April 2014

Electricity comes to Lismore.

Images, objects and documents from the Collections relating to the coming of mains electricity to Lismore in 1970.

In spite of the post war ambitions of Tom Johnston to bring progress to the Highlands by electrification, quarter of a century would elapse before the current reached Lismore by cable from Port Appin.

Electricity men at point

The Line from Port Appin

electricty point several men

Coming ashore at Point

Up to that time, islanders had to rely on a mixture of paraffin, calor gas and diesel-generated electricity for lighting, heating and power.  Mains electricity offered a simplification of life and a reduction in the time and effort to bring fuel from the mainland.

The light goes on at 3 Newfield Terrace

The light goes on at 3 Newfield Terrace

Saturday 31 October 1970 at the home of Donald John and Margaret MacDonald (3 Newfield Terrace), Michael Noble (MP for Argyll & Minister for Trade) turned on the first mains electric light on Lismore.  The MacDonald house was one of the first 6 to be connected and there were 61 households to go.  Also in the picture,  Peggy (9), Lachie (5½),  Tom Fraser(at back, chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board) and Mr Mathieson (Convenor Argyll County Council).  The visit to Margaret’s home followed an official reception at the school (during which islanders took the opportunity to take the convenor to task for spending money on chartering the “Claymore” for the visit rather than dealing with the potholes on Lismore’s roads). (Oban Times 5 November 1970).

Connection to mains electricity involved quite a lot of expense, as shown by the estimate from the Baligrundle 1 archive (September 1969):

Electricity Bill

Electricity Installation Bill

Items from the Object Collection

Bakelite electrical fittings from BaligrundleChurch  LISDD:2006. 71, 72, 75, 76



Paraffin Lamp from Balimakillichan


Paraffin heater from Baligrundle Church LISDD:2006.77


Petrol-fuelled smoothing iron from Daisybank House LISDD:2012. 158