The detail of the Erskine Beveridge image above shows the fishing boat Jane and Minnie, registration KY 400, berthed at Largo Harbour in the 1880s while a travelling fair sets up on the pier. She was built at Millar's yard in St Monans for James Kidd and William Hutton of Largo. At 55 feet in length, she would have exceeded the previous largest boat at Largo - the Ocean Bride - by three and a half feet. Pictured soon after her 1886 completion and before the work to install toilet facilities on the pier in 1888, this image dates to that short window of time between the two events. The East of Fife Record of 19 March 1886 below reports on the launch of the Jane and Minnie.
The boat was named after the youngest daughters (at the time) of each owner. James Kidd had a daughter called Jane (born 1883) and William Hutton had a daughter called Wilhelmina (born 1885). James would go on to have another daughter in 1889, also named Wilhelmina - a name generally shortened to Minnie. Naming boats after family members was fairly common practice and, where ownership was joint, a name from each owner's family could be combined.
James Kidd was born in Largo around 1848 and married Lucy Duncan in 1870. William Davidson Hutton was born in Largo in 1851. He married Margaret Guthrie on 18 September 1874. They had eleven children. Sadly, Minnie (born just before the boat's completion) died aged four and a half in 1890 during an outbreak of measles in the village. William had other boats, such as Fortunatus and Welcome (more on them to come in future posts).
Just a couple of weeks after the launch of the Jane and Minnie, she was the last boat to see fellow Largo fishing boat The Brothers shortly before the latter was lost with all hands about 50 miles east of May Isle. The following year, one of the boat's crew "had a narrow escape from drowning" having fallen overboard while up North for the summer herring fishing. The 15 July 1887 East of Fife Record below reported the incident.
Like other large Largo-based fishing boats of the time, the Jane and Minnie followed the seasonal fishing trips of the Lammas drave up north and the Winter herrin' trip south. The 1890 13 November Fifeshire Journal provided an update on the trip south to Yarmouth, where the Jane and Minnie and the Ocean Bride were caught in a storm. The former lost eighteen nets, while the latter came close to losing two men. The two boats had left Largo on 28 September, so this had happened around six weeks into their expedition.
In 1897, the 2 September Dundee Courier (below) noted the return of Largo's fishing fleet home, after a disappointing summer drave. Six boats from a fleet of seven had returned at this point from Aberdeen, including David Ballingall's Forget-Me-Not and Thomas Lawrie's Sultan. This period was really the final few years of Largo having a fleet of large fishing vessels. By 1901, the Ocean Bride was the only one still operating. The death of James Kidd in April 1901 aged 53 years likely hastened the end for the Jane and Minnie. James was survived by his widow, four daughters and two sons. William Hutton passed away in 1929 at the age of 78. He was a member of the Largo Parish Council and the School Board and was actively involved in the Harbour Committee up until his death. He was survived by his widow and grown up family.