AFTER the end of hostilities in 1945, the fishing industry was quick to establish some semblance of recovery and a surge of new builds and restoration of Admiralty motor fishing vessels soon followed. In Fraserburgh, on Scotland’s east coast, several established yards satiated this desire amongst the fishing-boat owners for new craft. Thus it wasn’t surprising that a new yard sprung up at the end of the 1940s when three local apprentices from one of the yards decided to set up their own boatbuilding yard on the breakwater, in what was a very exposed position. And so the yard of Thomas Summers & Co. was born, a yard that became synonymous with fine seaworthy fishing boats suited to various methods of fishing. In the space of just thirteen years they produced eighty-eight fishing vessels and their output was more prolific than most of the other Scottish boatyards. Many of these boats survive to this day, some still working as fishing vessels, and others converted to pleasure, a testament to their superb design and solid construction.
Here, Mike Smylie recounts the story of Thomas Summers & Co. through historic records and personal memories of both fishermen and family members, with many striking photographs of the boats they built.