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Shining a Light on Arbroath’s Fishing Heritage

The transformation of lighthouse keepers’ cottages will shine a light on Arbroath’s fishing heritage.

The cottages at the Signal Tower Museum in Arbroath have been turned into attractive exhibition areas, creating significant new public spaces.

The Spotlight on Arbroath’s Fishing Heritage project opened on Saturday with a performance by accomplished singer-songwriter Dave Ramsay, who premiered a new song, especially written for the event.

The new spaces explore the rich fishing history of Angus and the new exhibitions are also family-friendly, with audio-visual elements including quizzes and games for children.

The development at the Signal Tower Museum consists of a gallery with a reconstructed interior of a fishing boat, a gallery housing a fleet of ship models and a temporary exhibition gallery in one cottage as well as a fishing and maritime industry gallery and general purpose activity space in the other cottage.

Part of the project included inviting local Arbroath people connected to the fishing industry to tell their stories and recording interviews with them.

Many locals have fishing in their blood – either originating in the traditional fishing villages of Auchmithie or Ferryden, as fishing boat owners operating off the Angus coast or by involvement in preparation of the fish on land.

The initial exhibition in the new gallery space is comprised of the work of Jonathan Ogilvie, a local photographer who used his camera to record the lives and work of Arbroath fishermen and Bell Rock Lighthouse keepers.

The works include a selection of Jonathan’s local fishing industry photographs, showing the reality of life at sea and bringing home the catch to Arbroath.

This project has been part-funded by NE Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group, supported by funding from Museums Galleries Scotland, Arbroath Common Good Fund and Angus Alive.

Kirsty Hunter, chief executive officer of Angus Alive, said: “As a charitable trust, we rely on the support of external funders to enable us to deliver on our ambition to provide innovative and inspiring experiences for the people of Angus and visitors.

“We’re very grateful for the support of our partners NE Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group, Museums Galleries Scotland and Arbroath Common Good Fund that has allowed us to create this stimulating new heritage asset for our Arbroath communities.”

The project is the first phase of Angus Alive’s plans to further develop Arbroath’s Signal Tower Museum into a flagship visitor destination.

Future proposed phases include capital works to allow regular opening of the tower for booked tours, and redevelopment of the courtyard and front garden to create multi-purpose community-use outdoor spaces with areas for retail and café space.

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