History in Structure

1 Easdale Island

A Category C Listed Building in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.2919 / 56°17'30"N

Longitude: -5.6537 / 5°39'13"W

OS Eastings: 173995

OS Northings: 717046

OS Grid: NM739170

Mapcode National: GBR DDF2.T7T

Mapcode Global: WH0H2.430X

Plus Code: 9C8P78RW+PG

Entry Name: 1 Easdale Island

Listing Name: 1 Easdale Island

Listing Date: 28 August 1980

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395478

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48054

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200395478

Location: Kilbrandon and Kilchattan

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Parish: Kilbrandon And Kilchattan

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Earlier 19th century. Single storey, 5-bay, rectangular-plan improved cottage, originally 2. Harled whinstone and slate rubble.

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 5-bay regular fenestration.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 4-bay, modern timber panelled door to 3rd bay, 5th bay obscured by abutting building.

NW (SIDE) ELEVATION: harled gable end.

Statement of Interest

B Group with Easdale Island numbers: Harbour Breastwork; 2,3,4,5; 8,100,6; Drill Hall; 9; 11,11A, 11B; 12; 12A; 13; 15; 32,18,19; 29; 23; 24; 31,33A, 33; 34,35; 41,42,43,44; 47; 48; 36; 50,51,52,53,54; Coalery; 55, ordered to follow the original numbering from east to west across Easdale Island, not in actual numeric order. Easdale Island houses were built as accommodation for slate quarriers and their families. The earliest houses were built when the first permanent workers were brought in to work the quarries by the Marquis of Breadalbane's Marble and Slate Company of Netherlorn in 1745. For further information on the history of the island and its slate industry see Notes to Harbour Breastwork. These were cottages of one or two rooms, unglazed with central hearths and thatched with reeds or heather. In the late eighteenth century the company agreed to supply slate for roofing the cottages. The cottages being given the small and poorly shaped slates that could not be shipped. The older slate roofs in Easdale having unusually small slates. At this time coal was also introduced to replace peat as fuel with the introduction of gable end chimney flues and stacks. The cottages found today date from this period, early to mid nineteenth century, through to the slate quarries peak in the mid to late nineteenth century, when the quarries were leased to the Easdale Slate Company. The cottages follow the simple, efficient 'improved cottage' form of estate cottages from this period across Scotland, whereby symmetry, gable end chimneystacks, proper flooring and solid masonry were applied to traditional dwelling type. Each house was originally of the same basic plan inside as well being; a central lobby with closet behind and door to the kitchen /living area on one side and to the bedroom on the other. Many of the cottages have rear gardens with thick slate garden walls. These gardens were cultivated for food in the nineteenth century when the supply of food to the island problematic. It can be noticed that many of the gardens have higher ground levels than the surrounding area. This is because Easdale itself has virtually no top soil so Irish soil was brought from Belfast and Dublin as ballast on return trips, which the quarriers piled up within their walled garden. With over sixty full-time residents Easdale is again a busy community. However, there was massive depopulation following the closure of the quarries in 1915. The Breadalbane family sold the island in 1930 with the island going into further decline until purchased by a Donald Dewar in 1950. Dewar hastened the ruination of the island with removal of many of the slate roofs to avoid paying rates on the buildings. The island was then bought by Peter Fennell in the 1970s when the majority of the buildings were in ruins. Fennell restored and rebuilt many of the houses with the help of local craftsmen. Fennell then sold them as individual feudal plots as people returned to the island in the 1980s.

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