St Kilda petition



Petition of twenty St Kildans to the Secretary of State for Scotland, requesting evacuation, 10 May 1930. They stated that the population was down to 36 people, and several men had decided to leave that year to find work on the mainland. Without these men to tend the sheep, weave cloth and look after the widows, ‘it would be impossible to stay on the island another winter.’

‘We do not ask to be settled together as a separate community, but in the meantime we would collectively be very grateful of assistance, and transference elsewhere, where there would be a better opportunity of securing our livelihood.’

The petition was also signed by Rev Dugald Munro, the missionary and schoolteacher, and Williamina Barclay, the Queen’s Nurse who had been sent to care for the St Kildans.

The islander’s precarious existence was already well known to the authorities, who finally responded by organising the evacuation. On 29 August the 13 men, 11 women and 12 children were evacuated on HMS ‘Harebell’. Most of them were settled at Lochaline near Oban, while other families went to live at Strome Ferry, Ross-shire, Culcabock near Inverness, and at Culross, Fife.

Source ref: National Records of Scotland, Scottish Office files, AF57/26

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