12. Housing and public health

When Thomas Pennant visited Skye in 1772 he called on Sir Alexander Macdonald's piper, Macarthur — one of the hereditary pipers of the Macdonald family, who held the lands of Peingown, Kilmuir, in respect of their services. The traveller describes the piper's abode thus:—
"His dwelling, like many others in this country, consists of several apartments; the first for his cattle during winter, the second is his hall, the third for the reception of strangers, and the fourth for the lodging of his family; all the rooms within one another" (Tour in Scotland, ii., 347).
It is not clear how all the rooms were within one another; but it is obvious from the description that the whole buildings consisted of one structure, each part being devoted to a particular purpose. Houses of the type described have long since ceased to exist in Skye, but it is melancholy to think that houses of even a more primitive character, and that in very large numbers, exist in Lewis to the present day. The piper's house consisted of four divisions, but a large number of the Lewis houses had only one, the cattle being accommodated in one end and the human beings in the other.

About 1830 Seaforth sought to put an end to this state of matters, and ordered a partition to be erected between human beings and cattle, "and that more light should be admitted into the dark recesses of their habitations." In several instances reformation then took place, "but sorely against the wishes of the people."

However, a beginning was made, and in course of time minor improvements were generally effected. It became a common thing to find a low stone wall, or partition, separating the part of the building occupied by the family from that occupied by the cattle. A further improvement which followed was the partitioning of a bed-chamber from the "central hall." In this bed-chamber male and female slept, and so common had been the practice, that one of a series of rules issued by Sir James Matheson for the better management of the estate was specially designed to put an end to it.

These rules are 58 in number, are all in Gaelic, and bear no date. The 48th rule specified the type of house which the tenants were to build, and one clause ran thus:—
"Bithidh mar an ceudna aitean cadail fa leth, aig na firionaich na boirionnaich, (There shall likewise be sleeping apartments for the men separate from those occupied by the women.)
It may be well to describe in some detail the type of house which the new regulation was intended to supersede.

The old Lewis house was, as a rule, an oblong structure, varying in length according to the means and requirements of the occupier. It had one door, but frequently it had no windows. Chimneys did not find favour, as any opening for the escape of smoke tended to reduce the quantity of soot, which was regarded as a valuable manurial product. Accordingly, if there was a hole in the roof to admit light, a pane of glass was fixed into it. It soon had a coating of soot, and admitted little light. All the sun light in the dwelling was admitted through it and by the doorway when the door happened to be open. The family and the cattle entered by the same door; and the cow dung was removed only once a, year — in the spring time. If one entered such a house in the month of May, after the crops had been sown and the manure cleared out, he would have to descend a foot or more from the level of the door-step to the floor, thence onward towards the portion occupied by the family, when he would have to step up a foot or so to reach the level of that floor. Later on in the season, the visitor would find that the cow-dung, to which a considerable quantity of sea-ware and earth had bee added, was on a level with the door-step. Towards the beginning of spring the manure heap rose considerably above that level, and the visitor would have to get to the top o a, plateau, and thereafter descend into the family circle.

When the spring tillage began, the manure was carried away in creels to the arable land, or, if the tenant had a horse and cart, the gable of the house was pulled down, and the cart backed in, loaded, and driven away. These operations liberated noxious and poisonous gases from the decomposing mass, which only those accustomed to them from their youth could bear. Even residents to whom they did not appear offensive sometimes succumbed to the pestilence spread around, for after the spring work was over, "dung fever" not infrequently manifested itself, and claimed its victims.

The walls of this primitive dwelling were generally about five feet thick. They consisted of an outer and an inner wall after the fashion of the old northern brochs; but instead of having an intervening passage as in the case of the brochs, the cavity was filled up with earth. This earth served the purpose of mortar, and prevented the wind from blowing through the open rubble work. The couples and cabers of the roof started from the inner wall, and these in turn were covered with layers of divots and straw. The roof was by no means impervious to rain, which, as it oozed through, became thickened and blackened with soot, and often fell in heavy drops on the inmates. Such of the rain as did not find its way through the roof ran down to the earth forming the centre of the wall and percolated through it to the foundation. The walls were thus kept perpetually damp. The smoke through the open stone work of the inner-wall on the one hand, and the rain from the roof on the other, fertilised the earth forming the centre, with the result that it produced a, luxuriant crop of green grass. This afforded a tempting bite to a hungry cow or sheep; and it was no uncommon thing to see a quadruped climb up to the sort of balcony at the base of the roof of the older houses and walk along the same, greedily devouring the grass before it.

