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West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - letter from North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, 1953

This letter, addressed to James Banks of Bayfield, Portree, was sent to all Hydro-Electric customers in the area. It was to familiarise people with how to pay their accounts at the office in Portree and also encourage them to visit the showroom to see the products available for purchase. Electricity had been made available to the general population a year previously and they were no doubt still becoming familiar with having electricity in their homes as well as all the various appliances and products that were available.

The arrival of electricity in any community made showrooms an important place for customers to become acquainted with the advantages of electricity. Prominently displayed were cookers and refrigerators. Smaller appliances such as kettles, lamps and light fixtures were also available for sale. As the Area Manager, Torquil Nicolson, notes in this letter, 'trained staff' were available to give advice on all these new implements. As well as showrooms and offices, the Hydro Board used to host exhibitions in community halls where appliances were put on display. Demonstrators would show people how to get the most out of these labour saving devices.

The Storr Lochs Hydro scheme was officially opened in May 1952 and initially provided electricity for around 850 houses on Skye. Prior to this, some of the larger houses and businesses had a private electrical supply run by generator.


West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd
In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree.

When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired.

The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots.

The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957.


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West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - letter from North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, 1953

1950s

fishing industry; commercial fishing; salmon fishing; trout fishing; net fishing; electricity companies; power companies

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd (documents)

This letter, addressed to James Banks of Bayfield, Portree, was sent to all Hydro-Electric customers in the area. It was to familiarise people with how to pay their accounts at the office in Portree and also encourage them to visit the showroom to see the products available for purchase. Electricity had been made available to the general population a year previously and they were no doubt still becoming familiar with having electricity in their homes as well as all the various appliances and products that were available. <br /> <br /> The arrival of electricity in any community made showrooms an important place for customers to become acquainted with the advantages of electricity. Prominently displayed were cookers and refrigerators. Smaller appliances such as kettles, lamps and light fixtures were also available for sale. As the Area Manager, Torquil Nicolson, notes in this letter, 'trained staff' were available to give advice on all these new implements. As well as showrooms and offices, the Hydro Board used to host exhibitions in community halls where appliances were put on display. Demonstrators would show people how to get the most out of these labour saving devices.<br /> <br /> The Storr Lochs Hydro scheme was officially opened in May 1952 and initially provided electricity for around 850 houses on Skye. Prior to this, some of the larger houses and businesses had a private electrical supply run by generator. <br /> <br /> <br /> <b>West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd</b><br /> In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree. <br /> <br /> When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired. <br /> <br /> The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots. <br /> <br /> The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>