Ferries in Scotland between 1603 and the advent of steam
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This research examines the place of ferries in the national communication network of Scotland between the Union of the Crowns and the advent of steam. A total of 431 ferries were identified and are listed in the Gazetteer. The effect upon the ferries is assessed in both the era of pre-modernisation and during that of modernisation with certain trends and patterns being defined. The search for data revealed that papers in some private collections as well as those in some of the public archives are as yet uncategorised. In both the uncategorised papers as well as in the classified documents, evidence regarding ferries is sporadic and fragmentary. Moreover, it is unusual to find the topic "Ferries" appearing in any table of contents or index, even in published works. Information derived from primary historical and geographical sources, together with legal and civil administration records, augmented by social comments recorded at the time, in addition to secondary sources form the basis for the work. While changes occurred at ferries throughout the period studied these accelerated in the early nineteenth century by reason of the growing demands resulting from economic modernisation in Scotland. The need for speedier and more convenient travel gave rise to a proliferation of bridge building which in turn had an adverse affect on ferry services in the locality of the new bridges. Surviving ferry services were faced with three options in response to the pressures of economic modernisation. Firstly, they could remain unchanged, secondly, facilities could be adapted and the boats re-designed or thirdly, the man-propelled or sail-powered boats could be replaced by steam-driven boats. Although the building of the railway extended the system of communication in Scotland it had little affect on ferry services in general apart from the expansion of those ferry services situated near railway termini. In other parts of the country little attention was paid to existing ferries which continued to operate before. Therefore, the national communication network in Scotland in the early nineteenth century remained irregular and incomplete.