The roof with all the soot adhering was stripped to the cabers, and the whole mass used as manure, or as a form of top-dressing. Its fertilising properties were considered valuable, and certainly the land to which this material was applied yielded good crops for the soil of Lewis. The process, however, had its disadvantages, for on every occasion on which the old divots forming part of the thatch were used for manure, a new supply had to be got from the hillside. This was highly detrimental to the grazing, large strips of the surface being annually filched, and requiring several years before a new crop of grass or heather appeared. The earth added to the manure during the season was also taken from the hillside. In this case all the earth was frequently removed and nothing but the bare stones left. Grass did not grow there again. This is the Lewis equivalent to the Shetland "scalping "— a, process which has proved highly injurious to Shetland grazings and which most Shetland landowners have endeavoured to suppress. It should be added that generally the barn was built against the back wall of the dwelling-house; and frequently a member of the family on getting married hived off from the parental roof; erected a new dwelling against the old one, and settled down there. In this way there might be two or three dwelling-houses built close against each, adding to the congestion in the township and making sanitation more and more difficult.

This was the general character of the habitations in the outlying districts of Lewis twenty years ago, and with the view of placing tenants in a better position, improving leases were offered in 1879 to such as were willing to enter into them. The offer was contained in a series of rules and regulations printed in Gaelic aud English. Under the section of these rules, every tenant who, before Martinmas, 1881, should (1) execute improvements on his land by trenching, draining, and putting the same into a proper state of cultivation, &c., and (2) build a dwelling-house according to a specified type, to get a lease for 12 years (1881-1893). The rule as to the dwellings provided that improved class of house should consist of at least three apartmeuts; and. also stipulated that the thatch was not to be stripped off or removed for manure; that the byre to be a separate building, and that the dung was to be regularly removed to the dung-heap. Any tenant, whether possessing n, lease or not, who built such a house as was prescribed, "to the satisfaction of the proprietor or his factor," was in the event of "removal, or otherwise quitting the holding, to be allowed compensation for the same. (The two rules here referred to will be found in Appendix M, p. 38.)

The offer to give the crofters leases betrayed a lack of intimate acquaintance with sentiments of the people. Such offers have been made in various other parts of the Western Highlands and Islands, but almost invariably' without success. There was a deep-rooted conviction throughout the West that the native population had a natural right to the land of their birth, which right descended from father to son; and that the signing of a lease for a term of years formed a contract under which they were either obliged to quit or to enter into a new arrangement, on the expiry of the lease, and was thus equivalent to selling their birthright. A striking illustration of this conviction published in a volume entitled The Highlands of Scotland in 1750, by Mr. Andrew Lang. The text is from a MS. in the King's Library, British Museum. The author is not known, but Mr. Lang conjectures it was Mr. Bruce, an official under Government, who in 1749 was employed to survey the forfeited and other estates in the Highlands. Writing about Lochaber, Mr. Bruce narrates an incident where the tenant demanded an abatement of rent from the Duke of Gordon. The Duke refused, and the tenant left the farm, "boasting that no tenant would dare to succeed him in it." It was untenanted for some years, till at length the Duke prevailed upon the Parish Minister to take it. The treatmant meted out to the new tenant was such that he was obliged to give up the tenancy and retire to Fort-William. In explanation of this incident Bruce writes:—

"It will be necessary in order to know the Reason of this Conduct to observe that throughout all Lochaber, and the adjacent Wild Countries, the Farms have been always given to the Cadets of the Lesser Families that are the Heads of Tribes, which they possess for Ages without any Lease, and look upon them as their right of Inheritance; when they are not able to pay their Rent and are turned out, they look upon the son who takes these Farms after them, as usurping their right. These People have often Refused to take a written Lease thinking that by so doing they give up their right 'possession." (Page 93.)

