The biggest single toll exacted by the sea was to come on what began
as a peaceful October day in 1881, the day that would become known to the town
as Black Friday. It was a morning of glorious sunshine when the crews of the large
Eyemouth fishing fleet set out, however, without their knowledge, a vicious storm
was brewing as if out of nowhere.
There were 45 boats at sea, when the sky
blackened and the barometers dropped. It is still a matter of controversy why
the Borders fleet were the only ones to set out that day, as other fishing communities
up and down the coast were warned of the dangers posed by the incoming storm.
storm broke around midday, unleashing hurricane strength winds, which tossed the
small fishing vessels around. As fishermen were hurled overboard, the boats turned
to head for the safety of the harbour. However, with it being low tide, the treacherous
Hurkar Rocks at the entrance of the harbour were uncovered, and several boats
were dashed against them, their crews drowning in the water only yards from where
their helpless families watched.
The list of fatalities stretched to 189
men and boys, with 129 of those coming from Eyemouth, amounting to a third of
the fishermen of the town. The after-effects of the disaster were felt for years
to come, as the disaster ruined the town, not only in human terms but also economically.
Here at Eyemouth Museum hangs a tapestry designed and woven by local
people as a moving commemoration of those who dies in the disaster. The
tapestry consists of four panels, beginning with an image of a storm and
ending with symbols of sunrise and a new day, signifying hope for the
Directions: Turn left at the fishmarket towards the town, walk past
the Bank of Scotland and you will see the museum on the right hand side
- it's in a former church, so the building is obvious.