The principal object of the Group is to advance education for the public benefit in the heritage and history of the Isle of Luing and also, where appropriate, its adjacent, smaller and mainly uninhabited islands, including the Garvellachs, Scarba, Lunga, Torsa, Shuna, Fladda, Belnahua, Rubha Fiola and other small islets.
The Group collates and records historical, ethnological, archaeological, biological, geological and other related information. Documents relating to the History Group, including publication order forms and their rules, are available on the documents page.
Luing Heritage Museum
Luing History Group now has its own permanent display space upstairs in the Atlantic Islands Centre. Themed displays are changed at intervals during the year. At any one time several themes will be on display. A separate study area is provided for genealogical and local history research. A small reference library is being built up over time.
Since the official opening of the Atlantic Islands Centre on 13 June 2015, displays have covered a wide range of themes:
- Education in the parish of Kilbrandon and Kilchattan;
- The 70th anniversary of VE Day and the Wars;
- The Gallipoli hero James Cowan D.C.M. with some material contributed by his great-niece and nephew, who visited Luing at that time;
- Leisure activities on Luing: Flower Shows, football teams and drama groups;
- The Fladda lighthouse and stories of the Attendant Boatmen, and Cuan ferry;
- The Mòd, including photographs of the 4 Luing Mòd Gold Medallists and choirs;
- Achafolla Mill;
- Slate quarrying on Luing;
- Farming on Luing, to accompany the 50th Anniversary of the Luing cattle breed;
- Holy Isle in the Garvellachs and its early Christian monastery;
- Luing and the Battle of the Somme;
- The 1936 shipwreck of Helena Faulbaums and Luing’s Latvian connection.
- A special exhibition at the end of 2016 will look at the Boats of Luing: Past and Present.
Drop-in workshop days are organised from time to time, allowing visitors to share experiences of the events, places and people on display and to look together at online resources, maps and other documents.
Fascinating additions to the archives during 2015 and 2016 have included a copy of the Victorian Admission Register of Achafolla School, and a 1930 photo album and drawing belonging to a trainee Minister at the Cullipool Episcopal Church, Merricks Arnott.
We often have visits by descendants of past islanders keen to see photos of their relatives and find out about their lives. Their many questions about their ancestors and their homes keep us on our toes, but the comments in our visitors’ book are full of praise for the Centre and our exhibitions.
We try to have a volunteer from the island on duty for at least a couple of hours over lunchtime each day to help visitors make the most of their visit and answer their questions.
Michael Fothergill dresses slate at the Luing Slate Festival June 2016.
Events and Activities
The History Group usually holds events a few times each year. In the Autumn an evening event, often a speaker on a topic of interest, then in March the AGM is usually followed by a talk or other event of interest. Recently we’ve had talks about “Argyll in the Stone Age” by Mesolithic archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones and about “Scotland’s Archives” by George MacKenzie, formerly Registrar General and Scotland's Keeper of Records. Information about future events will be posted in Events well beforehand.
New in 2016 have been a series of Local History Walks, visiting the impressive Ballycastle Iron Age fort and its hut circles, and walking the length of a long dyke – probably a march dyke between old farming townships - that winds its way across the north end of Luing. In the future, the History Group is planning a walkover survey of archaeological sites on Luing involving local people, to investigate the island’s ‘history on the ground’.
We are delighted to receive information, artefacts or material relating to the history of Luing and its neighbouring islands.
New members are always welcome to join the Luing History Group, please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Zoe Fleming, 23 Cullipool, Isle of Luing, Oban, Argyll PA34 4UB.
Scottish Government Transport and the Islands Minister Humza Yousaf admires Luing History Group photograph of steamer travel to the old Luing Pier during his visit to the Atlantic Islands Centre, July 2016.