The last sentence states a fact familiar to everyone possessing an intimate acquaintance with the Western Highlands. Twenty-two years later (1772), Pennant directs attention to the same doctrine. The old tenure called duchas or duthchas is defined in ~ Gaelic Dictionaries as "a hereditary right; a prescriptive right by which a farm descended from father to son "; and Pennant explains that the old tenants " held their farms at a small rent, from father to son, by a kind of prescribed right, which the Highlanders called duchas. This tenure," he says, " in the feudal times was esteemed sacred and inviolable." (Tour in Scotland, vol. ii., p. 423.)
These views had no sanction in law, but they have prevailed among the West Coast crofters to recent times, and it is therefore not surprising that the proposed leases in Lewis were not entered into. Neither does there appear to have been improved houses built "to the satisfaction of the proprietor or his factor." This is not to be wondered for shortly after the offer was made the land agitation in the Highlands altered the relations between landlord and tenant, the latter repudiating the power of removal, &c., hitherto exercised by the proprietor, and appealing for State protection.

Subject to the limitations therein contained, the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act 86 (49 and 50 Vict., cap. 29) gave statutory sanction to the demands of the tenants, for it enacted that the crofter shall not be removed from his holding (except for the breach of one or more of the statutory conditions), and the security of tenure thus granted was conferred on his successors, "being his heirs or legatees" (section 1 and 34).

[The circumstances under which the Crofters Act was passed were stated by the Marquess of Salisbury at a public meeting in Edinburgh, on 30th November 1888. His Lordship, in comparing and contrasting the question of Irish land with the question of the Scottish crofters (as reported in the Scotsman of 1st December 1888), said: — "The Scottish Crofters Bill was no measure "for which I am responsible — and I do not profess to admire it in all respects; but it had this particular note — it was not a disturbance of old, long-established rights. The ground on which you interfered with the position of the Scottish crofters was that you said that, up to a comparatively recent period, they had held upon a tenure not the general tenure of these islands and that that tenure had by lapse, by carelessness, by use, by encroachment, been converted into a condition of things wholly and unjustly disadvantageous to themselves. It was said that the old clannish tenure which was different from the ordinary law of landlord and tenant in this country, had slipped into the law of landlord and tenant, entirely to the advantage of the landlord, without any consideration of the valuable interest which the clansman formerly had in the land on which he lived. Well, that is a very fair argument, and the Act of Parliament (The Crofters Act, 1886) which flowed from it was that the rule of prescription observed generally in this country should be considerably extended — extended from sixty to eighty years — and that all who within eighty years had been in the condition of crofters should have their case specially considered. That was a decision perfectly consistent with the ordinary doctrines of the rights of property, whether you thought it wise or whether you thought it foolish. There was nothing in it which affected the rights of property in general. The case of the Irish tenant was very different. Further on in the same speech his Lordship, speaking of Ireland, said that while Parliament in its wisdom had "set aside the rights of landlords which had existed for many, many hundred years," this land policy in Ireland had "nothing whatever in common with the very moderate and limited measure which, in respect of very peculiar circumstances, you have applied to the crofters of Scotland."]

Elsewhere in the crofting area, if the tenants were in tolerably comfortable circumstances, improvements in dwelling-houses were begun as soon as their legal rights under the Act were established and appreciated. In Lewis however progress was slow. The people were in a large measure steeped in poverty, and they had become so much accustomed to the old order of things that they saw no necessity for a change. The fire in the middle of the Boor, with the dye-pot at its side, the dark room, the pent reek, the hens roosting on the rafters above their heads, had satisfied their ancestors, who were better men and women than they, and why should this state of matters not satisfy them?
On the general condition of the houses from a sanitary point of view it is unnecessary to enlarge. In 1891 and 1894 the Local Government (Scotland) Acts (52 and 53 Vict., cap. 50; and 57 and 58 Vict., cap. 58) brought new agencies into the field, and the Sanitary Inspector found much to occupy his attention. On 11th February 1893 the Lewis District Committee had the whole question of housing under consideration, and as a first step adopted the following Minute:—

" In regard to the dwelling-houses it was agreed to give notice to the people by a circular to each householder, that the Local Authority will insist henceforth that a wall of stone and lime reaching to the roof be built in each dwelling-house, separating the cattle end of the house from the other portion with no internal communication and that each end be provided with a separate entrance from the outside, and that every one failing to carry out this regulation is liable to be summoned before the Sheriff."

In the following year the Sanitary Inspector received instructions from the District Committee to institute proceedings in the Sheriff Court at Stornoway against persons for housing cattle in the same dwelling as the family.

