Tarbert, at the end of the 19th century was (and still is) a small fishing village, best known for its herring industry. It was a popular destination for holiday makers from Glasgow, and was captured in many images by the famous George Washington Wilson, one of the most notable photographers of the time, who not only worked as a portrait photographer for wealthy families of Britain, but also as photographer to Queen Victoria. In an age where photography was an emerging technology and cameras were not readily avaiable (and certainly not affordable) for ordinary people, the images captured in throughout Britain, and around the world by GW Wilson are an invalubale record of the areas and the people he visited. 37,0o0 images from his collection of plate glass negatives are held in the University of Aberdeen Photographic Archive and can be viewed and purchased (copies) online.
In GW Washington’s footsteps, James Valentine’s company, Valentines of Dundee were another prolific publisher of topographical views of Scottish towns and villages. The images I have put here are from post cards purchased over many years. Most of them are not in great condition, but perhaps similar images could be purchased from the archival sites. The Stonefeild Castle Hotel in Tarbert has some amazing photos adorning the walls of the old part of the hotel.
Many of these images come from postcards, but my most precious ones came from a cousin in Sydney, Australia. John Crawford’s father, Duncan Crawford, left Tarbert in 1908. Prior to that he had lived with his widowed grandmother, Margaret McDonald, in her little croft in Tarbert. As she farewelled him (in tears) at the pier, she gave him a little booklet of photos, taken by GW Wilson, and one of them, I’m certain is of her husband, Donald McDonald of Gigha, my g-g-g grandfather, sitting at the pier in Tarbert.
I found it was quite a task to locate the images that would help me visualize the life and times of Margaret Galbraith and Donald McDonald, who’s great emigration adventure from Gigha took them only as far as Tarbert. Most of the pictures from the north show their croft at Baluachradch, up on the hill behind the school. Others show the town, images of fishing life or places my Granny, Agnes used to talk about. I am happy to share them, I am presuming since they are all 19th and early 20th century images, widely available on postcards, they are Public Domain and don’t infringe copyright.