The Burryman Mr J Hast leaves his home to go round the town in his fancy dress at the Queensferry Fair in August 1960.
The Burryman Mr J Hast leaves his home to go round the town in his fancy dress at the Queensferry Fair in August 1960.

Queensferry in the 1960s: These 31 pictures show what life was like in the picturesque town half a century ago

The picturesque town on the shore of the Firth of Forth is a popular place to live with a fascinating history, and there was plenty going on there over half a century ago.

Monday, 20th December 2021, 3:44 pm

Queensferry, often called South Queensferry to distinguish it further from North Queensferry on the other side of the Forth, dates back to the reign of Malcolm III in the 11th century.

King Malcolm’s wife Queen Margaret set up a church in Dunfermline, where the royal couple were married in 1070, which became a place of pilgrimage – meaning a surge in demand for crossings over the Forth estuary.

The queen paid for a ferry that was operated by monks, which is where the town’s name comes from, and boats continued to regularly cross the water for centuries.

The town also developed into an important fishing and trading port thanks to its perfect position to connect north and south.

By the 1950s it was the busiest boat route in Scotland, carrying around 1.5million on over 40,000 crossings each year.

The service ceased when the Forth Road Bridge was opened in 1964 – one of the three bridges that the town is now best known for, along with the Forth Bridge completed in 1890 and the Queensferry Crossing that was added in 2017.

In modern times Queensferry is a pretty town of around 9,000 residents administrated by the City of Edinburgh Council with a number of interesting historic buildings to visit – including St Mary's Church, which dates back to 1441, and the 17th century Tolbooth.

The High Street includes the Black Castle, the town’s oldest house, which was built in 1626 and was home to a sea captain who died at sea.

When his maid was accused of paying a beggar to curse her master both women were burned at the stake for witchcraft crimes.

The town is also home to the annual Ferry Fair, including the Burry Man pagan procession and the crowning of the Ferry Queen, that dates back to the 12th century.

And every New Year hundreds of swimmers visit to take part in the Loony Dook, braving the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth – many in fancy dress.

Here are 31 pictures to take you back to the Ferry in the 1960s.

Read more:

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

The queen paid for a ferry that was operated by monks, which is where the town’s name comes from, and boats continued to regularly cross the water for centuries.

Page 2 of 8