Associated People: Stanford, Mr Edward C. Cortis, Tiree (1837 - 1899)


Typed copy of Edward Curtis-Stanford`s journal 1864

Copy of hand-typed transcript of the journal of Edward Charles Cortis-Stanford dated 3rd January 1864, about his seaweed processing factory at Middleton/Sandaig.

Click here to view 2013.104.5


A history of Edward Curtis Standford on Tiree

Print-out of a talk about the history of chemist Edward Stanford and the kelp industry on Tiree in the late 1800s, presented at the 2013 Feis, plus accompanying lists, documents, papers, letters etc relevant to Stanford and seaweed processing industry in Scotland and Tiree.


Mounted news article about Edward Charles Cortis-Stanford – pioneer of the Scottish seaweed industry

Laminated and mounted newspaper article regarding Edward Cortis-Stanford`s seaweed industry in the Scottish islands, including Tiree, in the 1800s. Was on display in the Thatched Cottage Museum, Sandaig, until its closure and sale in 2010. In two panels with copper hanging wire.


The seaweed factory at Middleton

Photograph of the remains of the seaweed factory at Middleton.


Courtesy of Mr Donald MacKinnon

The kelp forests around Tiree are the fourth largest in Scottish waters. This abundance fuelled the seaweed industry on the island which, for a hundred years, produced alkali for soap and glass manufacture, and for bleaching linen.

Undercut by cheap foreign imports, the industry slumped from the 1830s until the 1860s when the North British Chemical Company appointed as manager a brilliant young chemist, Edward Curtis-Stanford. He arrived in Tiree in 1864 to supervise the building of the factory at Middleton, known locally as the Glassary.

Until 1901 the factory extracted iodine and alginates from the tangles, selling the residual charcoal as fertilizer and deodorants for earth closets, and using the gas produced by the process to light the buildings. Most of the factory was demolished in 1941 to provide the foundations of the runways built at the Reef for the RAF station.

Black and white photograph of the old seaweed factory at Middleton.

The old seaweed factory at Middleton in the early 20th century.