Overview of Morrison's Haven
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A century ago, the scene you would have surveyed here would have been dirty, noisy, busy and crowded: an intensely industrial area with great brick chimneys, various sizes of beehive-shaped [brick] kilns, high walls and ominous grey factory buildings all coated by a frequent outpouring of choking, grey smoke.
Today, looking north towards the brick-built nineteen fifties Bathhouse in front of the road, you might just glimpse the sea. The ancient harbour of Morrison's or Acheson's Haven lies just beyond at the other side of the present main road.
Before the harbour there was a Draught, a place to safely draw up boats. Fishermen dredged oysters from offshore beds for centuries.
The nearby harbour was recently filled in, but its story is central to our tale. By the middle of the seventeen hundreds, the Haven had become a busy trading port from which both salt and oysters were exported in ever increasing quantities. Ships took away local glassware, ceramics, chemicals, including vast amounts of Oil of Vitriol (or sulphuric acid), bricks, fireclay and of course, coal. In return, they brought in goods such as French brandy, raisins and Port wine from Portugal; silk, whalebone and Delft chinaware from Holland; Russian leather from Danzig in the Baltic and furs from Hudson's Bay in Canada. The fate of the Haven has been closely linked to the successes and failures of the industries at and around Prestongrange. Right up to the late 1920s, ships were calling in at Morrison's Haven to pick up loads of up to six hundred tons of coal or bricks, but after lying disused for many years, it was filled in and the site was landscaped.