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Russian Flax/Hemp Bale Seals

from Arbroath & District, Scotland

including Arbroath Signal Tower Museum

(70 seals found to date with 6 seals awaiting upload as of 5th January 2019)

 

     

    About PeaceHavens - This database is an ongoing project involving the daily finding and identification of Russian Lead Flax Bale Seals from the old disused 18th/19th century Flax Mills of the Industrial Revolution in the UK.     For many decades in the 18th & 19th centuries, Russia was by far the world's greatest exporter of these flax stems via Archangel, St Petersburg, Kronstadt, Narva, Riga, Libau, Memel, Konigsberg, Pilau, Pernau, Revel, and Tilsit and Great Britain was Russia's major customer.. Every bale of flax stems was fastened together with a lead seal by a quality control inspector. The discarded stems of the flax with seals still attached were prized as fertilizer by farmers and were spread onto the land mixed with night soil manure.

Russian Lead Flax/Hemp Bale Seals from

Arbroath, Scotland

   The Harbour at Arbroath originally built by the Abbot of the Abbey was one of the keys to prosperity for the town when the processing of flax came along and trade between the Baltic Ports developed. The River Brothock on which the town stands and got its name eventually provided the flowing water for the many huge mills which sprang up producing textiles, principally coarse linen (Osnaburg*) and with the advent of steam the flax industry grew until in 1817 the Arbroath was Scotland’s biggest sailcloth producer.   *Osnaburg was a coarse type of plain fabric, originally made from flax yarns, it has also been made from tow or jute yarns, and from flax or tow warp with a mixed or jute weft, the finer and better qualities form a kind of common sheeting. It began to be woven in Scotland in the later 1730s as an imitation of an imported German fabric from Osnabrück and was a coarse lint or tow-based linen cloth. It quickly became the most important variety in east-central Scotland and Arbroath exported mainly to England, the Netherlands, and Britain's colonies in America, Some rough fabrics were called osnaburg as late as the twenty first century.  In the Atlantic plantation complex, prior to the abolition of slavery, Osnaburg was the fabric most often used for slave garments and every wagon used to cross the plains by settlers had double Osnaburg covers, to protect its contents from the sun and weather.  History:- scroll down to the bottom of the page for a very informative article on the shipbuilding and trade in Arbroath

 

Lead Flax Bale Seals from Baltic States

There are more Baltic States seals on the other sites

 

Merchants lost faith in the grading of

flax and hemp from the Baltic States

 and arranged a new system in 1829 ..

 seemingly solving the problem but

this too finally collapsed around 1850

with no further seals to be found.

However faith in Archangel grading

was high and the port seals continued

well until the end of the century.

So unfortunately of the 20,000 tons

of flax and hemp imported into the

port of Arbroath in 1881-82 from

the Baltic States none had seals ..

but we did find 2 from Archangel,

with more out there to be found.

 

Flax, Hemp & Tow Imports

for Arbroath 1881 - 1882

(From Arbroath Harbour: Imports and Exports 1881-83)

imported from

type

tons

seals

Riga
Riga
Riga

flax

hemp

tow

13,505

   369

   111

none

Pernau

Pernau

flax

tow

 1,815

   131

none

St Petersburg

St Petersburg

flax

tow

 1,953

    97

none

Cronstadt

flax

   436

none

Reval

Reval

flax

tow

   860

   226

none

Memel

Memel

flax

tow

   818

     1

none

Narva

Narva

flax

tow

   200

     1

none

Konigsberg

Konigsberg

flax

hemp

   157

    27

none

Libau

flax

   194

none

Archangel

Archangel

flax

tow

   604

   369

2

 

 

Modern Cyrillic Alphabet

 

A=A,  B=V,  Б=B,   C=S,

Ч=CH, Д=D,   E=A,  И=E,

Ё=O,  Э=EH,  Ф=F,  Г=G,

H=N, K=K,  Л=L,  M=M,

O=O, Ө=F,Th.  П=P, Р=R,

Ж=ZH,  Ш=SH,  Щ=SHCH,

T=T,  Ц=TS,  У=U,  Ю=YU,

Я= YA, ѣ=YE,  Х= KH,

З = Z,  Ы = Y,  Ь Ъ=' "

 

 

Inspectors and Posts

for Arbroath

 

Names and dates in purple

are from Arbroath

 

  Ashchnikov     180?   17

  Chernikov.A    183?   26

  Cherntsov      1777  231

  Chupyatov.T    1828  107

  Davydov.P      1822   17

  Eremeev.I.M    1838   41

  Filatov.S      183?    2

  Grudinin       181-    8

  IZ             1845    2

  Kartsov.A      1807   25

  Kazlov.A       183?   46

  Kladukhin.I    1821  122

  Korolev.E.B    1820   40

  Kostin.I       1788   11

  Kostin.L       182?  122

  Lobkov.L       18??    8

  Mesnikov.T     1836   40

  Orekhov        1785  114

  Pikin.M        1797   35

  Pogankin.L     1840   27

  Plotnikov.Mat  1851 Arch

  Shchogolev.P   180?   64

  Simanov.K      1788   77

  Sobinchov.?    1835   5-

  Sobo'yanov.P   1833   3-

  Taropchinov.M  1834   14

  Taropchinov.M  1???   11

  Vinnikov.I.M   18?3   56

  Vinnikov.I     1817   20

  Volkov.A       1818    5

  Vorob'ev.A     182?   98

  Zhigachev.Ya   1816  100

   

 

 

Posts / Inspectors / #

for Folly Gill Mill

 