Four cases regarded as typical were brought into Court. After the requisite inquiry in one of these the Sheriff Substitute issued an interlocutor on 6th March 1895 calling upon the defender to remove the nuisance complained of within a given period, and for that purpose he was ordained to execute certain structural alterations on his dwelling-house. These included (1) the erection of a stone or brick gable between the dwelling-house and the byre, so as to leave no means of internal communication between both buildings; the gable to have a fire-place, thus putting an end to the old custom of having the fire in the middle of the floor; (2) a window in the front wall of the kitchen of the dwelling-house; and (3) a separate door from outside for the cattle. The interlocutor in this case is quoted in Appendix M., page 38. The other cases were similarly dealt with.

In 1896 the Local Authorities in the Outer Hebrides, including Lewis, made appeals ' to the Local Government Board for grants from Imperial funds to improve the houses in the districts under their supervision. They were, however, informed that no hope could be held out that such grants could be obtained. The Board dealt with the question in their second Annual Report (1896). (An extract from that Report on the g question in Lewis will be found in Appendix M., page 39.)

In 1898, Dr. Charles Macrae, medical officer for Stornoway, directed attention to the subject of dwelling-houses in the following terms:—

Sanitary progress is still much hindered by the lack of encouragement given to squatters— fishermen who are able and willing to build better houses if a site and a modicum of land could be obtained. A modification of the Crofters Act seems called for to make building sites more available, and specially for the location of fishermen in places of best and readiest access to the sea treasures on which this island mainly depends. Plus, with other good results, would obviate resort to clandestine erections which tend so little to nobility of character."

The sites of houses often formed a matter of difficulty. It is desirable to have the house on the holding; and frequently there is no suitable site thereon — that is to say a here a site where a satisfactory system of drainage can be introduced and the sanitary arrangements made adequate. Again, the numerous cottar or squatter houses that crowd every township prevents improvement. Inferior in construction, they are not unusually built up against the 'houses, rendering it exceedingly difficult for the crofter to effect improvements, where he has the means and the will to do so. The cottar under such circumstances rarely improves. He is nearly always poor; he has no security of tenure, and his heirs have no right to succeed to any building or other subjects possessed by him at his death. (For a case in point reference may be made to that of Lillias Macgegor Macmillan, North Uist; Crofters Commission Report for 1896, p. 153.) Accordingly his sense of insecurity discourages him from building a good house. But notwithstanding the various drawbacks to which reference has been made, the Sanitary Inspector is able from year to year to report a certain amount of progress. In 1892 he found attempts made by the inhabitants to improve the outward appearance of their premises by cleansing the surface, and in the matter of house accommodation he says improvements had been made in the townships of Aird and Shadder in the Parish of Stornoway, in Bragar in the Parish of Barvas, and in Calbost, Laxay, and Airidhbhruthaich in Lochs.

In 1893 he reports that " as to cleanliness of surroundings there has been a marked improvement throughout the district. In many cases where nothing formerly was noticeable there have been attempts to keep premises tidier than previously.

In 1895, he says: —" There has been marked progress made in building new houses and improving existing ones during the year. In the Aird of Tong district improvements have been made on existing houses in five cases, and in almost every village in the Parish of Lochs new houses of a better class are being built, and improvements made on the old ones."

In 1896, he again reports that new houses are being built in every part of the island, " and some of these are of a better class than those originally built 30 or 40 years ago”. But he adds —" I am sorry to see in many instances that the new houses referred to are built according to the primitive design and without regard to the sanitary condition of the site chosen."

In 1897 he says: —" Several new houses of a somewhat better description were erected and a number of old ones repaired or altered to meet present requirements, but the district is still in a, very unsatisfactory condition with respect to suitable dwellings. The Ness locality indicated a greater degree of improvement than any other within the district." The local Sanitary Inspector has the following on the same object:—" The building of houses has been going on rapidly during the year in every parish; several of the new houses are very good indeed, built with two gables and entirely separated from the byres. The crofters are beginning to realise the benefit of such separation."... "New houses are built of a better class than the original kind, but as most of them are surrounded by colonies of squatters’ houses of a very inferior class, the prospects of cleanliness can be nothing like satisfactory."

In 1898 the local Sanitary Inspector writes: — "New houses of a better class are being built in almost every village, and some of the old ones are being improved, but in many instances houses of the primitive type are still being built in close proximity to those of the better class."

The Reports for 1899 and 1900 are to the saine effect as that for 1898.

