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Tramway (19th Century)

Site Name Easdale

Classification Tramway (19th Century)

Canmore ID 362031

Site Number NM71NW 127.01

NGR NM 73589 17303

NGR Description linear feature

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilbrandon And Kilchattan
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll


Desk Based Assessment (4 October 2019)

This is an original tramway route for moving slate to the harbour. It is depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey [OS] 25-inch map (Argyllshire, surveyed 1871, published 1872, sheet CXXI.7). It would have conveyed slate from Windmill and Hill Quarries to the Harbour as well as dumping waste along the western shoreline.

This tramway is depicted on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey [OS] 25-inch map (Argyllshire, surveyed 1898, published 1899, sheet CXXI.7). It is depicted with an extension serving the western quarries (NM71NW 116, 117 and 118) which were 'opened up' after 1872 and before 1899.

Information from Miriam McDonald, Industrial Survey, Survey and Recording Section, Heritage Directorate, Historic Environment Scotland, 4 October 2019.

Publication Account

Bremner (1869) wrote an account of slate quarrying in the Easdale area and on Easdale Island. The first visitors to Easdale would have collected loose stones. Eventually a more controlled quarrying was undertaken using wooden wedges and water to split the slate exposed on the shore. This was followed by the opening of quarries near to the shore. Whole families were involved in slate removal, with creels on the backs of women used to move the slate to small boats/storage areas. A Newcomen engine was also installed but appeared to have been unprofitable. Horse operated pumps were introduced as a result around 'the beginning of this century' and presumably the use of carts and horses to remove more material than simply by barrowing and by carrying. 'About the year 1807' a windmill was erected to pump Windmill Quarry (NM71NW 114). In 1826 an engine was installed to pump 'three quarries'. Wharves were erected for loading ships. Railway inclines were then built in the quarries of a narrow gauge. Bremner notes that 'these were first worked by horses' but for a number of years they have been worked by steam.

D Bremner, 1869, Granite, Freestone, Pavement and Slate Quarrying section


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