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TITLE
Hydro-Electric Exhibition at Shieldaig
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_12_028
PLACENAME
Shieldaig
DISTRICT
Lochcarron
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Applecross
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
9063
KEYWORDS
hydro-electric
van
Shieldiag
exhibition
Hydro-Electric Exhibition at Shieldaig

By the mid-1950s electricity was reaching the smallest communities and even isolated houses in the Highlands, with miles of hydro lines and poles stretching out to the most remote areas. Contrary to some early views that the Highlanders were happy with their 'cruise' lamps, such a high percentage of households wanted electricity as soon as possible, that the North of Scotland Hydro Board were stretched to get hydro schemes built to meet the demand.

In addition to showrooms in Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree, the Hydro Board wanted everyone to see the new cookers and appliances available, and they travelled out to communities with exhibitions and demonstrations, promoting the use of electricity in everyday life. These exhibitions which usually included a cookery demonstration were often part of the official opening celebrations and always very popular with the public. Electricity was switched on in Shieldaig in 1955. In this photograph, despite the weather, the Hydro Board van has attracted a crowd of onlookers. The Hydro Board also showed how electricity could benefit crofters as well, with demonstrations of sheep shearing, welding, and grain crushing appliances and equipment. The Hydro Board shop became a standard feature of every Highland town, with great sales of appliances and equipment.

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.

The output from the power station at Loch Sloy, west of Loch Lomond, was intended to meet the demand for central and western Scotland. The surplus energy produced here would be used to subsidise the Morar and Lochalsh projects, it being unlikely these smaller schemes could pay their way. The cost of construction of these three projects was estimated at £4,600,000


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Hydro-Electric Exhibition at Shieldaig

ROSS: Applecross

1950s

hydro-electric; van; Shieldiag; exhibition

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

By the mid-1950s electricity was reaching the smallest communities and even isolated houses in the Highlands, with miles of hydro lines and poles stretching out to the most remote areas. Contrary to some early views that the Highlanders were happy with their 'cruise' lamps, such a high percentage of households wanted electricity as soon as possible, that the North of Scotland Hydro Board were stretched to get hydro schemes built to meet the demand.<br /> <br /> In addition to showrooms in Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree, the Hydro Board wanted everyone to see the new cookers and appliances available, and they travelled out to communities with exhibitions and demonstrations, promoting the use of electricity in everyday life. These exhibitions which usually included a cookery demonstration were often part of the official opening celebrations and always very popular with the public. Electricity was switched on in Shieldaig in 1955. In this photograph, despite the weather, the Hydro Board van has attracted a crowd of onlookers. The Hydro Board also showed how electricity could benefit crofters as well, with demonstrations of sheep shearing, welding, and grain crushing appliances and equipment. The Hydro Board shop became a standard feature of every Highland town, with great sales of appliances and equipment.<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 /> The output from the power station at Loch Sloy, west of Loch Lomond, was intended to meet the demand for central and western Scotland. The surplus energy produced here would be used to subsidise the Morar and Lochalsh projects, it being unlikely these smaller schemes could pay their way. The cost of construction of these three projects was estimated at £4,600,000 <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><br />