Having regard to the backward condition of the Lewis houses of 20 years ago, and the conditions of life prevailing in the island, the progress indicated above, though slow, must be regarded as not unsatisfactory on the whole. In certain districts, particularly where the fishing is prosecuted with success, a marked improvement has take place. In Laxdale, in the vicinity of Stornoway, there are a large number of good substantial houses which would do credit to any district. In the district of Point or Eye, the number of new houses of an improved type has been so large that anyone who had not visited the island for 15 years would scarcely recognise the locality. In other districts, too, a well-constructed house may here and there be seen, but the old order still prevails to a very great extent.

With regard to new houses, a regrettable circumstance, as noticed in the Inspector' Report for 1898, is that in many instances they are built on the old pattern. Such a proceeding only tends to perpetuate the present unsatisfactory state of matters, and the Lewis District Committee of the County Council, acting under the powers conferred on them by Section 181 of the Public Health Act of 1897 (60 and 61 Vict., cap. 38), have issued a series of bye-laws intended to cope with the matter. They apply to the whole of the Lewis district and specify the class of house to be built in the future. A copy of these will be found in Appendix M, pages 39-40. In the Island of Lewis the crofting townships are so congested that until at least the squatter population find homes elsewhere, either on new holdings or away from the island, housing and other questions affecting the welfare and comfort of the people will be urgent.

The question of water supply has been engaging the attention of the Sanitary Authorities. The Sanitary Inspector for the County in his second report described certain water supplies as "little better than cesspools for surface soakings." The Medical Officer for the Parish of Lochs, writing to the Board of Supervision on 28th January 1893, describes the water supply of Cromore thus: —"The water supply of Cromore is merely a few holes dug out amongst the arable ground next the houses, and polluted with the manure dissolved off their arable ground; and in some cases contaminated with liquid sewage percolating through the soil from their houses."

In the same year there was an outbreak of typhoid fever in the townships of Islivig and Breanish in Uig, and the medical officer says there is little doubt that in the case of Breanish it originated from the parties using water from a stream contaminated by sewage from houses and patches of cultivated land situated near its banks.

Without entering into details in regard to particular districts, it may be stated that the annual reports of the Sanitary Inspector disclose a rapid improvement in the matter of water supply. Where the water in a, well was found to be impure the well was condemned and closed, and a new well opened in a suitable locality. On the other hand, wells that contained good water, but open to contamination, have been cleaned out, enclosed, and covered in. Improvements in this direction have been general throughout the island wherever the same were considered necessary or desirable, and altogether the water supply appears to be now on a much better footing than formerly.

The insanitary houses and the impure water to which the people have long been accustomed would lead an inquirer to expect a high death rate. That is not so, however.

The island is occasionally visited by epidemics of measles, whooping-cough, &c., like other parts of the country; and there are sometimes outbreaks of "dung-fever "— a preventible malady — but altogether the general health is good.

The rate of infant mortality is high, and a belief used to prevail that the weaklings died young, and that the strong who survived withstood the insanitary surroundings to which the weaker constitutions had succumbed. But the statistics published by the County Medical Officer show that the rate of infant mortality is higher in several of the mainland districts.

It connection with this subject it may be remarked that a peculiar form of disease has prevailed in the island for upwards of a century. It seizes its victims about the fifth night after birth, and is in consequence called "the fifth night's sickness." It almost invariably proves fatal, the patient dying in convulsive fits. According to medical testimony it is infant lockjaw, and although still prevalent is on the decrease. It used to be common in St. Kilda.

Taking the vital statistics of Lewis for a series of years it is found that as a whole the death-rate is considerably lower than that on the mainland of Ross and Cromarty. On the other hand the birth-rate is higher. Martin, in his Western Islands, says —" It is a general observation of such as live on the sea-coast that they are more prolific than many other people whatsoever" (p. 147); and the Returns of the Registrar General afford sample proof of this fact in Lewis.

In 1891 the birth-rate was 31.93 per thousand, while on the mainland it was only 21.84. The death-rate of Lewis, on the other hand, was 17.57 and that of the mainland 16.66. This death-rate, however, was exceptional. In 1894 the death-rate of Lewis and the mainland were almost equal, the former being 17.17 and the latter 17.08. During the other years of the decade the mainland death-rate has always exceeded that of Lewis.

