Abandoned island homes set to be brought back to life

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ONE THOUSAND abandoned island homes are set to be brought back to life after featuring in a haunting photographic exhibition.

Eerily beautiful pictures of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher.

 

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Eerily beautiful pictures were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher

 

The remarkable images have now led to talks with one of the world’s biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again.

There are about 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland.

 

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There are about 1,000 empty properties in the Western Isles

 

Meanwhile there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands.

A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands’ dwindling rural communities.

Brian Whitington, project manager at the Tighean Innse Gall , said the photographs were “the catalyst” for the ground-breaking project.

 

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Many have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland

 

Members of the Carnegie Trust saw the images and wanted to get involved in a possible rescue project for the homes.

Talking about the exhibition, first shown in Stornoway in 2013, he said: “I think it had a profound effect on people. People thought, ‘how can we not do something with these?’”

He added: “There are 1,000 of these empty properties in the Western Isles and there around 1,000 people waiting for housing in the Western Isles.”

 

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A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn

 

So far they have have been given £50,000 to get the project started and hope to raise hundreds of thousands.

John Maher and Ian Paterson took the pictures for the exhibition.

John said: “The pictures had quite an impact with the people in the Carnegie Trust.

“If it results in some people moving into a renovated home it can’t be looked at in any other way than positive.”

 

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John Maher (pictured) held an exhibition of his work alongside and photographer Ian Paterson

 

The Carnegie Trust is a charitable foundation founded by Scots industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1913.

He was born in Dunfermline, Fife, in 1835 and emigrated with his family to America when he was just 13.

He went on to lead the enormous expansion of the American steel industry and gave away the equivalent of £3bn to charity.

His life has often been referred to as the original ‘rags to riches’ story.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This seems like a very smart thing to do….heritage homes must be saved…..here’s an idea…why not make a TV show about the renovations such as Property Brothers or Fixer Upper here in the states….I’m sure the people of the U.K. would love to watch these kinds of shows as much as we do. Just saying. Just an idea.
    Irene

  2. Great idea…just as long as these homes actually go to local people. And by that I mean folks whose families have been there for generations and who now cannot get a foot on the housing ladder due to the exorbitant prices being paid for holiday homes or ‘the good life’ in scenic locations by wealthy incomers. Please?!!!

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