  Arch Mat.Plotnikov 1851#01

    2 S.Filatov     183?#03

    2 IZ            1845#01

    5 A.Volkov      1818#01

    8 Gruzinin      181-#04

    8 L.Lobkov      183?#C01

   11 I.Kostin      1788#01

   11 M.Taropchinov 182?#02

   14 M.Taropchinov 1834#S01

   17 Ashchnikov    180?#03

   17 P.Davydov     1822#01

   20 I.Vinnikov    1817#01

   25 A.Kartsov     1807#01

   26 A.Chernikov   183?#C01

   27 L.Pogankin    1840#C01

   3- P.Sobo'yanov  1833#S01

   35 M.Pikin       1797#01

   40 T.Mesnikov    1836#C01

   40 E.B.Korolev   1820#01

   41 I.M.Eremeev   1838#C01

   46 A.Kazlov      183?#C04

   5- ?.Sobinchov   1835#C01

   56 I.M.Vinnikov  180?#02

   64 P.Shchogolev  180?#01

   72 ?.Vorob'ev    1834#02

   77 K.Simanov     1788#02

   98 A.Vorob'ev    182?#01

  100 Ya.Zhigachev  1816#01

  107 T.Chupyatov   1828#01

  114 Orekhov       1785#01

  122 I.Kladukhin   1821#01

  122 L.Kostin      182?#04

  231 Cherntsov     1777#01

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

How the seals got

into the fields

 

The discarded stalks of the flax with

a bale seal still attached were highly

 prized as fertilizer by local farmers

and they were spread on to the land

mixed in human & animal excrement.

 

 

------------------

 

All seals marked ADMUS are here

Arbroath Signal Tower Museum
Ladyloan, Arbroath, DD11 1PU
01241 435329

ArbroathMuseum@angusalive.scot

archive.angus.gov.uk/historyaa/museums/signaltower/

Signal Tower webcam

 

Arrivals at Arbroath from the Baltic

vessel

date

from

cargo

Bruce

06-09-1824

St Petersburg

Flax

Panmure

26-04-1831

Riga

Flax

Union

21-05-1831

Riga

Flax Hemp

Laurel

23-05-1831

Riga

Flax

Superior

24-05-1831

Riga

Flax

Clio

01-06-1831

Riga

Flax

Elizabeth

and Ann

10-06-1831

Leith and

Kirkcaldy

Tow

Ann

10-06-1831

Memel

Flax

Well Park

18-03-1893

Riga

Flax

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

Arb

+01

Cross quartered
+ shield with
-/-/4/4 pellets

CR

12

Baltic States
(flax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead Flax Bale Seals from Riga, Latvia

There are more Riga seals on the other sites

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

Arb

X01

+

 crossed keys

2

blank

Riga
(flax)

Arb

X02

+

 crossed keys

2

blank

Riga
(flax)

Arb
X03

X

crossed keys

1

no photo

blank

1 ADMUS:

A1988.287

Arb X04

no photo

РИЖ 1787 (Riga Arms)

no photo

blank

2 ADMUS:

A1988.288

Arb X05

no photo

+ / crossed keys / 1

no photo

blank

7 ADMUS:

A1988.294

Arb X06

no photo

+ / crossed keys / 3

no photo

blank

13  ADMUS:

A1988.301

Arb X07

no photo

+ / crossed keys / 2

no photo

blank

28  ADMUS:

A2000.87.3

Arb X08

no photo

+ / crossed keys / 1

no photo

blank

31  ADMUS:

A2003.53

Arb X09 

no photo

+ / crossed keys / 2

no photo

blank

39  ADMUS:

DBM.42179(a)

Arb

X10

+

 crossed keys

2

blank

Riga
(flax)

IDS 265

           
           
           

Archangel Manager Seals

APX  ПOP = ARCH POR = ARCHANGEL PORT

ДЕСЯТ (ДЕСЯТНИК) Manager in charge of ten people

  Most Bale Seals are 11-12 grams but Manager Seals are 23-24 grams

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

Arch

Arb01

ДЕСЯТ (Inspector)

 МАТ.ПЛОТНИКОВ

(MAT.PLOTNIKOV)

APX.БP
 ЧECKA (Cheska)
3:COPTЪ (3rd SORT)
B.ЛED  1851 (flax)

Arch

Arb02

GEORGE
CLASSEN

  16 ADMUS: A1989.246

Zabrack
4"C

Archangel

4th Sort
(zabrack)

   Found in N.E.Fife Scotland

Arch

M01

no photo

GEORGE
CLASSEN

  256  CUPMS: 2007.87

no photo

SECOND
SORT

Second Sort
(hemp)

      Although the George Classen seals show no indication of the date or place of bracking the fact that one is Zabrack, the lowest quality of hemp, suggests Archangel, the only city with the credibility to sell Zabrack Quality 4 grade as traders had lost faith in the grading system from St Petersburg at this time.

Arch

Arb03

no photo

АРХ. БРА
ДЕСЯТЪ
АЛЕКСЕИ / ЛЫЧЕВЪ
(ALEKSEI LYCHEV)

no photo

 КУДѢЛЯ  (Kudelya)

2 СОРТЪ  (2nd SORT)
ФР (FR) 1869 (flax)

9 ADMUS: A1988.297

Arch

Arb04

no photo

АРХ. БРА
ДЕСЯТ
СТЕПАНЪ / ?УНИ?
(STEPAN  ?UNI?)

no photo

АРХ.ПОР
ЗАБРАК  (zabrack)
Я.К (Ya.K) 1869
18 ADMUS: A1988.263

Arch

Arb05

no photo

АРХ. БРА
ДЕСЯТ
 БОРОВСИНОВЪ
(BOROVSINOV)

no photo

АРХ.ПОР
КУДЕЛЪ  (kudel) 2 sort
В.ЛЕD (V.LED) 1868
25 ADMUS: A1990.315

Arch

Arb06

АРХ.ПОР

(Archangel Port)

ДЕСЯТCKЪ (Inspector)
 ВАСИЛІЙ / ???????
(VASILII ??????)