In 1892 and 1893 the birth-rate both of the Island and of the mainland remained practically stationary, the figures for Lewis (omitting decimals) having been 28 and those inland 19 per thousand in each year. The death-rate, on the other hand, was 16 in the former year and 15 in the latter as regards Lewis, while for the mainland the figures were 17 and 16 respectively.

In 1894 the Lewis birth-rate reached the high figure of 29.87, while the corresponding rate on the mainland was 20.50.

From the figures applicable to some of the districts it is found that the birth-rate in Carloway reached the remarkably high level of 35.44 in 1894. In that year the rate in Lochs was 32.85, and Barvas 29.32. The death-rate in these three districts in that year was 22.85, 16.11, and 16.54 respectively.

In 1899 the birth-rate in the Point, or Eye, district was 33.33, while the death-rate was only 11.57.

In 1900 Barvas had a birth-rate of 31.21 and a death-rate of 15.38. As a contrast to some of the mainland Parishes it may be stated that in that year the birth-rate in Glenshiel on the south-west of the County was only 8.19.

It may be convenient to state here in tabular form (1) the birth-rate for the Island of Lewis; the corresponding rates for the mainland of Ross and Cromarty; and (2) the death-rate for Lewis on the one hand and for the mainland of Ross and Cromarty on the other.

The figures applicable to Lewis for the period from 1892-1900 are taken from the annual Reports of the Medical Ofhcer of Health for Ross-shire; while those for the mainland for 1891-1900 are calculated from the statistics furnished in said Reports. Except in 1891, when the census returns are adopted, the estimated population is taken on the basis of calculating the rate of births and deaths per thousand in each year: —

Table showing (1) the birth-rate in the Island of Lewis and on the Mainland of Ross and Cromarty; and (2) the death-rate in Lewis and on the Mainland of Ross and Cromarty, respectively, per thousand of the population during the period from 1891 to 1900.

Birth rate
Death rate
Island of Lewis
Mainland of
Ross & Cromarty
Island of Lewis
Mainland of
Ross & Cromarty

Along with the above table it may be of interest to have the total number of births and deaths in Lewis during the ten years named. The population in 1891 it may be repeated, was 27,590, and that in 1901, 28,949. The following figures show the total number of births, the total number of deaths, and the excess of births over deaths in each of the ten years:—

Total births
Total deaths
Excess of births
over deaths

It will thus be seen that while the increase, as appears from the Census, is 1359, the excess of births over deaths has been 3,645, showing that during the ten years 2,286 had left the island, or, in any event, that a considerable portion of them we temporarily absent from Lewis when the Census was taken. In this connection jt may be stated that in 1891 there were 484 males and 105 females (589 in all) temporarily absent. In 1901 the figures were 1020 males and 859 females, or 1379 in all.

The high birth-rate and the low death-rate are noteworthy, especially having regard to the insanitary surroundings of the inhabitants. Climate probably forms an important element, and, as bearing on that point, the following Table showing the rainfall at Stornoway for an average of 25 years (1866-90), and the mean temperature for 24 years, compiled from Bartholomew's Atlas of Scotland, is instructive:—

Average rainfall for 25 years (1866-1890)
Mean temperature at Stornoway for 25 years

It may be mentioned that the rainfall on Island Glass in Harris is 42.06 for the year. At Lochmaddy, further south, it is 57.18; at Oronsay 60.64, and at Strome Ferry, on the mainland, 62.0.

The mean temperature for Harris is slightly higher than that for Stornoway, being 47.8. Portree is 46.6, and the West Mainland about the same. The comparative mildness and dryness of the climate enable the people to enjoy a healthy out-door life throughout the greater part of the year; and finally, the peat- reek and soot, so trying to eyes unaccustomed to them, are, according to some medical authorities, beneficial as powerful disinfectants and germ destroyers.

As regards medical attendance a great advance has taken place in recent years. "There is only one surgeon in the whole island," writes the minister of Lochs in the Old Statistical Account. The minister of Stornoway, in the same work, says: "Inoculation is performed here with success by the skill and attention of Mr. Robert Millar, surgeon "— the only doctor. Subsequently there were two doctors in Stornoway, who attended to the sick in all parts of the island. This was the condition of matters till about 25 years ago. There are now resident medical officers in the rural parishes of Barvas, Lochs, and Uig; while there are five in practice in Stornoway.

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