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TITLE
Crofters Houses, Skye
EXTERNAL ID
PC_PRISCUS_SCO6012
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS
PERIOD
1890s
CREATOR
George Washington Wilson
SOURCE
Mark Butterworth - Priscus
ASSET ID
29588
KEYWORDS
dwellings
houses
homes
Skye
firkins
peat
byres
crofters
crannies
crummy
fowl
guddie
Crofters Houses, Skye

This photograph was taken by Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson (1823-93) and was used to illustrate talks he gave on Highland history. The following description is taken from Washington Wilson's own lecture notes.

Such a home savours a good deal of Robinson Crusoe life, but a taste of the Skye climate, with all its accompanying discomforts, would very speedily dissolve any enthusiasm for living in such a dwelling. The average dwelling in the West Highlands is not a model edifice, and is open to wind and always pervious to rain. An old bottomless herring firkin, stuck in the roof, usually serves for a chimney, but the blue peat reek disdains the aperture, and streams wilfully through the door and the "crannies" in the wall and roof. The interior is seldom lighted. What light there is proceeding rather from the orange glow of the peat fire, on which a large pot is simmering, than from the narrow pane with its bottle green bulls-eye. The rafters, which support the roof, are black and glossy with soot. The sleeping accommodation is limited. The floor is the beaten earth; the furniture is scanty, there is hardly even a chair, stools and stones worn smooth by the usage of many generations have to do instead. The door usually opens into the byre, which is separated from the living room by a low partition, sufficient to keep "crummy" out, while fowls cluck about and assert their co-tenancy with the crofter and his family; the darkness of the outer apartment is impenetrable, excepting directly outside the entrance while outside there is usually a pool of stagnant odiferous liquid, in which one or two dirty ducks guddle.

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Crofters Houses, Skye

INVERNESS

1890s

dwellings; houses; homes; Skye; firkins; peat; byres; crofters; crannies; crummy; fowl; guddie

Mark Butterworth - Priscus

Imaging the Past

This photograph was taken by Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson (1823-93) and was used to illustrate talks he gave on Highland history. The following description is taken from Washington Wilson's own lecture notes.<br /> <br /> Such a home savours a good deal of Robinson Crusoe life, but a taste of the Skye climate, with all its accompanying discomforts, would very speedily dissolve any enthusiasm for living in such a dwelling. The average dwelling in the West Highlands is not a model edifice, and is open to wind and always pervious to rain. An old bottomless herring firkin, stuck in the roof, usually serves for a chimney, but the blue peat reek disdains the aperture, and streams wilfully through the door and the "crannies" in the wall and roof. The interior is seldom lighted. What light there is proceeding rather from the orange glow of the peat fire, on which a large pot is simmering, than from the narrow pane with its bottle green bulls-eye. The rafters, which support the roof, are black and glossy with soot. The sleeping accommodation is limited. The floor is the beaten earth; the furniture is scanty, there is hardly even a chair, stools and stones worn smooth by the usage of many generations have to do instead. The door usually opens into the byre, which is separated from the living room by a low partition, sufficient to keep "crummy" out, while fowls cluck about and assert their co-tenancy with the crofter and his family; the darkness of the outer apartment is impenetrable, excepting directly outside the entrance while outside there is usually a pool of stagnant odiferous liquid, in which one or two dirty ducks guddle.