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Easdale Island, the Drill Hall

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.2919 / 56°17'30"N

Longitude: -5.6544 / 5°39'15"W

OS Eastings: 173953

OS Northings: 717055

OS Grid: NM739170

Mapcode National: GBR DDF2.SW4

Mapcode Global: WH0H2.33PW

Entry Name: Easdale Island, the Drill Hall

Listing Date: 28 August 1980

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395486

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48057

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kilbrandon and Kilchattan

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Find accommodation in
Ellanbeich

Description

EASDALE ISLAND, THE DRILL HALL Mid 19th century. Single storey, square-plan with pyramidal roof, former drill hall. Slate and whinstone coursers.

NW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: broad rectangular entrance to centre.

SE (REAR) ELEVATION: obscured by abutting building.

NE (SIDE) ELEVATION: far right obscured by abutting building.

INTERIOR: not seen 2001.

SW (SIDE) ELEVATION: blank.

Boarded rooflights, predominantly felt roofing tiles some slates to NW, lead flashing.

Statement of Interest

B Group with numbers: Harbour Breastwall; 1; 2,3,4,5; 8,100,6; 9; 11,11A, 11B; 12; 12A; 13; 15; 32,18,19; 23; 24; 29; 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 (the term Easdale slate includes the slate islands of Seil and Luing) was the centre of the Scottish slate industry from the sixteenth century through to a peak in the late nineteenth century. The seventeenth century roofs of Ardmaddy, Cawdor and Stalker castles being of Easdale slate, predating the earliest Ballachulish slates. However, systematic industry and settlement on the island dates from 1745 when the island's owner John Campbell, Earl of Breadalbane set up the Marble and Slate Company of Netherlorn. Over a million slates were manufactured in that year alone. From this time through to the late nineteenth century it is common to see Easdale slates referred to in building descriptions, inventories and building contracts across Scotland (see the first and second Statistical Accounts). The company was dissolved in 1866 and the various quarries came under new separate ownership. The lease for Easdale being bought by a consortium of Glasgow merchants who formed the Easdale Slate Quarrying Company, their company logo can still sometimes be discerned stencilled on old slates. Commercial production stopped in 1915 with the slate beds running out or too unsafe depths (the Windmill Quarry ran to over 150ft below sea level) and with no rail links Easdale could not compete with cheaper competition from Wales and Westmoreland. With much of the regular army engaged in Imperial wars with the French Emperor Louis Napoleon throughout the mid nineteenth century volunteer forces were raised by the Scottish regiments to defend the more isolated areas of coastline. With more than 500 men employed by the Easdale Marble and Slate Company it was logical that the first volunteer force established by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was at Easdale. Quarriers were encouraged to enlist by the company and island's owner, Lord Breadalbane, who provided the Drill Hall. A battery was also built on the west side of the island overlooking the Firth of Lorn and equipped with cannons from the Clyde naval yard, discarded after ship refits. The volunteers were run until the closure of the quarries in when most of the young men were forced to leave the island for work. Since then it has been used as a storehouse, a fish processing plant and a community centre. A similar Drill Hall was built across on the mainland at Ellanabeich. For further information see separate listing for Easdale Harbour Quays.

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