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Aberfoyle industrial heritage

Look around any Scottish town or village and you'll see the slate tile roofs. Today we mainly use slate from Spain or China; however, until the 1950s, Scotland used its own slate.

This 1st edition Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (1864) shows the mine at Aberfoyle was in operation, but that at this time there were few buildings.

Aberfoyle was the third most important quarry in Scotland and the location of some of the highest quality Scottish slate.

Aberfoyle heritage

How slate was used

In the past, slate was only used for very big important buildings; to build castle roofs for example. Most ordinary people thatched their roof with different natural materials, including straw, grass and heather. By the late 1800s, however, it became normal for everyone to use slate.

Aberfoyle Slate Quarry became a real industry in the early 1800s. The quarry was in a remote, difficult to reach location. As a result, the men who worked at the quarry also had to live there. In the early days, they lived in a wooden bunkhouse, but by the 1890s the Aberfoyle Slate Company had built several rows of houses for them and their families to live in.

The houses were known as The Aberfoyle Cottaries and they soon became a small village, which even had its own school. Today, only the Hill Cottage still stands - the rest of the village is gone. In 1891, William MacKenzie, the quarry foreman, lived in Hill Cottage, the first house built at the quarry.


Storyteller Jess Smith shares a local legend.

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