Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

More on Asbestos on Harris

Further to my previous piece, Asbestos , I have finally found a reference to the presence of asbestos on Harris:

The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal
Vol 4, 1828, p150, footnote to:
Account of Harris, one of the Districts of the Outer Hebrides

Dr MacCulloch mentions the occurrence of asbestos at Nishishee... which he conjectures to have been derived from a bed of serpentine...I found neither asbestos nor serpentine ; but of the former I have seen enough in the country to load an Indiaman. It occurs in a large perfectly isolated mass in granite in the hills of Little Borg, with fragments of gneiss, and their lower parts with peat, upon a subsoil of clay or angular gravel .


This account from 1828 matches precisely the location identified by the later-hand on Bald's map of 1804.
I cannot yet say if the 'Abislos Quarry' (written by the original hand) indicates asbestos quarrying occurring as far back as 1804, but am pleased to have finally found some corroborating evidence to the existence of asbestos on Harris.

I think that the author of this 'Account' was William MacGillivray, who, a the age of 55 in 1851 was living at 159 King Street, Aberdeen. He was 'Professor Of Civil And Natural History In Marischal College And University of Aberdeen, a post he had held for at least a decade.

The Natural History Museum has this entry on a man who, as they say, 'most people today have never heard of...' - William Macgillivray and he is also to be found amongst these Highland Naturalists.

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