Social History

In the earliest days of the slate company all members of the family were expected to take part in the winning of the slate. Children wheeled barrows or carried baskets of finished slate or waste, away from the work face.

By around 1790 mechanisation of the quarries meant that children were no longer required and subsequently schools were established by the Breadalbane Estate for the children of Easdale. Today the island school is long closed and the children now attend the primary school in Ellenabeich, going on to the high school in Oban.

Easdale Side School on Easdale Island

Although life was hard and money scarce the community never lacked entertainment. Social life centred mainly around the various churches in the parish. A woman’s guild, several friendly societies and the volunteers provided not only there specific functions but also through their fund raising activities a continuous source of entertainment such as Sales of work, soirees, ceilidhs, musical concerts, balls, regattas and Highland games were held regularly at Dunmore farm as they are today.

The Friendly Societies were mainly temperance groups formed to combat the rising problems of alcohol consumption. Their other important function was to provide sickness benefit and assistance with funeral expenses.

Picnics were arranged during the good weather and photographs show us that these were attended in splendid garb and the ladies are to be admired for their ability to wear such large hats on Easdale.

Politics engendered little excitement. The Breadalbanes were Whigs and in the later part of the 19th century supported the Liberal Party. The men of Easdale tended to support the Marquis’s party even though, strictly speaking, they were not his employees. At a meeting on the 14th May 1887 they voted in support of Home Rule for Scotland and Ireland. In at least one household there was a supporter of woman’s franchisement leaving to us a badge “VOTES FOR WOMEN”.

Today the refurbished Volunteers Drill hall, now Easdale Island Community Hall, and the Puffer Bar and Restaurant are the main centres of activity. The hall has a thriving arts program that caters for all tastes while keep fit activities, childrens parties, community meetings being just a taste of other pursuits the hall caters for. The Puffer provides food and drink to a very high standard, impromptu music sessions, a darts venue, again are just a small sample of the activities that this small but growing vibrant community indulge in.

Shooglenifty in 2013 at the 10th anniversary of the Hall renovations.

Tap/Click the photos below to enlarge them. Please contact us if you can help fill in the blanks.

1984: 1 Denny Wernham; 2 Paul Wernham; 3 Archie Wernham; 4 Tracey Fleming; 5 Helen McFarlane; 6 Garth Waite; 7 Vicky Waite; 8 Colin Makie; 9 ?; 9a ?; 10 ?; 10a ?; 11 Christine Nichol; 12 Peter Nichol; 13 Wendy Blakey; 14 Ron Blakey; 15 Jack Buchanan; 16 Alice Clayton; 17 Lynn Mackenzie; 18 Hazel Mackenzie; 19 Michael Mackenzie; 20 Lin Swann; 21 ?; 22 Christopher Adams; 23 Judith Adams; 24 Reg Hill; 25 ?; 26 Margaret Long; 27 Johnny MacFadyen; 28 David Adams; 29 ?; 30 Mr Jones; 31 Malcolm Swann; 32 ?; 33 Mrs Jones; 34 ?; 35 Justine Swann; 36 Pippa Wernham; 37 ?; 38 Dewar Fleming; 39 Chris Nicholson.

2003: 1 Fiona Blakey; 2 Mike Mackenzie; 3 Michael Briarley; 4 Phil Bull; 5 Jan Fraser; 6 ?; 7 Jenny Smith; 8 Henry Tarbatt; 9 Tina Jordan; 10 Liz Davies; 11 Blue ?; 12 Colin Blakey; 13 Keith Oversby; 14 Kay Carmichael; 15 Colin Davies; 16 David Donnison; 17 Hugh Fraser; 18 Vivien Stern; 19 Andrew Coyle; 20 Sarah Fairbairn; 21 Ron Blakey; 22 Wendy Blakey; 23 Margaret Lyall; 24 Derek Lyall; 25 Bert Baker; 26 Kay Penman; 27 Michael Baldock; 28 Wendy Baldock; 29 Donald Melville; 30 Grant MacDonald; 31 Maggie MacDonald; 32 Sandra Melville; 33 Ghalia Asaid; 34 ?; 35 Morag McKay; 36 Iain McDougall; 37 Stephen Brown; 38 Dave Rockley; 39 Annabel Gregory; 40 Willie McNee; 41 Geoff Heslop; 42 Billy Robertson; 43 Ross Kerr; 44 Christine Kerr; 45 Hazel Mackenzie; 46 Katya Pfeutzner; 47 Dorte Pfeutzner; 48 Lynn Mackenzie; 49 Leslie Wolfson; 50 Sheena Robertson; 51 ?; 52 Brenda Wallace; 53 Ian Wallace; 54 Petre Withall; 55 Mary Withall; 56 Jean Adams; 57 Allan Laycock; 58 ?; 59?; 60 Jamie Melville; 61 Simon Fraser; 62 ?; 63 Neil Fraser; 64 ?; 65 Craig Robertson; 66 ?; 67 ?; 68 ?; 69 Catriona Melville; 70 Fergus McNally; 71 Robin Blakey; 72 Stephen McNally; 73 Sorley McNalley; 74 Brenda Heslop; 75 Anna Heslop; 76 Willie Fairbairn; 77 Euan Fairbairn; 78 Rosie Collinge; 79 Rosie Noble; 80 Bethan Noble; 81 Alma Wolfson; 82 ?