The Life Savers!Fitzroy Barometer

Fitzroy Barometers

In the 19th century when death amongst fishermen due to storms at sea was considered an occupational hazard. One man set about improving the lot of the fishermen and mariners generally by making provision for barometers to be sited at harbours.

Vice -Admiral FitzroyThat man was Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy (1805 - 1865) who, acting as first head of the institution we now know as the Meteorological Office, saw the need for a better system of maritime weather forecasting. Not only did this benefit the fishermen it also served to assist merchant shipping and the naval fleet of the day. It would appear the Admiral persuaded government that such provision would prevent loss of high numbers of men and boats at sea

 Reading a barometer allowed fishermen to forecast weather conditions in advance of their setting sail. A significant drop in pressure would normally sound alarm bells and keep them ashore until the bad weather passed.

Did the fishermen take heed of this new device? - The available evidence indicates that they usually did. Fishermen were skilled at predicting the weather much of the time, however, when the unexpected happened loss of life was the inevitable consequence........The Barometer was indeed a lifesaver

Banffshire Maritime & Heritage Association recognise the contribution Fitzroy Barometers made to safety at sea and are creating records so that others can see for themselves the history of the barometer in Scottish harbours. This is being added to on a regular basis. If you have any information regarding maritime barometers including locations, photographs or stories we would be delighted to hear from you at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Look at the index on the left for harbour barometers that may be of interest to you

© Content 2012-14 Banffshire Maritime.
Created by SilverBack