АРХ.БPА

(Archangel Bracked)
ЗАБРАКЪ (Zabrack)
Я.К. (Ya.K) 1874

 Arb06 found by Andy Parker at Leysmill, Arbroath.

Arch

Arb07

АРХ.БP (Arch Brack)

ДЕСЯТЪ (Inspector)
 ПЕТРЪ / ??EK???
(PETER ??EK??)

АРХ. БP (Archangel Bracked)
ЧECKA (Cheska)

3rd SORT (flax)
Д.П. (D.P) 1885

 Arb07 found by Allan Rutter at Arbroath.

Arch

Arb08

no photo

АРХ.ПО (Archangel Port)
ДЕСЯТH (Inspector)
 АЛЕКСЕ.ОЗЯПКИН
(ALEKSE OZYAPKIN)

no photo

АРХ. БРA (Archangel Bracked)
КУДЕЛЪ  (1 Sort Kudel)
ЯПВ(YaPB) 1839
35 ADMUS: DBA3393/d

Arch

Arb09

no photo

(Archangel Port)
ДЕСЯТHИКЪ (Inspector)
 МИХАИЛЪ ....EBЪ
(MIKHAIL  ...EV)

no photo

АРХ. БРA (Archangel Bracked)
ЗАБРАКЪ (Zabrack)
2 РУКИ ФР (FR) 1889
38 ADMUS: DBA3393/g

           
           

1771 NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1771

01

ДГ = DG

K.APBKOBЦEBЬ

(K.ARVKOVTSEV)

N 41

NP

FL12H

1771

41

post (flax)

found by
Alan Rutter

 Very similar to a seal found in Quebec, Canada (IDS 1271) except owner initial FL not HP

 

1777 WK

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1777

01

no photo

Д:O = D:O
ЧЕРНЦОВЪ
(CHERNTSOV)
H231

no photo

WK

IM12H

1777

114

post (flax)

10 ADMUS:

A1988.298

   Д:O  is probably A:O ... Cherntsov at 231 post was the sole inspector for 

   A.O  = Акционерное Общество   = the  Joint Stock Company,

           
           

1785 NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1785

01

no photo

ЛД = LD
ОРЕХОВЪ
(OREKHOV)
H114

no photo

NP

?O12K

1785

114

post (flax)

  4 ADMUS:

A1988.290

 

 

 

 

 

 

1788 NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ARB

1788

01

ЛД = LD
И.КОСТИНЪ
(I.KOSTIN)
H11

NP

ГФ12H

1788

11

post
(flax)

ARB
1788
02

ЛД = LD
K.CИMAHOB
(
K.SIMANOV)
H77

N:P
CGK12K
1788

77
post (flax)
found by
Alan Rutter

           

1797 NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1797

01

no photo

ЛД = LD
М.ПИКИНЪ
(M.PIKIN)
H35

no photo

NP

?P12?

1797

35

post (flax)

 3 ADMUS:

A1988.289

 

 

 

 

 

 

180? NP may be 1800 - 1829

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
180?
01

ЛД = LD
П.ЩОГОЛЕВ
(P.SHCHOGOLEV)
H64

NP
СЧ12H
182?

64

post
(flax)

ARB
180?
02

no photo

ЛД = LD
И.М.ВИННИКОВЪ
(I.M.VINNIKOV)
H64

no photo

NP
?Ч12H
18-3

56

post (flax)
12 ADMUS:

A1988.300

ARB
180?
03

no photo

ЛД = LD
АЩНИКОВЪ
(ASHCHNIKOV)
H17

no photo

NP
AP12H
18??

17

post (flax)
14 ADMUS:

A1988.302

ARB
180?
04

no photo

ЛД = LD
ГРУЗИНИН
(GRUZININ)
H8

no photo

NP
PF12H

181?

8

post (flax)
15 ADMUS:
A1988.303

           
 

1807

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1807

01

ЛД = LD
А.КАРЦОВЪ
(A.KARTSOV)
H25

NP

AШ12H

1807

25

post (flax)
found by
Alan Rutter

           
 

1816

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1816

01

ЛД = LD
Я.ЖИГAЧEBЪ
(Ya.ZHIGACHEV)
H100

NP

CGF9H

1816

100

post (flax)
found by
Alan Rutter

           
 

1817

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1817

01

ЛД = LD
И.ВИННИКОВ
(I.VINNIKOV)
H20

NP

OP12H

1817

20

post (flax)
found by
Craig Betts

           
 

1818

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1818

01

no photo

ЛД = LD
А.ВОЛКОВЪ
(A.VOLKOV)
Ho5

no photo

NP

AG12H

1818

5

post (flax)

 5 ADMUS:

A1988.291

           

1820

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB

1820

01

no photo

ЛД = LD
Е.Б.КОРОЛЕВЪ
(E.B.KOROLEV)
H40

no photo

NP

?????

1820

40

post (flax)

11  ADMUS:

A1988.299

           
           

182? NP may be 1820 - 1828

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
182?
01

ЛД = LD
А.ВОРОБЬЕВЪ
(A.VOROB'EV)
H98

NP
АБ12H
182?

