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34 Easdale Island

Date 6 May 2010

Event ID 915064

Category Management

Type Site Management

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/915064

One of a pair of semi-detached, single storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, symmetrical improved cottages, NE facing. Harled whinstone and slate rubble. Small 4-pane, timber, sash and case windows, boarded timber doors. Coped gablehead stacks, grey slates, lead flashing.

Easdale Island houses were built as accommodation for slate quarriers and their families.

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. (Historic Scotland)

Easdale forms part of "the Slate Islands" along with Luing, Seil and Belnahua, noted from 1631 as suppliers of the finest slates. Urban growth ensured prosperity for Scottish slate's industry for much of the 19th century, although latterly suffering from competition from Welsh slate. (J.Butt)

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