The fishing village of Helmsdale was planned by landowners of Sutherland Estate, who also financed the construction of the first curing and coopering yards along Shore Street. As the fishing industry developed around the harbour the commercial centre was soon to follow with the construction of shops and houses in Dunrobin Street. The village was laid out on a grid pattern with the horizontal streets named after places in Sutherland and the vertical streets after places in Staffordshire. The construction of houses on Old Caithness Road was perpetuated in the late 19th/early 20th centuries by members of the Couper ship trading family. The development and changes in the village can be seen in the old photographs in the Timespan Public Archive.

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