98
post

(flax)

ARB
182?
02

ЛД = LD
М.ТАP
ОПЧИНОВЪ
(M.TAROPCHINOV)
H11

NP
??12H
18??
11
post
(flax)

ARB
182?
03

no photo

ЛД = LD
Л.КОСТИНЪ
(L.KOSTIN)
H122

no photo

NP
АБ12H
182?

122
post
(flax)
24 ADMUS:
A1990.313

           
 

1821  NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1821
01

ЛД = LD
И.КЛАДУХИН
(I.KLADUKHIN)
H122

NP
ER12H
1821
122
post
(flax)
found by
 Craig Betts
           

1822  NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1822
01

no photo

ЛД = LD
П.ДАВЫДОВЪ
(P.DAVYDOV)
H17

no photo

NP
?K9H
1822
17
post
(flax)
22 ADMUS:
A1989.267

ARB
1822
02

no photo

ЛД = LD
--O--EKОВЪ
(K.POZNEKOV)
H20

no photo

NP
?P9H
1822
20
post
(flax)
19 ADMUS:
A1989.264
           
           

1828  NP

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1828
01

ЛД = LD
Т.ЧУПЯТОВЪ
(T.CHUPYATOV)
H107

NP
ER9H
1828
107
post

(flax)
           
           

1829 SPB

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1829
01

no photo

ЛД = LD
Т.ВИННОКУРОВЪ
(T.VINNOKUROV)
H58

no photo

SPB
NP._3
FW
1829
58
post
(flax)
27 ADMUS:
A2002.87.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

183? СПБ may be 1829 - 1840

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
183?
C01

ЛД = LD
А.ЧЕРНИКОВЪ
(A.CHERNIKOV)
H26

СПБ
НоП.2
M.K.
183
?
26
post

(flax)

ARB
183?
C02

ЛД = LD

Л.ЛOБKOBЬ

(L.LOBKOV)

H 8

СПБ
НоП.?
I.H
18??

8
post

(flax)

ARB
183?
C03

ЛД = LD
С.ФИЛАТОВЪ
(S.FILATOV)
H2

СПБ
НоП.2
I.Г.
183
?

2
post

(flax)

ARB
183?
C04

no photo

ЛД = LD
А.КАЗЛОВЪ
(A.KAZLOV)
H46

no photo

СПБ
НоП.2
П.Ш
183
?

46
post
(flax)

17 ADMUS:

 A1989.247

           
           

183? SPB may be 1829 - 1840

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
183?
S01

no photo

ЛД = LD
А.ВОРОБЬЕВЪ
(A.VOROB'EV)
H98

no photo

SPB
NP._?
?.?.
183?
98
post
(flax)
29 ADMUS:
 A2002.87.4
           
           
           

1833 SPB

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1833
S01

no photo

ЛД = LD
П.СОБОЬЯНОВЪ
(P.SOBO'YANOV)
H3-

no photo

SPB
N.P._2
I.H.
1834

3-
post
(flax)
21 ADMUS:
 A1989.266

           
           
           
           

1834 SPB

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1834
S01

ЛД = LD
М.ТАP
ОПЧИНО
(M.TAROPCHINOV)
N14

SPB
N.P._3
I.B.
1834

14
post

(flax)

ARB
1834
S02

no photo

ЛД = LD
D.ВОРОБЬЕВЪ
(D.BOROB'EV)
H72

no photo

SPB
N.P._3
M.C
1834

72
post  (flax)
 30 ADMUS:
A2002.87.5

           

1835 SPB  

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1835
S01

no photo

ЛД = LD
Н.КУДРЯЕВЪ
(N.KUDRYAEV)
H--

no photo

SPB
NP._3
?.P
1835

-- post
(flax)

26  ADMUS:
A2000.212

           
           
           

1835 СПБ  

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1835
C01

no photo

ЛД = LD
?.СОБИНЧОВЪ

(?.SOBINCHOV)
H5-

no photo

СПБ
НоП.?
H.?
1835

5- post
(flax)

40  ADMUS:
DBM 4217b

           
           

1836 СПБ

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1836
C01

ЛД = LD
I.МЕСНИКОВЪ
(
I.MESNIKOV)
H40

СПБ
НоП.2
Г.Б.
1836

40
post

(flax)

 

1838 СПБ

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1838
C01

ЛД = LD

ИM:EPEMEEBЬ

(IM:EREMEEV)

H41

CПБ

HoП.2

M.K

1838

41

post

(flax)

(IDS 26)

1840 СПБ

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

ARB
1840
C01

ЛД = LD
Л.ПОГАНКИНЪ
(L.POGANKIN)
H27

СПБ
НоП.3
M.K.
1840

27
post

(flax)

           
           
1845

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ABR
1845
01

ИЗ (IZ)

6 ADMUS: A1988.292

N.2
1845

2nd sort

1845

(flax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1846

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ABR
1846
01

ARDAMATZKI
Б.А. / 1846 / S
TPB

8 ADMUS: A1988.296

3 й C.
--.--
12.П.

3rd Sort

12 pukn

(flax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1848

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ABR
1848
001

ABDAMAZKI
B.А / 1848 / S
TPB

23  ADMUS: A1990.311

no photo

Ho2
--.--
9.П.

2nd Sort

9 pukn
(flax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1849

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ABR
1849
001

KOROLEFF
И.Ф.K
ST.P.B

Ho_3
_,_

1849

3rd grade
1849 (flax)
found by
Alan Rutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

1851

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ABR
1851
001

no photo

ABDAMAZKY
Б.А / 1851 / STPB

20  ADMUS: A1989.265

no photo

Ho2
--.--
9.П.

