Arnol Blackhouse Museum, Isle of Lewis

Arnol Blackhouse 

This museum is in an original black house and consequently has the same problems for the baskets as in the old days…a peat fire which coats everything with oily peat smoke and it seriously suffers with damp. There are a few commercially produced small baskets in the house.




To me one of the best items to see here is the huge pile of heather rope….it gives one the idea of just how much was needed for the roofing.

Heather rope in Arnol Blackhouse

I have made two creels for the museum and was asked to copy a fabulous cane long line basket…which I could not. This basket was donated by an islander but we do not know where it was originally made. It was certainly made by a professional basketmaker as the quality of the work is so good. The conditions in the Blackhouse are causing it to degenerate pretty quickly though.


Long liner at Arnol Blackhouse

There are some photos in the museum including a great one of a group of people with creels loaded up with peats which was taken on Lewis.

The Blackhouse Museum on Lewis is managed by Historic Scotland. Blackhouses were straw-roofed dwellings. Inside was a peat fire. There was no chimney. There was a special area for the animals inside.

People carrying creels, Arnol Blackhouse