty-seven years before the railway reached the terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. In this audio extract, John Thomas (1914-1982), one of Britain's leading railway historians, relates the story of 'The Battle of Strome Pier'. The recording was made on board a special excursion train to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1973.

Exactly ninety years ago this weekend [June, 1883] an extraordinary incident took place at Strome Ferry. This has come to be known as 'The Battle of Strome Pier'. In those days, the fishing grounds off the west coast were extremely rich but the west coast fishermen refused to fish them on a Saturday because that meant that the fish would have to be landed at Strome on a Sunday, and they refused on religious grounds to work on a Sunday. The east coast men, who came round occasionally to the west coast fishing grounds, had no such scruples and they made a habit of coming into Strome on a Sunday and unloading the fish which was despatched from Strome round about four o'clock in the afternoon, to get the London market the next morning. Well, in June 1863, 1883, sorry, three fishing boats arrived at Strome on the second Saturday evening and began to unload. The unloading continued all day Sunday, and about mid-afternoon, men began to appear coming down the hills and across the lochs on boats, and these proved to be west coast fishermen out to prevent the transfer of fish at Strome pier. They wrecked the cranes. They stoned the station staff of twenty, and caused a general riot.

The stationmaster became alarmed; there was only policeman in this whole district and he was fourteen miles away. The station - the line superintendent, the Highland Railway line superintendent at Inverness, was told by telegraph about what was happening and he asked for policemen to be sent from Inverness, and he also asked for the army to be sent. The telegram calling out the army, in fact, asked for 'a detachment of bayonets'. The army was not sent but six policemen came out from Inverness. They could do nothing at Strome; the place was firmly in the hands of the west coast fishermen. One newspaper report describes how men coming out from evening church services went into the woods and cut branches with which to belay the railway people, and their womenfolk went home and put on their aprons and filled them with stones, and they also turned up at Strome Station to beat off the invaders

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The Battle of Strome Pier (1 of 2)

ROSS: Lochalsh

1980s; 1990s

Highland Railway; railways; transport; battles; disputes; riots; Sabbatarians; Sabbath; religion; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Dingwall & Skye Railway

The Dingwall and Skye Railway was opened in 1870 but only went as far as Strome Ferry on Loch Carron. It would be another twenty-seven years before the railway reached the terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. In this audio extract, John Thomas (1914-1982), one of Britain's leading railway historians, relates the story of 'The Battle of Strome Pier'. The recording was made on board a special excursion train to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1973.<br /> <br /> Exactly ninety years ago this weekend [June, 1883] an extraordinary incident took place at Strome Ferry. This has come to be known as 'The Battle of Strome Pier'. In those days, the fishing grounds off the west coast were extremely rich but the west coast fishermen refused to fish them on a Saturday because that meant that the fish would have to be landed at Strome on a Sunday, and they refused on religious grounds to work on a Sunday. The east coast men, who came round occasionally to the west coast fishing grounds, had no such scruples and they made a habit of coming into Strome on a Sunday and unloading the fish which was despatched from Strome round about four o'clock in the afternoon, to get the London market the next morning. Well, in June 1863, 1883, sorry, three fishing boats arrived at Strome on the second Saturday evening and began to unload. The unloading continued all day Sunday, and about mid-afternoon, men began to appear coming down the hills and across the lochs on boats, and these proved to be west coast fishermen out to prevent the transfer of fish at Strome pier. They wrecked the cranes. They stoned the station staff of twenty, and caused a general riot. <br /> <br /> The stationmaster became alarmed; there was only policeman in this whole district and he was fourteen miles away. The station - the line superintendent, the Highland Railway line superintendent at Inverness, was told by telegraph about what was happening and he asked for policemen to be sent from Inverness, and he also asked for the army to be sent. The telegram calling out the army, in fact, asked for 'a detachment of bayonets'. The army was not sent but six policemen came out from Inverness. They could do nothing at Strome; the place was firmly in the hands of the west coast fishermen. One newspaper report describes how men coming out from evening church services went into the woods and cut branches with which to belay the railway people, and their womenfolk went home and put on their aprons and filled them with stones, and they also turned up at Strome Station to beat off the invaders