10.9 Industry

Concentrating specifically on Industrial archaeology, John Hume published his Industrial Archaeology of Scotland in 1977. In a similar manner to the Inventory he provided brief descriptions of many industrial sites in Argyll with grid references and photographs. Hume highlighted the 18th-century charcoal-iron industry in Argyll and the dominance there of distilling, mining and quarrying (Hume 1977, 146). He noted that the once flourishing herring industry had declined, although Oban, Campbelltown and Tarbet were still significant fishing ports. There are descriptions of a wide variety of structures including the Crinan canal, bridges, railway stations, ironworks, coach houses, mines, harbours, piers, lighthouses, bonded warehouses, water wheels, horse-gins, mills and quarries. At one time Argyll was at the forefront of industrial technology as the Kinlochleven Aluminium works, built in 1905-9, was powered by the largest hydro-electric power station of its day, but closed in 1996 (Hume 1977, 157). Hume often visited these sites shortly after they had become derelict and so photographed machinery still in place, often just before the buildings were demolished or renovated. In the late 20th century the archive of the Scottish Industrial Archaeology Survey (formerly in the University of Strathclyde) and the Scottish Office aerial photographic unit collections were both transferred to RCAHMS, thus bringing these resources under one roof.

Industries also include kelp burning, water power/wind, iron works (Bonawe, Glen Kinglass), distilling (eg Kinloch, Hunter Blair 2011, 576), quarrying, (slate on Easdale), marble on Iona), mining (Strontian and Lurga lead mines), gunpowder works (Melfort), boat building, textiles, spinning and weaving.


Read the related case studies:




Read the Case Study:  Bonawe and Inverary Iron Furnaces 


Read the Case Study:  Lead Mining on Islay