Ref NoAS/Aphd
Alt Ref NoBH14
Acc No043
TitleRecords of the Burgh of Peterhead
DescriptionThis collection consists of:

AS/Aphd/1: Council Minutes, 1833 - 1972
AS/Aphd/2: Records of the Police Commissioners, 1820 - 1898
AS/Aphd/3: Records of the Local Authority, 1874 - 1898
AS/Aphd/4: Peterhead Town Council Committee Minute Books, 1889 - 1975
AS/Aphd/5: Records of the Dean of Guild, 1907 - 1965
AS/Aphd/6: Records of Peterhead Police Court, 1895 - 1975
AS/Aphd/7: Records of Peterhead Licensing Court, 1906 - 1975
AS/Aphd/8: Abstracts of Accounts, 1931 - 1974
AS/Aphd/9: Peterhead Town Council Housing Registers, 1927 - 1968
AS/Aphd/10: Registers of Mortgages and Debt Securities of the Burgh of Peterhead, 1879 - 1930
AS/Aphd/11: Register of Voters, 1832 - 1838
AS/Aphd/12: Assessment Rolls, 1936 - 1975
AS/Aphd/13: Register of Councillors' Declarations, 1900 - 1974
AS/Aphd/14: Peterhead Burgh Bye-Laws, 1934 - 1954
AS/Aphd/15: Peterhead Burgh Letter Books, 1916 - 1918
Date1820 - 1975
CreatorPeterhead Town Council
Extent194 items
​Open or Restricted AccessOpen
Administrative HistoryOn the 29th of July 1587 James VI erected the lands of Peterhead into a burgh of barony in order to preserve the succession to these lands for the House of Keith. In 1590 George Keith 5th Earl Marischal became the first feudal baron of Peterhead and on 1st June 1593 he granted a feu contract to certain feuars of the town whereby for certain personal services and obligations, they were given rights of pasturage and commonty and became responsible for the government and administration of the town and harbour. Immediately the town came under the patronage of a powerful baron, the population increased, harbours were constructed, trade developed, and by the beginning of the 18th Century the town was a thriving industrious community. In 1715 George Keith 9th Earl Marischal was attainted for his part in the Jacobite rebellion and his estates were forfeited. The lands of Peterhead were sold by the Crown and ultimately purchased by the Merchant Maiden Hospital of Edinburgh, latterly the Merchant Company Education Board of Edinburgh.

The Peterhead Water Supply etc Act 1820 (1 Geo IV, ch. lxxxvii) instituted the election of commissioners to oversee the burgh administration in conjunction with the Hospital representatives. By the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act 1833 (2 & 3 Will. IV, c.65) Peterhead and five other burghs were combined within the Elgin District of Burghs to elect an MP. As a consequence of that, the passage of the Parliamentary Burghs (Scotland) Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV, c.77) permitted the burgh to elect 12 Councillors including a Provost who would administer the town's affairs. In 1862 the burgh adopted the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict., c. 101). Burgh administration was carried out by police commissioners who were responsible for the cleansing, lighting, policing and public health of the burgh. The main industries in the town were whale and seal fishing, and later herring and white fish, before the discovery of North Sea oil. Under the Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 & 64 Vict., c.49) the police commissioners were replaced by Peterhead Town Council in January 1901.

Peterhead Town Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c. 65). Its powers were assumed by Grampian Regional Council and Banff and Buchan District Council. These in turn were replaced by Aberdeenshire Council in 1996 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994 (c. 39).

From the erection of the town into a burgh of barony until the advent of a Town Council under the Burgh Reform Act of 1833, municipal records were kept by the clerk to the community of feuars. From 1833 onwards all burgh records were kept by the Town Clerk.
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