Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: Dundee, Jute, Verdant Works
In the 19th century, Dundee was the world’s largest producer of jute products. Over 50,000 people were employed in more than 100 mills by the end of the century and the population of Dundee had virtually quadrupled from 45,000 to 161,000.
Ideally placed on the Tay estuary, Dundee already had a thriving textile industry, a large whaling fleet and its own shipbuilding industry. They built the big ships needed to bring the raw jute across from India, the whaling industry provided the whale oil necessary for softening the jute fibres ready for processing and the existing textile workers were retrained to process the jute.
Jute is quite a rough fibre and is used to make sacking, burlap, twine, canvas, rope etc. The sails on the ships carrying Scots settlers to new lives in the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand and the tents and covers on the wagons that carried them across these lands were made from jute.
Wars were very popular with the jute barons in Dundee and the 19th century had no shortage of conflicts. These fuelled a great demand for tents, horse blankets, covers for wagons and guns, sandbags and sacks for carrying all sorts of produce.
Although jute production made the mill owners very rich, the mill workers were poorly paid and working conditions were dreadful. Most of the workers were women and children because they could be paid less.
Today there are no working mills in Dundee. Many have been demolished, others turned into housing, offices or social clubs.
Verdant Works is a former working mill which has been converted into a museum by Dundee Heritage Trust. Originally built in 1833 and extended in 1870, it opened as a museum in 1996. Most of the machinery in Verdant Works came from Dundee College of Technology when its textile course closed in the 1980s. Other items were donated by the public. It’s a really interesting place to visit.
Not signposted but definitely worth a visit, the magical landscape of the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye can be stumbled upon if you take the road for Balnacnoc near Uig on the west side of Trotternish.
Like most of Skye’s stunning landscapes, this glen was formed by a series of landslides followed by a period of glaciation.
It’s a great place to relax with a picnic.
Below the bridge, at the side of the river, a fish ladder was built to allow salmon and other fish to reach their spawning grounds upriver. Not all of them realise it’s there, of course, and you can often see salmon leaping up the main falls, usually in the autumn.
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: Linlithgow, St Michael's Church, West Lothian
Built in the 12th century, the church has seen many changes. It was used as a garrison storehouse by King Edward I of England in the years prior to the Battle of Bannockburn. It was badly damaged by a great fire in 1424 and took more than a hundred years to rebuild. Much of the money for its rebuilding came from the Stewart monarchs who liked to worship there.
In 1646, Oliver Cromwell’s roundhead troops arrived in Linlithgow and men and horses were billeted in the church.
Further repair work was needed in the early 1800s when it was realised that some of the ceiling beams were rotten. In 1821 the old stone crown which sat on top of the tower had to be removed because it was too heavy. This crown was eventually replaced in 1964 with a 58 feet tall crown made of light anodised aluminium.
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: Great Bernera, Iron Age Village, Outer Hebrides
The site was excavated in 1996 to reveal a Norse settlement but further digging brought to light an earlier Iron Age village dating from around 500 – 800AD.
Archaeologists removed various animal and fish bones, shells, plant remains and combs from the dig and some of these can be seen at the museum in nearby Breaclete. The site was then covered over with sand once more to preserve the structures.
In 1998, a replica of one of the Iron Age huts was built just inland from the beach. It is comprised of a larger circular building with a central hearth, connected to a smaller circular building which was probably used for storage. A single turf roof covers both buildings. The inside is laid out as it would have been and visitors are welcome for a small fee.
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: Abriachan Gardens, Inverness, Loch Ness
Stunningly situated in the Great Glen by the shores of Loch Ness, just 8 miles south of Inverness, this 4 acre garden will lead you up the woodland path and provide you with fantastic views over the loch.
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: Isle of Lewis, North Lewis Poppy Trail, Outer Hebrides
These photos aren’t exactly picturesque but the story they tell is quite interesting. Large poppies have been placed beside the homes or crofts of the men of North Lewis in the Outer Hebrides who lost their lives in World War One.
It’s shocking to look down whole streets and see these reminders outside nearly every house – not always single flowers but often two, three or four outside individual dwellings. Some villages have 20 to 30 poppies.
The loss of so many young men – sons, brothers, husbands, fathers – must have been devastating to such a rural community. Around a quarter of 900 people from the north of Lewis who served in the war didn’t return. The Trail is a very moving memorial to the men who died.