2nd Sort

9 pukn
(flax)

1853

Letters in this colour are inferred from other seals found elsewhere

ABR
1853
01

PROPRIETAIRE
*
(K)AHKOFF

No_2
--.--
1853

2nd grade
(flax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

#

REVERSE click thumbnail

misc
01

SWAINSEEDS
BRISTOL

Triangular
symbol

 

           
 The last cargo of flax was brought to Arbroath on 5 August 1914 by the S/S Orient from Pernau; and on 19 November 1915 a coastal shipment of hemp from Hull was the last direct import of textile fibre to be received.

 

 

 History of Shipbuilding and Trading in Arbroath by David G. Adams

   It is an unfortunate fact, however, that the origins of shipbuilding in Arbroath are largely unrecorded. The limited documentary evidence suggests that, before the mid-18th century, very few vessels, if any, were built here, except, perhaps, for fishing boats or an occasional coal bark of 20 - 30 tons burthen, or less. Prior to 1736, Arbroath had little foreign commerce, its seaborne trade was said to have consisted of smuggling (which was endemic in the early 18th century), and the export of fish, with an occasional import of timber from Norway. Flax, iron and other imports came from Dundee and Montrose, where finished linen cloth produced in Arbroath by domestic spinners and weavers was sold.   An account of the Scottish burghs in 1691 unfortunately does not give any idea of how many vessels belonged to Arbroath but looking at similar small ports it would be surprising if there had been anything more than one or two single masted barks used to carry grain to Leith and to bring back coal and salt from the Forth, so there would have been very little demand for new vessels.  Increased trade, mainly imports of flax, could be handled from 1725 with the creation of a new artificial harbour while capital began to be invested in the linen industry by local merchants who developed it from a purely domestic activity, so causing more demand for flax. Although flax had always been grown locally, by 1800 most of it came from Riga in Latvia, since it was cheaper. With the rapid growth of trade, Arbroath by 1742, had twelve vessels ranging from 50 to 120 tons burthen. Half of these would have been single-masted, fore-and-aft rigged sloops used manly on coasting like the earlier barks, the others being two-masted brigantines, brigs and snows which had similar mixed rigs with minor variations brigs becoming more common from the early 19th century. They were primarily used in the Baltic flax trade and in other foreign trade. By the mid-18th century, Arbroath exported directly to North America, bought-in goods and locally manufactured items being despatched and home timber products and tobacco imported. Timber and iron also came from Norway and Sweden, flax from the Baltic, seed and manufactured goods from Holland and fruit and salt from Portugal and Biscay. By around 1790, Arbroath had 30 vessels grossing just over 1700 tons, but the most rapid increase took place between then and 1830, by which time there were about 70 vessels grossing 6000 tons registered at Arbroath. This increase was due to another phase of expansion in the linen industry creating more demand for flax and vessels to carry it as steam power began to be applied to spinning. More timber, as well as flax, was imported in an upward spiral, the number of vessels peaking at 118 in 1851, grossing over 13,000 tons. this was the only year Arbroath seems to have surpassed Montrose in shipping despite the comparative lack of industry there. This was because a great deal of flax, later jute, seems to have been brought to Arbroath via the rail link with Dundee created from 1838, although it was another decade until this traffic became an important factor. Imports of coal and exports of finished goods were also affected by the railway. As the average size of sailing vessels increased, even before steamships began to make an impact, and as the linen industry ceased to expand after the 1870's, fewer vessels were required and so local shipbuilding tailed off from the 1860's. Ironically Arbroath's major textile product had been sailcloth so decline in the local linen industry and shipping was compounded by a lack of demand due to fewer sailing vessels nationally. Even before the building of new vessels became a regular event, by the end of the 18th century there must always have been one or two ship carpenters kept employed mainly in repairs and maintenance of vessels, known as 'tide work', which was the scraping off of barnacles etc. and re-caulking of ship hulls.
  The earliest recorded ship carpenters are David and John Kenny, members of a seafaring family resident at (Old) Shorehead active from the 1750's or earlier, to the 1770's. David was a Town Councillor who died in 1773 so he must have been a prosperous and prominent citizen.
    Until 1800 sloops of 40 or 50 tons burthen and perhaps an occasional small brig of up to 80 tons would have been built locally but in 1776 a brig, Unity, of 130 tons was built, presumably by the Kenny's. Vessels of such size were not commonly built locally until the 1830's, being mostly of 120 tons maximum prior to that time.
     Sloops were completed in 1778 1785, 1789 and 1799 and from then on one vessel annually is recorded as having been built, brigs and sloops with a schooner, the first recorded in 1803. Schooners evolved in New England in the 1740's but were uncommon on the east coast Scotland until the 1780's.    Originally entirely for-and-aft rigged with triangular lop sails, when adapted here they invariably had square for-topsails. Properly known as topsail schooners, they were used mainly in coastal trade, complementing the single masted sloops.
  The Kennys used the ground now occupied by Gerrard's boat-yard. In 1779 William Kenny, a native of Arbroath, who had served an apprenticeship with the deceased John Kenny (either his father or an uncle), and under a 'sufficient' master at Leith, requested from the Town Council use of the ground immediately west of the harbour and a 'lodge' which John Kenny had used to keep tools in the ground being unenclosed, merely a stretch of open beach sloping down to the tidemark. Kenny was initially given a two-year lease at £1 annually, on condition he kept the 'lodge' in repair and maintained a proper stock of materials to build and repair vessels.
   He must have been active for 34 years, as he is recorded as having repaired the town's ballast boat in 1792 and in 1800 having built a wooden crane for the harbour. By August 1813 he had retired through ill health and was compensated by the town Council for a 'block-house' he had built in the area immediately west of the harbour presumably as a store or work shed.  Kenny may have been the only builder of new vessels until about 1800. An Alexander Fernie built at least two schooners, in 1808 and in 1816, the first recorded being the Sir Joseph Banks, specially commissioned for use during the building of the Bell Rock lighthouse. Fernie like his successor probably occupied open ground between the harbour and Signal Tower. His last vessel, the Panmure must have been well-built or lucky, or both, as it sailed from Arbroath until 1885, most vessels having a life of only forty years if they escaped being wrecked by storms.
    Fernie afterwards left for London where his sons founded a shipping line. Thomas Dickie, a Montrose ship carpenter, also built two sloops in Arbroath in 1808.

