Ex­hi­bi­tion is a tri­umph of com­mu­nity spirit

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

A SLATE Is­lands ex­hi­bi­tion en­ti­tled, 200 years of is­land com­mu­nity: peo­ple, his­tory, change and re­newal, on the isles of Seil, Eas­dale and Lu­ing, im­pressed vis­i­tors with its wealth of re­search at Seil Hall in El­len­abe­ich over the week­end of Oc­to­ber 22-23.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, or­gan­ised by the Scot­tish Slate Is­lands Her­itage Trust, based in the El­len­abe­ich Mu­seum, brought to­gether ‘a blitz of re­search’ gath­ered by 10 au­ton­o­mous teams, com­pris­ing at least 25 lo­cal vol­un­teers.

The trust’s chair­man, Michael Shaw, told The Oban Times be­fore the event: ‘ Peo­ple came into the mu­seum with re­search but we did not have room in our tiny mu­seum, so we de­cided to have an ex­hi­bi­tion.

‘ The whole project has at­tracted so much at­ten­tion in the com­mu­nity. It has pulled every­one to­gether.

‘ I hope it is go­ing to last as a real legacy, and I hope we will have more peo­ple in­ter­ested in our his­tory and cre­ate a co­her­ent plan for sav­ing it.’

The re­searchers’ ta­ble dis­plays, which filled the hall, in­cluded a sur­vey of the slate in­dus­try build­ings on Eas­dale, a his­tory of the gar­dens at An Cala and a pre­sen­ta­tion by Lu­ing His­tory Group.

Iso­belle Smith of Balvicar ex­hib­ited sto­ries of her is­land family – from her great-grand­fa­ther Wil­liam, an en­gi­neer in the slate quar­ries, through her grand­fa­ther An­gus, who kept the shop in Balvicar, and her un­cle Bil­lie, who ran the is­land’s bus com­pany, trans­port­ing peo­ple, news­pa­pers, bacon and even live calves tied up to their necks in bags.

Speaking at the ex­hi­bi­tion, Ms Smith said: ‘ It has been very suc­cess­ful. It has stim­u­lated the in­ter­est that I hoped it would.

‘ We are go­ing to do this again be­cause so many peo­ple are com­ing with mem­o­ries.

‘ It is im­por­tant th­ese things get recorded be­cause it is the so­cial his­tory of the is­land.’ If you missed the ex­hi­bi­tion, The

Oban Times can re­veal some of the high­lights be­low.

15_T45_ Seil ex­hi­bi­tion in­tro_ 02_ Seil Hall

The Slate Is­lands ex­hi­bi­tion, cre­ated by lo­cal vol­un­teers, look­ing at 200 years of is­land com­mu­nity: peo­ple, his­tory, change and re­newal on the is­lands, proved to be ex­tremely pop­u­lar.

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