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TITLE
Ardnamurchan settlement, with blackhouse
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_859_20_0308
PLACENAME
Ardnamurchan
DISTRICT
Ardnamurchan
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ARGYLL: Ardnamurchan
PERIOD
20c
CREATOR
M E M Donaldson
SOURCE
Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)
ASSET ID
9953
KEYWORDS
Ardnamurchan
blackhouses
black house
black houses
Argyll
Ardnamurchan settlement, with blackhouse

This photograph, taken in the first half of the 20th century by M.E.M. Donaldson, shows a settlement in Ardnamurchan. In the foreground is an example of a blackhouse.

The origin of the term 'blackhouse' is confused, having derived from two phonetically similar Gaelic words, 'dubh' (black) and 'tugadh' (thatched). 'Blackhouses' were simple, single-storey, thatched dwellings, built to protect the inhabitants from a rigorous climate. In good weather, it was normal for the residents to live outdoors. The thatch was made from grass, heather, barley straw or rushes, depending on local availability. The fire was set in the middle of the room, to provide maximum heat to all the household.

The door of a blackhouse was never locked as Highlanders believed they had a moral obligation to welcome strangers and provide hospitality for friends and neighbours. A key, therefore, was associated with inhospitality and meanness.

The photographer, Mary Ethel Muir Donaldson, was born in 1876 and came to the Highlands around 1908. She travelled extensively around the North and West Highlands, writing and taking photographs. Between 1912 and 1949 she produced many books on the social history and customs of the area. She died in a nursing home in Edinburgh in 1958, but was buried in Oban.


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For further information about purchasing and prices please email the
Highland Photographic Archive quoting the External ID.

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Ardnamurchan settlement, with blackhouse

ARGYLL: Ardnamurchan

20c

Ardnamurchan; blackhouses; black house; black houses; Argyll

Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)

M E M Donaldson Collection

This photograph, taken in the first half of the 20th century by M.E.M. Donaldson, shows a settlement in Ardnamurchan. In the foreground is an example of a blackhouse. <br /> <br /> The origin of the term 'blackhouse' is confused, having derived from two phonetically similar Gaelic words, 'dubh' (black) and 'tugadh' (thatched). 'Blackhouses' were simple, single-storey, thatched dwellings, built to protect the inhabitants from a rigorous climate. In good weather, it was normal for the residents to live outdoors. The thatch was made from grass, heather, barley straw or rushes, depending on local availability. The fire was set in the middle of the room, to provide maximum heat to all the household. <br /> <br /> The door of a blackhouse was never locked as Highlanders believed they had a moral obligation to welcome strangers and provide hospitality for friends and neighbours. A key, therefore, was associated with inhospitality and meanness.<br /> <br /> The photographer, Mary Ethel Muir Donaldson, was born in 1876 and came to the Highlands around 1908. She travelled extensively around the North and West Highlands, writing and taking photographs. Between 1912 and 1949 she produced many books on the social history and customs of the area. She died in a nursing home in Edinburgh in 1958, but was buried in Oban. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email the<br /> <a href="mailto: photographic.archive@highlifehighland.com">Highland Photographic Archive</a> quoting the External ID.