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TITLE
Opening Day, Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Station
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_4_016
PLACENAME
Storr Lochs
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
DATE OF IMAGE
31 May 1952
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
8626
KEYWORDS
Storr Lochs
hydro-electric
generating station
Clarion of Skye
pipe band
Opening Day, Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Station

Saturday the 31 May 1952 saw the official opening of the Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Scheme. Diginatries and the general public who came along had a beautiful spring day to enjoy the dramatic location of the generating station at the bottom of the steep 107 metre cliff on the shores of Bearreraig Bay. In this photograph, a large group is assembled at the back of the station having descended via the electric railway, or the flight of 647 steps. It was reported in The Clarion of Skye, the local Skye based monthly newspaper, that the opening ceremony was filmed for television by the first BBC team to make a television tour of the Highlands. The Clarion also noted, ' The Portree Pipe Band played rousing selections before and after the opening ceremony, and their presence added a real Island touch to the proceedings '.

The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board received permission to construct a dam and power station at Storr Lochs on the Isle of Skye in 1949. The project combined the waters of Loch Fada and Loch Leathan in the Storr Lochs reservoir, with the generating house below on Bearreraig Bay. Construction began in early 1950, and was commissioned in May 1952. Before this a number of houses in the Broadford area had electricity via underwater cable from Kyle of Lochalsh, sourced at Nostie Bridge power station. In Portree, the Royal Hotel had a small diesel generator which provided some street lighting and a few houses with electricity, while most hotels and some larger houses had their own generators.

The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board was established under the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943. Thomas Johnston presented the Act in the House of Commons, declaring that by harnessing 'the great latent power of the region' it would assist in remedying the ills that affected the Highlands. Johnston told the Commons that 'industries, whether owned nationally or privately, will be and ought to be, attracted to locations in the Highlands, as a result of this measure'.

Ordinary consumers would have priority, then the anticipated large power users, and any surplus energy would be sold to the national grid. Profits from these sales would help reduce distribution costs to more remote areas, and assist in carrying out measures for the economic development and social improvement of the Highlands. This famous social clause gave recognition that the Hydro Board was envisaged as an instrument for the rehabilitation of northern Scotland, not just an organization to provide electricity.


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Opening Day, Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Station

INVERNESS: Portree

1950s

Storr Lochs; hydro-electric; generating station; Clarion of Skye; pipe band

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

Saturday the 31 May 1952 saw the official opening of the Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Scheme. Diginatries and the general public who came along had a beautiful spring day to enjoy the dramatic location of the generating station at the bottom of the steep 107 metre cliff on the shores of Bearreraig Bay. In this photograph, a large group is assembled at the back of the station having descended via the electric railway, or the flight of 647 steps. It was reported in The Clarion of Skye, the local Skye based monthly newspaper, that the opening ceremony was filmed for television by the first BBC team to make a television tour of the Highlands. The Clarion also noted, ' The Portree Pipe Band played rousing selections before and after the opening ceremony, and their presence added a real Island touch to the proceedings '.<br /> <br /> The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board received permission to construct a dam and power station at Storr Lochs on the Isle of Skye in 1949. The project combined the waters of Loch Fada and Loch Leathan in the Storr Lochs reservoir, with the generating house below on Bearreraig Bay. Construction began in early 1950, and was commissioned in May 1952. Before this a number of houses in the Broadford area had electricity via underwater cable from Kyle of Lochalsh, sourced at Nostie Bridge power station. In Portree, the Royal Hotel had a small diesel generator which provided some street lighting and a few houses with electricity, while most hotels and some larger houses had their own generators.<br /> <br /> The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board was established under the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943. Thomas Johnston presented the Act in the House of Commons, declaring that by harnessing 'the great latent power of the region' it would assist in remedying the ills that affected the Highlands. Johnston told the Commons that 'industries, whether owned nationally or privately, will be and ought to be, attracted to locations in the Highlands, as a result of this measure'.<br /> <br /> Ordinary consumers would have priority, then the anticipated large power users, and any surplus energy would be sold to the national grid. Profits from these sales would help reduce distribution costs to more remote areas, and assist in carrying out measures for the economic development and social improvement of the Highlands. This famous social clause gave recognition that the Hydro Board was envisaged as an instrument for the rehabilitation of northern Scotland, not just an organization to provide electricity. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>