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TITLE
Opening Day, Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Station
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_5_030
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
8703
KEYWORDS
Storr Lochs
hydro-electric
generating station
Lady Rachel Stuart
Tom Johnston
James Stuart
Clarion of Skye
Lord Macdonald
Dame Flora MacLeod
Opening Day, Storr Lochs Hydro-Electric Station

On a beautiful sunny 31st May 1952, Lady Rachel Stuart officially opened the Storr Lochs hydro-electric scheme as reported in the Clarion of Skye, the local monthly newspaper, 'amid general applause from the crowds inside and outside the powerhouse, as the hum of turbines was heard'. Lady Stuart was the wife of recently appointed Secretary of State for Scotland, James Stuart who was also in attendance. The Clarion reports that Mr Stuart, in his speech, spoke of ' the importance of agriculture and the future development of subsidiary industries in this Island ' particularly the importance of tourism and forestry with all these greatly enhanced by the hydro-electric development.

In this photograph, Lady Stuart is watched by Tom Johnston (to her right), Chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. Various local dignitaries had assembled for this occasion including Lord Macdonald, Chair of the Skye District Council. He is seen here, seated left in the first row, with Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod peering over his shoulder.

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; Lady Rachel Stuart; Tom Johnston; James Stuart; Clarion of Skye; Lord Macdonald; Dame Flora MacLeod

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

On a beautiful sunny 31st May 1952, Lady Rachel Stuart officially opened the Storr Lochs hydro-electric scheme as reported in the Clarion of Skye, the local monthly newspaper, 'amid general applause from the crowds inside and outside the powerhouse, as the hum of turbines was heard'. Lady Stuart was the wife of recently appointed Secretary of State for Scotland, James Stuart who was also in attendance. The Clarion reports that Mr Stuart, in his speech, spoke of ' the importance of agriculture and the future development of subsidiary industries in this Island ' particularly the importance of tourism and forestry with all these greatly enhanced by the hydro-electric development.<br /> <br /> In this photograph, Lady Stuart is watched by Tom Johnston (to her right), Chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. Various local dignitaries had assembled for this occasion including Lord Macdonald, Chair of the Skye District Council. He is seen here, seated left in the first row, with Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod peering over his shoulder.<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>