Peterhead is a town in Scotland with a population of approximately 18,000. It is situated in Aberdeenshire, at the easternmost point in mainland Scotland.



Peterhead, like Fraserburgh, first grew as a fishing port, and became the largest white fish port in Europe. Although the industry is in decline, it is still important to the town. The Ugie Salmon Fish House showcases traditional fish preparation methods. The town grew again after North Sea oil was discovered.

Peterhead is also home to one of Scotland's high security prisons and until April 2005 was home of the nearby Royal Air Force station - RAF Buchan.

Peterhead is Aberdeenshire's largest settlement. It has a relatively diverse economy, including food processing, textiles, service industries and, importantly, fishing. Peterhead was founded by the Keith Earls Marischal in 1587, and was developed as a planned settlement. In 1593 the construction of Peterhead's first harbour, Port Henry, established a base for trade and safety which has grown into Europe's premier white fish landing port. Over 90,000 tonnes of fish, with a value of around 60m are now landed at Peterhead, which is also base to over 550 fishermen.

A new phase of growth was initiated in the 1970s with Peterhead becoming a major oil industry service centre, and the completion of the nearby St Fergus gas terminal. At this time, considerable land holdings were allocated for industrial development. In recent times, the town has suffered from several high profile company closures and is facing a number of pressures, including Common Fisheries Policy reforms and uncertainty over the future of Peterhead prison.

The Peterhead Project initiative under the Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership brings together the Council, Scottish Enterprise Grampian, Communities Scotland, commerce and community representatives. In addition to Wellbank, the programme is assisting business diversification and town centre environmental improvements. Peterhead Bay Authority plan to extend the northern breakwater as a stimulus to the town's economic development.

Population 17,952 Source: General Register Office for Scotland data and Council forecast

Main Employers

Company/Organisation          Activity 
Score (Europe) Ltd            Engineering 
Scottish Prison Service
(HM Peterhead Prison)         Prison Services 
ASCO Plc                      Oil Services 
Safeway Stores Plc            Retailing 
Thomas Smith & Co 
(Peterhead) Ltd               Woollen Manufacturing 
Fresh Catch Ltd               Fish Processing 
Forman Fish Ltd               Fish Processing 
Taylor Crane Company Ltd      Crane Hire 
Macdonald Hotels (UK) Ltd
(Waterside Inn)               Hotel Services 
Macrae Foods Ltd              Fish Processing 
Westminster Healthcare Ltd
(Kirkburn Court Nursing Home) Nursing Home Services 
Community Media Ltd           Printing and Publishing 
Strachans Ltd                 Grocery Wholesale 
Ken Cassells Ltd              Fish Processing 
The Palace Hotel
(Peterhead) Ltd               Hotel Services 
Alexander Buchan Ltd          Fish Processing 
Dales Engineering Ltd         Steel Fabrication 
Precision Powertrain (UK) Ltd Transmission Manufacturing 
Stagecoach Bluebird           Bus Services 
Department of Social Security Government Benefits Office 
Aberdeenshire Council         Local Government Services 
Grampian Primary Care         NHS Trust Health Services 

Definition based on more than 70 employees. Source: Various


The harbours, maritime and built heritage are the town's principal tourism assets. Recent initiatives include investments in the Peterhead Bay area, which have included the berthing of cruise ships in the harbour. A number of projects are planned under the auspices of the Peterhead Project initiative, including tourism strategy development, enhancement of existing attractions, measures to improve the town's physical attractiveness, and improved marketing and promotion.

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