About the photographic collections
The Small Isles photographic archives
The Small Isles have a fantastic resource in terms of photographs spanning a period of over 200 years. The islands' history societies have been collecting these from island familes, early photographers' records and various archives for a number of years, with the Eigg History Society leading the way.
Click on the orange text at the top of the collection to expand the collection.
In the last decade for instance, Comunn Eachdraidh Eige, the Eigg History Society, has collected, copied and archived over 3000 island photographs spanning the period 1880 – 1960. The photographs come from individual photographic collections both from island families and from people who visited the island. They also include copies of material held in national archives. All these are now organised into a comprehensive archive which is cross-referenced with background detail and oral history recorded from the island's oldest inhabitants.
Most of the collections on this page are from the Eigg archive, but we are working on adding collections from the other islands.
All the archive photographs in these collections can be searched by subjects using the tag facility located on the sub menu found on the right when clicking on the Photographic Collection button.
1. Barbara Barrie Collection
Barbara Barrie is the daughter of James Greig, who was Head Forester on Eigg for the Runcimans from 1926 to 1939, and Morag MacKinnon, daughter of John MacKinnon of Bayview, Cleadale (sister of Dugald MacKinnon). Previously, James Greig had been forester for the Runcimans on their Doxford estate in Northumberland.
James’s father, Andrew Greig, had been Head Forester for the Dawyck estate in Stobo in Peebleshire and then on the Powerscourt estate in Ireland. After working for his father on the Powerscourt estate for some years, James decided to leave Ireland and took up a job on the Doxford estate in...
2. Duncan MacKay Collection
Duncan Mackay and his sister Katie Ann were both unmarried and lived together in their father’s croft house in Cleadale. Duncan worked most of his life on the Eigg estate farms, and can be seen frequently in other collections in this context. He seems to have been both shepherd and ploughman. There is a fine picture of the two of them by Eric Ellington in Judy Urquhart’s Eigg (1987), p. 103. Katie Ann died at home in Cleadale in 1987, and Duncan died in a home for the elderly off the island in the early 1990s. There was a third unmarried...
3. Ann Raith Collection
Ann Raith of Edinburgh, has loaned a remarkable hand-made album of photographs taken by her father during a family visit to Eigg in June 1936. The album consists of sheets of black paper bound at one end with a bootlace. It is a work of great ingenuity. On the front cover are the words “EIGG – 1936”. The album is a photographic chronicle of their holiday from the time they arrived at Mallaig pier on 12th June until their return home to Edinburgh in 26th June. The photographs are captioned in white ink on the black paper.
Also provided by Ann are transcripts...
4. Iain McGowan Collection
Iain McGowan, photographer from South Mundham near Chichester, took 1,253 black and white pictures on 37 rolls of film between1980 and 1987 during his regular visits to Eigg. From his contact sheets I have selected 94 pictures which he has printed for the archive. The following is Iain’s own introduction to this collection. The captions are largely his own words as well, with some additions. Detailed identifications of people in some of the pictures have been supplied by Eileen Ferguson and Morag MacKinnon, and they are listed at the end. See also his book Hebridian Images (1993), ISBN 1 873319 09 06, published by Creative Monochrome.
5. Jessie MacDonald
In July 2001 Sandra Mathers produced a very large collection of 1,517 photographs from the late Jessie MacDonald (“Big Jessie”) who lived at Port Mor, Muck. The following summary of her life has been compiled by Barbara Barrie from information provided by Ishbel Winning, Jessie MacGowan and Hugh MacKinnon who were also helpful with the Flora and Sarah Campbell Collection.
Jessie, the eldest daughter of John and Ellen MacDonald, was born at Kildonnan Cottage on 16th Jan 1906. It was usual at this time when a woman was expecting a child to go to her mother’s home prior to the birth. A...
6. Hector MacLean Collection
Dr Hector Maclean arrived on Eigg in 1952 and was then doctor for the Small Isles for the next 39 years until he retired in 1991. Previously he had been in general practice in Oban. Dr Maclean and his wife Helen had three sons: Hector who became an airline pilot, Lachlan who was a lobster fisherman and Donald who went into the army. Of the three, Donald is the only one who now lives on Eigg, and it is through him that their father’s collection of slides have been made available. Dr Maclean died in 1995.
Dr Maclean was renowned for his bagpipe...
7. Ann Campbell Collection
Anne first came to Eigg at the age of sixteen with her family from Gourock near Glasgow in 1953. Her father was William Phillip, the headmaster of Gourock High School, and they spent a month in The Tophouse in Cleadale. The house was then run as a holiday house by Hugh and Mary MacKinnon who moved down to the bottom house each year for the summer season. In the party with Anne were her father, William, mother Annie (Nina), brother Jimmy, Anne’s school friend Fionnuala Matthews and Jimmy’s school friend Tommy Butler.
At the time Dodie Campbell was the...
8. Barbara MacNeil Collection
Margaret MacNeil who lives at Ailleagan, Loch-na-H’obe, Northbay, Isle of Barra, HS9 5YQ is the daughter of John MacIsaac, estate shepherd for the Runcimans (see F & S Campbell Collection No. 168). They lived at Laig until 1958 when the family moved to Fort William and he became a lock keeper on the canal.
