Thatched house in Salum
Photograph of John Lachie MacInnes’ thatched house in Salum.
Courtesy of Mr Alan Boyd
J. Morton Boyd photographed John Lachie MacInnes’ house in Salum in the 1960s. This was the last house in Tiree to have its thatch held down by sìoman-ruadh or coir rope. Straw rope was used until the mid-19th century; nowadays chicken wire or plastic netting is used instead.
Tiree houses were made as far as possible from local materials – stone, lime, clay, straw rope and the thatch. Only glass and wood for the roof timbers, doors and windows were imported. They look utterly immovable but nothing could be further from the truth.
Islanders moved around a great deal, either by choice or because the factor gave them no option. The thatch had to be discarded but the turfs and roof timbers were taken down and put into the back of a cart and the stones moved on sledges, load by load, to the new site.
Colour photograph of John Lachie MacInnes`s house in Salum.
John Lachie MacInnes`s house in Salum photographed by Morton Boyd in the 1940s or 1950s.