Makers

'Blind Schools'

The Royal Dundee Institution for the Blind, sale shop, Nethergate, Dundee, 1920s, National Museums of Scotland

There were 'Blind Asylums' in Scotland in all of the main cities. They were founded to provide care and a means of livelihood for the visually impaired of those days.

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Basket works

Kilmuir Hall, Skye, site of former basket 'factory' on Skye

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Baskets for sale

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Crofting

11. First row of weaving on rounded side

Crofting is a form of land holding designed to protect tenants and is common in the Western Isles, Skye,¬†Shetland¬†and some areas of the Highlands. Basket making was part of a crofter's life. Willows were grown on every croft and protected from grazing animals, sometimes by stone walls. This was usually done in the winter months…

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Domestic

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Fishing

John McGhie making a scull

A whole variety of baskets were needed for the fishing industry. These ranged from highly adaptable and regionally variable sculls, murlins and rips to very precise and prescriptive herring quarter crans (used for carrying and measuring fish). There were also creels, which fish-wives used to carry on their backs when selling fish, often with rips…

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Home industries

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Traveller

Travellers selling baskets near Laggan Locks, Great Glen, Inverness-shire. National Museum of Scotland.

One of the least known groups of basket-makers in Scotland are the Travelling people. We know from historical accounts by authors such as Timothy Neat and from the School of Scottish Studies Archives that, alongside working as tinsmiths and making horn-ware, until recently Travellers made and mended baskets in the Highlands and the west of…

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