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TITLE
Black House and Peat, Port of Ness, Lewis
EXTERNAL ID
QZP99_94157_05_06
PLACENAME
Port of Ness
DISTRICT
Lewis
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Barvas
SOURCE
Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library
ASSET ID
38774
KEYWORDS
peat
fuel
houses
dwellings
buildings
craftsed
Black House and Peat, Port of Ness, Lewis

Black houses were common across the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. The houses were long and narrow with an outer and inner wall of un-mortared stones. The gap between the two walls was filled with earth and peat. The roof was usually thatched and based on a wooden frame which rested on the inner wall of the house. This meant there was a wall ledge all the way around the outside of the house. There was generally no chimney and old thatch which had been smoked by the peat smoke was used as a good fertiliser. The family lived at one end of the black house while their animals were housed at the other.

The term 'black house' does not come from the dark and smoky atmosphere inside the house. Instead the term was used to distinguish the old houses from the new houses introduced at the end of the 19th century. These new houses were covered with white lime wash and became known as 'white houses'.

Outside the house in this photograph there is a peat stack. Peat was used as a fuel across the Western Isles. The peat was cut from peat bogs in blocks and then left to dry before being used


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Black House and Peat, Port of Ness, Lewis

ROSS: Barvas

peat; fuel; houses; dwellings; buildings; craftsed

Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library

I F Grant Photographic Archive

Black houses were common across the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. The houses were long and narrow with an outer and inner wall of un-mortared stones. The gap between the two walls was filled with earth and peat. The roof was usually thatched and based on a wooden frame which rested on the inner wall of the house. This meant there was a wall ledge all the way around the outside of the house. There was generally no chimney and old thatch which had been smoked by the peat smoke was used as a good fertiliser. The family lived at one end of the black house while their animals were housed at the other.<br /> <br /> The term 'black house' does not come from the dark and smoky atmosphere inside the house. Instead the term was used to distinguish the old houses from the new houses introduced at the end of the 19th century. These new houses were covered with white lime wash and became known as 'white houses'.<br /> <br /> Outside the house in this photograph there is a peat stack. Peat was used as a fuel across the Western Isles. The peat was cut from peat bogs in blocks and then left to dry before being used <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: central.edsc.library@edinburgh.gov.uk">Edinburgh Central Library</a><br />