    As well as introducing barques, Alexander Stephen seems to have built the first full-rigged ship in 1839, the John Mitchell of 402 tons for a Glasgow owner of that name. this was the largest vessel to be built until another ship was completed in 1852. According to one source, the John Mitchell was a schooner but local schooners were 160 tons at the largest, averaging 100 tons or less. In 1841 Stephen performed a considerable feat by converting the barque Leipzig bought in Hull in 1838 for £1,150. He had it dragged up the slipway by cables and crab winches cut in half and lengthened by 13 feet. His father had performed a similar feat in Aberdeen when other shipbuilders had declared it impossible. The Leipzig continued to sail from Arbroath until 1851. The barque Leipzig was cut in half and lengthened by 13 feet by Stephen's yard at Arbroath in 1838. The site thought to have been occupied by Stephen and later Dickie & Reidman, and which closed about 1853. Boatbuilding is still carried on at this location by Gerrard Brothers.
    The Stephen's all had their own vessels in the timber trade sailing to the Baltic, The Thames and Italy for oak, to America and Scandinavia for pine, Canada for elm and Burma for teak. About 1840, Stephen lost the northern part of his yard (now the lorry park) for a rail link between the Forfar and Dundee railways and built a new yard adjacent to the Signal Tower. In 1843 he opened the Panmure yard at Dundee and gave up his interests in Arbroath. Half the vessels he had built had been for Dundee and Glasgow owners, so he had never been entirely dependent on local demand. Alexander also began to build on the Clyde in 1850 by 1875 having founded one of the greatest of all British shipbuilding concerns.
   William Stephen, Alexander's nephew, son of the earlier William, took over the Arbroath yard and completed his first vessel in 1845. In a few years he had paid back a loan of £400 to his uncle and by 1850 had also bought a house in Ladyloan overlooking the shipyard. Between 1840 and the early 1860's, an average of five vessels annually were produced at Arbroath, with a peak of eight in 1851 by a succession of builders, sometimes as many as three annually as in the years circa 1844 -60. Repairs would have been an important activity much of the time, even for the more important builders.  In the period 1844 - 50 there was a concentration on brigs for the Baltic trade, Stephen building 11 brigs and one schooner. William Anderson, seven with a snow and schooner; and Deck & Reidman four plus two schooners and a smack.
    As the average size of vessels used grew, a spate of barques followed in 1851, Stephen alone building four, and Dickie & Reidman and Chisholm Simpson and Peters, who commenced that year, building one each. Quite a few barques were built in succeeding years along with a variety of other vessels, James Drummond building one annually between 1857 - 59.  William Stephen not only had the largest output, but broke local records in the 1850's with the full-rigged ships, Elizabeth (584/442 tons) in 1852; Varoon (595 tons) in 1853, and Neville (714/830 tons) and with the huge barque Albatross (620 tons) in 1856. Only Chisholm, Simpson and Peters built a vessel approaching these, the ship Dawstone (541 tons) in 1853. All these were for owners in Dundee, Aberdeen and Liverpool. Until the late 1860's when some barques of about 350 tons were used locally all vessels over 300 tons were built for outsiders. William Stephen died in 1857, aged only 39.

