1800  (approx)  Newgate House is refurbished.

1800  James Keith is born in Dundee. In 1823 he will open on High Street a

tinsmith & gas fitter business which will be the foundation of what will become Keith & Blackman, heating & ventilation engineers. He will also, along with Douglas Fraser and Alexander Stephen, become a principle in the

erection of Ladyloan Church which will be built at Bellrock Lane. He will die aged only 43.

1800  By now most flax comes from Riga in Latvia, as it is cheaper.

1800  William Kenny builds a wooden crane for the harbour.

1800  (Jan)  A ship is wrecked beside the cliffs at Mariner's Grave, the story used in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Antiquary'.

1800  Inchcape Rock: Robt Stevenson (he will be grandfather to Robt Louis Stevenson) lands, inspects & decides a stone tower is necessary.


1801  The population is 9,186.

1801  Alexander Shanks is born.


1802  The poet Robert Southey writes 'The Inchcape Rock'.

1802  (Apr 1)  William Sharpey is born in Arbroath of an English father and will become known as the Father of Modern Physiology. Trained in Edinburgh, he is the first person to introduce microscopes & histology practicals into medical education. He becomes a correspondent & friend of Charles Darwin & contributes to many editions of 'Quain's Anatomy'. He dies in 1880.

1802  Provost Johnston serves until 1805.


1803 The Town House is built, containing a courtroom, a large elegent hall & Council meeting rooms. One source claims that a Tolbooth had stood on this site & a that a previous Tolbooth had been situated on the opposite side of the High Street. (See 1846).

1803  Invasion threat by Napolean increases volunteer recruiting - four companies are formed in Arbroath. They will be disbanded after peace is declared. (Source: M.O.D.).

1803  (approx)  The Guild Hall is built at 90 High Street. (See 1880).

1803 (Mar 12) Arbroath Lifeboat Station is established. The first Arbroath Lifeboat is built by Henry Greathead (who built in 1798 the first boat specifically designed for saving life from shipwreck).

1803  New construction occurs at Colliston Castle.


1804  The warship HMS York is wrecked on the Bell Rock & lost with all crew. Although 6 vessels per winter have been suffering the same fate, this is the catalyst which leads to legislation being passed to ensure a lighthouse will be built.


1805 (-1808)  Alexander Hay serves as Provost.

1805  Mr. Johnstone's ' Jock's Lodge ' is built between the old Green & Catherine Streets (South of Keptie Street).


1806  St Mary's Episcopal Church is built set back off the east side of High Street. It will later become the United Free Church.

1806  Brothock Mill becomes the first steam powered mill in Arbroath when it's Boulton Watt engine is installed. It is inaugurated by James Watt (1736-1819). His steam engine was 1st demonstrated in 1769, his 1st prototype 1775.


1807 (-1964)  Wardmill Bleachfield operates.

1807  The Bell Rock work yard is set up off Ladyloan to make the dream of a Lighthouse a reality. Bell Rock Lane, marking the location, will not appear on the 1822 map but is shown on the map of 1901.

1807-1813  An average of 2 vessels are being built in Arbroath annually.


1808  (Jul 8) The foundation stone of the Bell Rock Lighthouse is laid in the presence of about 80 people.

1808  John Jamieson of Forfar produces the 'Scottish Dictionary', the first of the Scots language.

1808  The Arbroath Town Buildings are built.

1808  Montrose shipcarpenter Thos Dickie, operating between the Signal Tower & harbour, this year builds two sloops.

1808-1816  Shipbuilder Alexander Fernie, operating between Signal Tower & harbour, builds at least two schooners. The first, the 'Sir Joseph Banks' is commissioned for the Bell Rock Lighthouse project & captained by David Taylor. The 2nd vessel, the 'Panmure', will continue to sail from Arbroath until 1885, a remarkably long life, most boats only surviving around 40 years.




















1809  David Arrot is born. He will become a much loved & respected doctor in Arbroath. He dies in 1876.

1809  William Gibson (born 1783 & having first sailed as ship's boy from Dundee at the age of fourteen & having traded from Goteborg, Sweden from the age of eighteen) establishes Gibson & Company. He buys ships & acts as a shipping business, trading in (e.g.) iron, timber, tar, flax, Riga balsam, brandy, butter, potatoes, fennel, cochineal, fish hooks & snuff. He diversifies into brewing, herring pickling & the manufacture of playing cards, vinegar, sealing wax & lamp black. In the post war depression he loses all assets in 1811 & again in 1815 but recovers. His parents come to live with him & in time are buried in Goteborg in the churchyard above the quay where he has his offices. In the 1830s he will turn to ropemaking & sailmaking. The firm will  grow rapidly & move to Jonsered outside Goteborg, where Dundee born Alexander Keillor will become Gibson's partner.

1809 (Nov 2)  George Livingston is born in Arbroath. He will become Procurator before Sheriff, the Commissioner Chief of Forfarshire & Burgh Court, Arbroath and a writer. He will die in 1859.

4512003884_211x155.jpg 4512002033_219x200.jpg

1800 - 1809



in Mar



foto BL


image by kind permission of

David Taylor, the Bell Rock website

The  Town  House


The building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse

Global 1800 -1899 4518089535_983x351.jpg




Arbroath's adventurous merchants don't falter at Danger Point !  

William Gibson & many other Scotsmen make a success of trading with Scandinavian & Baltic Ports.

This timeline has a few specific ship movements between Arbroath & these ports 1682 - 1907.  See sub page 'Shipping In-Out'.


Elsinore (Helsinger)


Danzig ( Gdansk )

Konigsberg ( Kalingrad )

Wm Sharpey 1802-1880



Wardmill Bleachfield, Greens Mills

Wardmill Bleachfield, Greens Mills

Panmure - index of Merchant sail ships 1850-1875

The long lived 'Panmure'

- click for larger image