Three articles about Harvieston Farm fire

Dundee Courier 31 January 1902, PAGE 4.

Destructive farm fire in the Mearns


A disastrous farm fire broke out on the farm at Harvieston, near Catterline, about six miles south of Stonehaven, yesterday (Thursday) forenoon.

It appears that while one of the domestic servants was engaged in lighting a boiler fire in the granary, an infant son* of one of the tenants (a child only three years of age) secured the box of matches and commenced playing with them.

The main house at Harvieston farm. Image Warren Nunn 2004

In taking the matches from the box they became ignited and fell amongst some combustible material.

In an incredibly short space of time the granary, in which there were 100 quarters of grain and 80 quarters of straw, which had been stored only a day or two previously WAS ABLAZE.

Mr A. Silver, one of the join tenants, was in Stonehaven market when the outbreak occurred, but the other tenant, Mr John Silver, was at home, and he, together with Mr Adam Watt, farmer, Hilton, Mr Cooper, Coastguard officer, Catterline, and three of his men were quickly on the scene, and made a determined effort to prevent the flames from spreading.

At the same time attempts were made to liberate the 80 head of cattle in the byres, and the 8 horse that remained in the stable.

These efforts were attended with great difficulty, for the fire spread so fast and the smoke rolled with such increasing density that the poor animals became bewildered.

Twelve fat cattle and a fine bull, which was valued at 30 pounds, refused absolutely to leave the burning byres and PERISHED IN THE FLAMES.

Newspaper clipping of fire.

Their carcases were burned to a cinder. Energetic efforts were next directed to the isolation of that portion of the building which still remained untouched, and, thanks to the fine walls, a portion of the steading was saved.

Ere this was accomplished, however, damage to the extent of fully 2000 pounds had been done.

Amongst the furnishings destroyed was a very fine threshing mill of the most moder design, valued at 160 pounds.

**NOTE: This would have been Alexander Silver’s son James born 15 Mar 1898. About 1920, he emigrated to Australia where he died in 1973.

A fine farm steading

It may be mentioned that the farm steading of Harvieston was of recent erection, and was reckoned amongst the finest in the county.

The steading belonged to the Montrose Educational Trust, have been purchased by the Town Council out of the legacy left by the late Mr John Erskine, of Montrose, for educational purposes.

This makes the fourth farm fire that has occurred in Kincardineshire within the past fortnight.

Article published in The Evening Telegraph, Thursday, January 30, 1902

Another farm fire outbreak in Mearns


To-day a telephonic message was received at Stonehaven Coastguard Station from the Catterline Station, intimating that the steading at the home farm of Harveston**, parish of Kinneff, was ablaze, and requesting the assistance of the Stonehaven Fire Brigade.

As the brigade has no fire engine, but depends upon the excellent gravitation supply possessed by the county town, it was not considered advisable to send the brigade, but Inspector Farquharson, of the county police, at once drove off to superintendent operations at the fire.

The estate of Harvieston belongs to the Montrose Educational Trust, having been purchased many years ago by Montrose Town Council as an investment of a large sum of money left by the late Mr Alexander Thomson, a Montrosian, who realised a competency abroad, for educational and charitable purposes.

The steading was rebuilt over 20 years ago, and is one of the finest in Kincardineshire. The farm is tenanted by Messrs J. & A. Silver.

Mr Alexander Silver left the farm after breakfast time this morning to attend Stonehaven weekly market. There was no appearance of fire when he left, but on being appraised of the news, he drove with Inspector Farquharson for Harveston**.

This is the fourth farm fire in Southern Kincardineshire during the last fortnight. In connection with the others two parties are presently in Stonehaven Prison pending inquiries.
**Harvieston is correct spelling.

Stonehaven Journal report of the event.

Stonehaven Journal  06 February 1902, p2

Destructive farm fire at Harvieston

A fire, involving very heavy loss, broke out at the farm of Harvieston, Catterline, tenanted by Messrs A.& J.Silver, shortly before eleven o’clock on Thursday forenoon last.

The steading forms a large square block of buildings, with four roofs, comprising under them covered courts, turnip sheds, feeding byres, straw barn, granaries, cart sheds, stables, calf byres, piggeries, etc.

Station-Officer Cooper, of the Coastguard at Catterline, and several of his men, observing the smoke, were soon on the sport, and with the aid of the farm servants and Catterline fishermen endeavoured to stay the progress of the fire, which broke out in the straw barn.

Meanwhile a telephone message was sent by the Coastguard to Stonehaven to recall Mr A.Silver, who was in town attending the market.

Mr Silver immediately drove home, along with Inspector Farquharson, to the scene of the fire, but before leaving, Provost Mowat very thoughtfully offered the use of the small fire engine kept at Carron Works, which offer however they had gratefully to decline as they had a hose and a good pressure of water at the farm.

The first efforts of the helpers were devoted towards rescuing the cattle and horses.

James Silver who as a three-year-old accidentally started a fire that caused considerable damage to Harvieston Farm.

The latter were all got out safely, and also the young cattle, but the rapid spread of the fire prevented the liberation of 12 valuable fat bullocks from their stalls, and they were burnt to a cinder by the blazing woodwork of the fallen roof.

The farm servants and Coastguard, aided by Inspector Farquharson, worked strenuously to cut the roof in several parts, and by this means they prevented the entire destruction of the steading.

Among the parts destroyed were the straw barn, one covered Court, feeding byre, granaries, calf byre, etc., as well as 100 quarters of grain and 80 of straw, the result of a previous day or two’s threshing; as well as a very fine threshing mill and barn furniture.

The steading, which belongs to the Montrose Educational Trust, is considered one of the best equipped and most modern in the county, costs £3000 at its erection twelve years ago.

Taking stock and buildings together the loss is estimated to amount to fully £2000, which is understood to be covered by insurance.

The origin of the fire was quite accidental, a little child getting hold of some matches from a box the servant girl was using in lighting a boiler fire.


The Dundee Evening Post of 15 February 1902 reported that the Yorkshire Fire Insurance Company issued a £998 payout.