      William Blair, in the period 1827-31, built two schooners annually, plus an odd sloop of brig. George Dickie also built two, between 1819 and 21. William Stephen, however, managed to get into debt, and creditors took over the yard late in 1828, the last two vessels being completed in 1829. He died on December 8 that year, and was buried in an iron coffin made by his own smiths, a precaution against the prevalence of grave-robbing at the time.
William Stephen's brother, Alexander, took over his yard from 1830 and the firm of Alexander Stephen and Sons was clearly the leading builder until 1843, building 32 vessels of which a third were schooners of about 140 tons and over a third brigs and snows ranging from 90 to 250 tons. A couple of sloops were also built by Stephen and four barques up to 308 tons. the first of these was the Anne of 207 tons in 1838 for Charles Kidd and Co., of Arbroath.
   Stephen were the only builders of barques until 1851. These were the largest type of vessel operated locally, initially of around 250 tons, three-masted with the mizzen schooner-rigged not to be confused with the tiny barks of the 17th century. In the period 1835-42 Arthur Smith built smaller vessels, schooners under 100 tons as well as brigs and a snow of 200-odd tons.
    Stephen's yard was taken over by Andrew Young late in 1857. He was paid by Stephen's trustees to complete the clipper-barque Barracouta for the Liverpool - China tea trade but, in 1858, after completing another barque he failed and his last vessel, the brig Dawn was towed to Dundee for completion by Alexander Stephen and Sons. After the mid-1850's the largest vessels built locally were barques of up to 350 tons, the last being built n 1864. With the switch to rail for bringing in flax and jute from Dundee, fewer large vessels were needed and schooners for coastal trade constituted about half of these produced.
    John Hall who may have succeeded Young in using Stephen's old yard, built twelve vessels between 1860 and 1863 of which ten were schooners. Half of his vessels were for owners in Montrose, Dundee, Leith and Wexford. Most of the schooners were around 100 tons but two, for local owners, were nearly 200 tons and may have been three-masted. D. Farquhar and Co., who may have succeeded Chisholm, Simpson and Peters, were active between 1855 and 1859 building schooners of about 100 tons and brigs up to 240 tons, one for Dundee and one for Liverpool owners. Only two vessels were built in Arbroath in 1859.
    In 1860 the Arbroath Shipbuilding Company commenced building beside the public slip on the east of the harbour, a site reclaimed when the harbour was extended from 1840 and probably used previously by D. Farquhar and Chisholm, Simpson and Peters. Similarly named shipbuilding companies were set up in Dundee and Montrose by unemployed ship carpenters in a slump in the 1850's. but this may have been an ordinary capitalist venture as a Mr Henderson is recorded as a senior partner.. The company built two or three vessels annually until 1870 almost two-thirds of these being schooners. Barques were built up to 1864 after which brigs of nearly 250 tons were built. The average size of schooners was also smaller than earlier, but only five of the 24 vessels built were for outsiders.
   The company was the only local builder by 1864 and reformed in 1865. Their last vessel, the schooner Romala, was launched on May 6, 1872, having been commissioned by W. Cargill but was sold for £1200 for Captain Hood who had skippered two other schooners built by the firm in 1869 and 1871. there were no vessels built in the years 1873 - 75.
  As at Montrose, Dundee, and Aberdeen, the great boom in building wooden sailing ships had come to an end as iron hulls and steam power began to take over. At Montrose, where there had been five yards, There was also a complete cessation of activity between 1873 and 1876.
   At Arbroath, James Roney, from Stephen's Dundee yard, rented a yard and built six vessels in the period 1876 to 1881 but only two were for local owners. The six comprised two schooners, two brigantines, a 24 ton smack and the most famous, the Abertay lightship built in 1877 for Dundee Harbour Trustees and only replaced in 1939 after damage in 1937. She was used as a block ship during the war and was finally scrapped in 1945-46.
   So it could be said in 1887 that shipbuilding in the mid-19th century had been one of the most important industries of the town, with three yards giving employment to hundreds of men but by then there was not one. The rope works ancillary to the industry situated nearby Gayfield Park and Ladyloan school had also gone. Around Grimsby and Ladyloan, where most of the shipbuilders and their men lived, had been a great concentration of granaries, rope works sail makers' lofts and seafarers' taverns. Hand woven sailcloth made in Arbroath had been considered the best of its kind, but with the decline of the sailing ship this trade also disappeared.

    Just as shipbuilding in the early days was mainly in the hands of the Kennys, so in the boom period of the early 19th century, although there were always two and, intermittently three builders active, the Stephen family. Alexander Stephen (1795 - 1875) built more and larger vessels than the others.
   William Stephen, son of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, recently released from French captivity, took over the site Kenny had occupied from 1814. He may have been the first to enclose a yard. Woods Town Plan of Arbroath of 1822 shows three ranges of sheds. Stephen began in a period of high demand, but half his vessels were for Dundee or Perth owners. In the period 1807 - 13 an average of two vessels annually had been built in Arbroath. Production leapt to six vessels in 1815; three sloops, two brigs and a schooner, probably half at least built by Stephen, but this declined to one vessel annually by the early 1820's, afterwards averaging three or four, occasionally five per year, until about 1840.
   Schooners seem to have comprised two-thirds of the vessels built from 1815 to the 1830's. Alexander Stephen built one of 216 tons n 1825, a local record when the largest otherwise were about 130 tons and the average was about 80 tons the smallest being little bigger than 50 ton sloops. The brig 'Neva' of Dundee, built by Stephen in the 1840s. Similar vessels were constructed at Arbroath yards for the Baltic trade. The steam-powered vessel the 'Atalanta' which was used locally as a tug, is obviously of much later vintage than the sailing craft to which this article refers, but the berthed schooner typifies the size of craft commonly handled at Arbroath Harbour until the latter portion of the 19th century and even later. Anyone wishing to picture the busy scene of the mid-19th century need only take a look at the two boatyards active today, since the building methods with the exceptions of some power tools, and the materials are identical and only the larger barques and ships were larger than the present day fishing boats. The vast bulk of vessels, such as sloops, schooners and brigs were only 50 to 80 feet long but less beamy or tub-like. The keel stem and stern-posts and the ribs were and are made of oak. the ribs are now cut with a band saw and finished with the adze, the distinctive ship carpenter's tool with a history as old as the origins of wooden shipbuilding. These implements were once used with axes as almost the only tools for shaping the timbers. The hull planking was and is of larch, caulked with oakum, an oiled hemp fibre, which is laboriously hammered into the seams and sealed with pitch, (nowadays a special underwater composition), the deck planking could be of teak or pine also caulked with oakum and pitch.

    Shipbuilders in Arbroath c1750 - 1881
   Adjacent to harbour (Gerrards):-

1750s -1770s -- Kenny family;
1779 - 1813 -- William Kenny;
1814 - 1829 -- William Stephen senior;
1830 - 1840 -- Alexander Stephen and Sons;
? 1844 - 1853 -- Dickie & Reidman.
   Adjacent to Signal Tower:-
1840 - 1843 -- Alexander Stephen and Sons;
1845 - 1857 -- William Stephen junior;
1857 - 1858 -- Andrew Young;
? 1860 - 1863 -- J. & J. Hall.
     Between Signal Tower and the harbour:-
1808 - 1816 -- Alexander Fernie;
1817 - 1826 --.A. Philip;
1827 - 1831 -- William Blair;
1835 - 1842 -- Arthur Smith;
1844 - 1853 -- William Anderson;
1857 - 1863 -- James Drummond;
1808 - -- Thomas Dickie;
1819 - 1821 -- George Dickie senior;
1844 - 1848 -- George Dickie jnr, Thomas Reidman;
1849 - 1853 -- William Dickie & Thomas Reidman.
    East of the harbour (Mackay's):-
? 1851 - 1854 -- Chisholm, Simpson & Peters;
1855 - 1859 -- D. Farquhar & Company;
1860 - 1872 -- Arbroath Shipbuilding Company;
? 1876 - 1881 -- J. Roney.