9. Catriona White Collection
Three photographs were provided in October 2000 on computer discs by Catriona White, Lawrence MacEwen’s sister. The originals of the first two are in a family album she has which probably belonged to her grandmother, Margaret MacEwen, but possibly to her aunt. The album is undated, but these particular pictures are in a group which can be dated to 1913 or 1914 by members of the family who are in them.
10. Sir Steven Runciman Collection
James Cochran Stevenson Runciman, scholar, writer and traveller, was born in 1903 and he died in November 2000. He was the second son of Walter Runciman who was made a viscount in 1937 for his services as a government minister. Walter and Hilda Runciman had five children:
• Walter Leslie (always known as Leslie)
• Margaret (Margie)
• James Cochran Stevenson
• Katherine (Kitty).
Margie was subsequently Mrs Nettleton, then in 1931 Mrs King-Farlow and later Mrs Fairweather. Ruth was subsequently Mrs Molmden and later Mrs Bovill. Kitty was subsequently Lady Farrer and later Lady Lyell. Garry Runciman, the present viscount, is the son of Walter Leslie...
11. Ishbel Anderson Collection
Ishbel Anderson was married in 1954 to the late Donald Anderson who died in 1988 and is buried on Eigg. Donald was the son of Arthur Anderson and Mary MacIntyre. Arthur and Mary married in 1939 and lived in Glasgow. Arthur’s family were from Peterhead, and Mary was from South Uist.
Sadly, both parents died before Donald was two and a half, and he was then fostered in 1930 by Mary MacLeod, who had looked after the boy while his parents were ill. Mary MacLeod was the oldest daughter of the Eigg gamekeeper, Donald MacLeod. (Mary MacIntyre’s mother and Mary MacLeod were...
12. Wade Martins collection
The Wade-Martins family, Peter and Susanna and their two sons Richard and Edward, have been holidaying on Eigg since 1980. They always stayed in Angus MacKinnon’s Tophouse in Cleadale, and bought the house from him in 1995 after he decided to sell. In the intervening 23 years they have taken many pictures of landscapes, friends and family, but surprisingly few of historic interest, probably because they felt it would have seemed intrusive.Peter is responsible however for putting the photographic collection together, which required a huge amount of work and dedication in the years since the setting up of the Eigg History...
13. Camille Dressler Collection
Various photographs collected by Camille Dressler from a number islanders, including Angus and Dugald MacKinnon, in 1998 and later; many of those were used in Eigg, the story of an island (1998)
14. Gary Runciman
The Runciman family owned the island from 1926 until 1966. In 2001 Garry Runciman, the present Viscount, could only find four photographs relevant to Eigg in the family home in London. These are listed as Nos 1 to 4. No. 1 shows the first Viscount Runciman and some members of his family on the steps of their newly completed lodge in the late 1920s. It is a large print, and the picture could well have been taken by a professional photographer. Their daughter Margaret (“Margie”), who became Mrs Fairweather, was the one who landed the plane on Laig beach in the 1930s (see Barbara Barrie Collection...
15. Hugh MacKinnon Collection
Hugh MacKinnon spent all of his working life involved with ferries and the sea. He retired in 1974 and has since lived at “Mingary” in Corpach near Fort William.
Hugh was born on Muck in 1911. His father, John MacKinnon, one of ten children, was a lobster fisherman on Muck and his mother was Catherine Ann MacPherson from Sanna on Ardnamurchan. John had a brother Hector, who was a lobster fisherman on Eigg. Their father was also a fisherman on Muck, although he originally came from Mull. Hugh’s great grandfather, John Maclean, was a tacksman who had the tack in Muck...
16. Peggy Kirk Collection
Peggy is the widow of the late Donnie Kirk, shepherd on the Eigg estate from 1959 to 1962 and then tenant of Laig Farm until his death in 1975. Donnie was the third generation of Kirk to be shepherd on the island, following his father Angus and his grandfather Donald in the same position.
Before moving to Eigg, Donnie’s father Angus had been shepherd on the Glen Lyon Estate in Perthshire, where Donnie was born in 1932. The family moved to Eigg in 1939 when Donnie was seven and they lived on a croft in Cleadale. Donnie had a younger brother Frankie and a...
17. Catherine Kirkton Collection
Catherine Kirton is the daughter of Dugald MacDonald of Sandabheag, who was born in 1879 and died in 1932. Her mother was Henny Ross from Lewis. Dugald and Henny married c.1912. Catherine married Bill Kirton from Glasgow. Dugald MacDonald was the brother of Kate MacDonald (the mother of Dugald MacKinnon of Bayview) and the son of John MacDonald (Iain “Muilleach” – from Mull). Dugald MacKinnon (Bayview) was actually named after his uncle. Catherine’s mother, Henny Ross, came from Lewis to Eigg in the early 1900s to be housekeeper for her sister Naomi Ross who was Eigg school teacher. Naomi married Alex Campbell...
The addition of the Archive to the web has not yet been completed. We are continuing to add collections to the website. If you have any photographs relating to the Small Islesfrom the 20th century, we would love to see them and possibly add them to the archive.