Ships were becoming larger, and loading and unloading was becoming more difficult. Also the rock ledges between low and high water were becoming dangerous as they were being quarried for building stone, to meet demands from the neighbourhood and for export.
There is evidence that Queensferry skippers were venturing north for the whaling, bringing back blubber for oil to be used for lighting and the manufacture of soap.
The first built harbour was erected in 1694 when the Sea Baillie and fellow skippers raised money to build the harbour. The piers of this harbour probably form the base of the present day harbour. The wall and cobbled stone corner roundel at the harbour head are perhaps the only remaining features of this period.
In February 1763 there was a violent storm that damaged the harbour and sea wall. Repairs and extension work were done but in January 1789 another storm ‘tumbled it to ruins’. By November 1798, work was finished on the harbour, The east pier was repaired and extended and work was done on the west pier. It was stated that “when this work is finished the harbour will be in a complete state of repair which is important not only to the town but also to the public. The materials for soap making as well as the greater part of the coals consumed by the inhabitants are carried by water”.
By 1783-9, brown soap making had become a flourishing and extensive trade employing 20-30 men in each of the four large works in the town.
In 1821 the Steamboat Queen Margaret was added to the fleet which included four large sailing boats three pinacces and three yawls for use in fair weather. However it was deemed unsuitable for steamships to be using the piers which had been built for sailing ships, so the Town pier at North Queensferry was extended and by 1830 the ferry ceased to use Queensferry harbour.
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