Smugglers At Annan Museum

The Annandale shore formed the backdrop for an 18th century secretive trade. Wherry boats from the Isle of Man brought contraband European cargoes to isolated beaches where armed men waited.

Nearly everyone was involved. Fortunes were made – and lost!

The exhibition is based on the research of Frances Wilkins, social historian, who has written extensively on historic smuggling around the coast of Britain. She has uncovered stories of individuals and families from the Annan area who conspired to smuggle and sell on luxury goods such as whisky, wine, brandy, tobacco, tea and even salt or coal. There was widespread sympathy for the smugglers and a ready market for their goods. People did not want to pay the high prices of legitimate goods required to cover taxes to the government. The revenue officers, excisemen and dragoons had their work cut out to detect and catch the smugglers and confiscate their contraband goods. Struggles ensued, people were injured or killed and some went to prison.

Councillor Andy Ferguson, Chair of Communities, said:“This latest exhibition at Annan Museum highlights some of the more colourful past of our area. It features stories of encounters between smugglers and the excise officers working to stop the wholesale smuggling activity of the local community, including Robert Burns.”
Councillor John Martin, Vice-Chair of Communities, said:“Frances Wilkins’ research has formed the basis of this display which brings to life the history of smuggling in the Annan area in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It is great to see this Annan Museum exhibition opening in time for the Annan History Town festival due to take place later in the summer.”

The exhibition at Annan Museum is open 11am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, until 11 September 2021.

You can book your free visit to see the exhibition and the museum’s local history gallery by visiting www.dgculture.co.uk or at the door of the museum during opening hours.

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