Tiree blacksmiths in the 20th century
Sound clip in English of retired vet Robert Beck talking about the blacksmiths on Tiree in the 20th century.
Courtesy of Mr Robert Beck
Retired veterinary surgeon Robert Beck talks about the number of blacksmiths on Tiree within living memory during a public talk on the subject of Scotland’s native horse given at the 1997 Feis Thiriodh. In 1945 there were over four hundred working horses on the island providing ample work for eight smiddies.
The Tiree Clydesdale was in great demand in the early 20th century especially for work in the towns. Derived from cross-breeding a superior type of native pony introduced to Tiree in the early 1800s with Clydesdales brought in by Tom Barr in the 1870s, they were tougher and faster than mainland-bred draught horses.
Many crofters kept one or two brood mares which were also worked. Three stallions, two Clydesdale and one Highland pony, ‘walked’ the island, kept by Hector Campbell of Cornaigmore, John MacLean of the Brae, Cornaigbeg and Donald MacIntyre of Gott.