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Blade 4 - Panel B

Spa Town and Fishing – Sources of Prosperity

In 2006, BBC1 broadcast the first episode of “Trawlermen”, a BAFTA Award winning documentary which followed the lives of trawler crews based in Peterhead and Fraserburgh as they went about their dangerous, gruelling and challenging work bringing fish to the nation’s tables. The first series attracted several million viewers, and was followed by a further three series which have since been shown world-wide, and are still regularly repeated. Many of the boats featured, including “Amity II”, “Fruitful Bough” and “Ocean Venture II” can often be seen docked at the port.

Around the year 1600, a well was discovered at the foot of the Wynd, which is now known as Jamaica Street. It quickly became famous throughout Scotland for its sparkling water which “exhilarated the spirits”. The water was reputed to cure all ills, including nervous debility, weakness, disturbed sleep, frightful dreams, noises in the head and ears, loss of memory and low spirits. Soon the Wynd Well became known as the “Wine Well”. Invalids began to travel from all over the county to enjoy its curative effects. By the middle of the eighteenth century, Peterhead had become a very fashionable resort, and the seasonal influx of visitors. In 1759, the Freemasons bought a strip of land next to the well, to build the Keith Masonic Lodge, part of which was built below the level of the road. Access to the ground floor was through a stairway inside the building. They also had a small lean-to bath house against the west gable containing one bath for the exclusive use of gentlemen. Visitors and “respectable” townspeople were allowed to use the ground floor to take the waters. It quickly became a fashionable place to meet, and in 1775 the Freemasons had the bathhouse rebuilt and enlarged. The new building had separate dressing rooms and bath facilities for ladies and gentlemen, and also boasted a large and elegant drawing room.

Although the old lodge building is long gone, some of the rooms still exist under the road, and it is still possible to glimpse inside the remains of the building through a bared window in the wall, directly opposite the Dolphin Café.