 

Alexander Stephen & Sons Yard List
  1830 Ann 56 sloop James Cay
1 1830 Helen 137 schooner John Peatt & Son
2 1831 Margaret 118 schooner Mr Renny
3 1831 Euphemia 134 schooner Mr Mills, Arbroath
4 1831 Royal William 120   Mr Livies
5 1832 Broadwick 148   Mr Chapel, Arbroath
6 1832 Hope 149 schooner Mr D. Muir, Montrose
7 1832 Majestic 156 schooner Mr Mills, Arbroath
8 1833 Oporto 130 brigantine John Mitchell, Glasgow
9 1833 Ann 109   John Cargill, Arbroath
10 1833 Reaper 59 sloop Capt. D. Peter, Montrose
11 1834 Themis 121 brig Mr Chapel, Arbroath
12 1834 Juno 146 schooner David Paterson
13 1835 Mentor 144 schooner Andson, Allan & Chapel, Arbroath
14 1836 Romulus 164 snow Capt. D.L. Cargill, Arbroath
15 1836 Lady Jane 138   Capt. W. Logan, Arbroath
16 1837 David Grant 195 snow Mr Lawrence. Arbroath
17 1837 Hamille Mitchell 166 schooner John Mitchell. Glasgow
18 1838 Anne 207 barque Charles Kidd & Co., Arbroath
19 1838 Mary's Brig 189 brig Capt. Thos. Leslie, Aberdeen
20 1839 Ariel 189 brig T. Couper & Sons, Dundee
21 1839 John Mitchell 402 schooner John Mitchell, Glasgow
22 1840 Jessie Greig 220 brig Andrew Greig, Dundee
23 1840 Andino 219 snow Leslie & Co., Dundee
24 1841 Royal Archer 278 barque W. & I. Fleming, Glasgow
25 1841 Peruvian 283 barque Alex. Pitcaithly, Newburgh
26 1841 Eden Bank 194 brig T. Couper & Sons, Dundee
27 1842 Britannia 308 barque Alex. Stephen & Sons, Arbroath
28 1841 Isabella 102 schooner Allen & Co., Arbroath
29 1842 Prince Albert 256 brig D. Peat, Arbroath
30 1842 Jessie 88 brig Mr Just, Dundee
31 1842 Laurel 87 brig T. Coupler & Sons, Dundee
32 1843 Eliza 191 brig Mr Jack, Dundee

 

  Alexander Stephen is credited with being the first to introduce steam driven circular saws to cut planking, before that and into the later 19th century, logs had been cut into planks in sawpits which were six to eight feet long and about six feet deep. Men worked in pairs, one in the pit, one standing above, pulling and pushing huge ripsaws. The sawyers were often self-employed, taking on contracts with builders and moving when the contract was completed. They had to be great, brawny men with enormous stamina. Understandably, they liked to go on a drinking spree for a day or two on completion of a contract. From the 1770's to the early 19th century, not only mariners but ship carpenters, valued because of their skills, could be seized by the naval press gangs, although exemption certificates could be purchased.
    Once in the 1830's. the press gang, having made a thorough search of Stephen's yard and having found no-one, moved on. Alexander Stephen then went over the steaming-box where his men had hidden and exclaimed: "Ye can come out now, lads!" and they emerged little the worse for wear. Launchings always attracted large crowds. In 1852 the ship Elizabeth built by Stephen's for Crockat and Fisher of Dundee was, at about 500 tons and 168 feet long, by far the largest vessel built up to that time, twice the average of other vessels. It was inspected by 2000 people before being taken to Dundee for its maiden voyage. She was the first large passenger ship to leave Dundee with emigrants to Australia and carried 200 passengers and crew. In 1856 when the largest vessel ever to be built in Arbroath, the ship Neville, of about 800 tons and 200 feet in length was launched, the scene was said to have been one of the grandest spectacles ever. Between 2 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon the crowds were described as having had the appearance of an ancient forum. A flute band was present and a dinner party and ball then took place on board until short of midnight, it being on a Saturday. It was customary for boys to be allowed on deck with the builders' men to return a cheer to those on land when the vessel hit the water, but in 1863 the barque Elmgrove fell on her starboard side, wobbled and righted itself before capsizing with 30 men and boys aboard. All managed to scramble on top or swim to safety, only one boy slightly injured by a chain. The owner, Captain Cargill of Liverpool, had also been aboard. After this, boys were banned from vessels at launchings although, of course, a few managed to sneak aboard. It was also customary for the ship carpenters to treat the launch day and the day after as a holiday. So, many colourful waterside scenes and customs disappeared about 100 years ago, even boatbuilding seems to have ceased early this century only to recommence from 1955, reviving something of the skills, scenes and traditions of the heyday of Arbroath's Maritime past.

 

   
   

 

 Here are two informative articles about the flax industry in Arbroath

    https://canmore.org.uk/.../arbroath-millgate-alma-works

    http://www.fdca.org.uk/.../TEXTILE%20INDUSTRY%20OF...   

 

 

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