WHO WE ARE
If you are interested in maritime heritage you will be amazed at what's on display at the Maggie Law Maritime Museum!
Situated in the old two-storey coastguard equipment building, the museum is the home of the famous surf boat the Maggie Law and also houses an amazing range of maritime exhibits and items and historical information and artefacts in a small space. It sits beside the old harbour and slipway (the Gutty) on William Street, right in the centre of the picturesque fishing village of Gourdon.
Only 10 miles south of Stonehaven and 11 miles north of Montrose, make a point of visiting the Maggie Law Maritime Museum when visiting Aberdeenshire or Angus.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, we regret that we will not be open to the public in 2020. However, we are able to open for group visits by arrangement. To enquire about arranging a visit, please contact us.
Entry to the museum is free but donations to help keep the museum running are most welcome! We receive no regular funding and rely on donations in order to remain open to visitors.
THE MAGGIE LAW
Built in 1890, the Maggie Law was one of the first inshore lifeboats. She was in service for 40 years and saved 36 lives.
The wild and rocky coast around Gourdon, Aberdeenshire, claimed the lives of many fishermen, often wiping out three generations of a family in a single tragedy. The fishermen of Gourdon took it upon themselves to provide their own solution: to build and maintain an inshore surf boat that would ride the foam, helping to save fishermen’s lives. The cost of the building of the boat was by subscription, with the fishermen donating a penny in the pound from their catches.
Built and launched in 1890 by James (Jeems) Mowatt, the new boat was named after the daughter of local fish curer Tom Law. She was manned by six local fishermen who put their own lives at risk for the safety of their fellow fishermen and families.
More information on the Maggie Law and Jeems Mowatt can be found here.
The museum is housed in the old coastguard station and apparatus shed which overlooks the Gutty harbour in the heart of the village. It is based over two floors, with an external staircase to the upper storey.
When the lifeboat station closed in 1969, the building was donated to the community to provide a secure home for the iconic Maggie Law surfboat. A small group of volunteers developed the facility and opened it as an unmanned museum in 1997: the opening ceremony was conducted by Gerald Bannermann, the grandson of the builder of the Maggie Law, James "Auld Jeems" Mowatt .
In 2011, a grant was obtained from Aberdeenshire Council to secure the building and further develop the museum. This grant, supplemented by generous sponsorship donations and with work from a group of local volunteers, the Gourdon Community Council and senior pupils from Lathallan School, enabled substantial work to be carried out. The museum re-opened in its present form on 12 April 2013. The opening ceremony was performed by Dame Anne Begg, the then Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South; Dame Begg was then awarded the role of Honorary President of the museum.
The museum achieved Scottish Tourist Board Four Star status in December 2015.
In April 2016 the museum was successfully incorporated as a Scottish Charities Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). The Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) confirmed that the operation of the museum met the charity test and all legal requirements for the award of SCIO status, meaning that the Maggie Law Maritime Museum is now an incorporated body having charitable status under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. A voluntary, not for profit organisation, we rely entirely on donations to keep running.
HOW TO FIND US
Only 10 miles south of Stonehaven and 11 miles north of Montrose, the museum is situated in the old two-storey coastguard apparatus building beside the old harbour and slipway (the Gutty) in the centre of the picturesque fishing village of Gourdon.
Visiting by car
When you come into the village, continue down Brae Road and follow it as it bends round to the right at the bottom of the hill towards the main harbour. Keep following the road (William Street) and you'll find us straight ahead. If visiting by car, we'd recommend parking at the harbour as space around the museum is limited.
Visiting by public transport
The closest rail links for Gourdon are at Montrose to the south and Stonehaven to the north, with regular bus services to Gourdon from each station. Taxis are available from each station, with Stonehaven station being the closest to the Museum.
Taxi services are also available in both Gourdon and Inverbervie (approx. 1 mile away).
The X7 bus service which runs hourly between Aberdeen and Perth serves Gourdon, but passengers arrive and depart from the main road - the A92 - next to the Maggie Law Museum brown tourist sign. There is approximately a 20 minute walk downhill to the Museum, with a steep uphill brae on the return journey.
Other local bus services to and from Stonehaven and Montrose take you right into the village, with a bus stop adjacent to the Museum, which has both shelter and seating for waiting passengers. Please check online for current timetables before setting out.
If you are unable to visit in person, why not have a look at our Armchair Tour video?
Gourdon is a fishing village with a working harbour, where lobster, crab, prawns and scallops are landed and processed on a daily basis. These processing businesses are clustered round the main harbour, adjacent to the old harbour - built to a design by Thomas Telford - and also boasts the friendly and welcoming pub, the Harbour Bar, and the award winning Quayside Restaurant & Fish Bar.
Further information on Gourdon can be found on the following websites:
The museum is staffed and run entirely by volunteers who meet several times a year. The committee members are:
Chairperson: Sheena Taylor
Secretary: Moira Coull
Treasurer & Facilities Management: Tom Ritchie
Webmaster & IT Support: Andy Barnett
Volunteers: Jackie McLean, Gordon Criggie, Margaret Middleton, Bridget O'Hare, Andy Raffan, Jane Ritchie.
For any enquiries, please use the Contact Us page.
This website is dedicated to our late friend and colleague, Melvin Taylor, who sadly left us in July 2021.