Black house, South Uist

  'Black-house type, Pollachar, Isle of South Uist, 1934.   a) The open fireplace is of the simplest form, marked only by an iron chain and hook hanging from the rafters to suspend the pot. Clouds of smoke are hanging night and day among the peat-stained rafters and the rain comes through in tarry drops of black soot.   b) As usual there is no chimney, the smoke escaping through a small hole at the bottom of the roof, another one encroaching upon the wall. Three unglazed windows simply cut into the thickness of the wall are later additions. Both dwelling and byre are rounded at the ends, with a thatch of wheaten straw. The thatch is loosely laid on and the whole roof covered with wire netting and an old fishing net which are kept taut and held down by means of stones, ordinary rope taking the place of skilfully twisted heather and plaited straw. The doorways, which extend to the full height of the walls, are covered by lintel stones laid on the grassy wall tops.'   Dr Kissling's note, 1978   These photographs show the interior and exterior of a black house, and a family group. Dr Kissling recorded the family as 'Alexander MacMillan, his daughter and grandchildren.' In 1958 Dr Kissling also noted: 'The house now stands in ruins and has not been inhabited since about 1945.'   Research note, 2019.   With thanks to the School of Scottish Studies Archives for additional information.
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Creator :
Dr Werner Kissling
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Accession number :
PP/KISSLING COLLECTION, Retrospective 1978/3-4
Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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