British Mining No 84 – The Scottish Gold Rush of 1869
By R.M. Callender & P.F. Reeson with contributions from Alan Bladen, Phil Cox, Hilary Davies, Sue Higginbotham, Annie Tindley and Ron Wilkinson
In 1869, a quiet strath in the Highlands of Scotland had its own gold rush and even more remarkable is that a local photographer, Alexander Johnston of Wick, was on hand to record the event. This was the stimulus for the ‘Baile an Or’ project which has investigated the activities of those who came from all parts of Britain to search for prosperity. The result is a fascinating part of Scotland’s heritage – from how the rush started to how it ended some twelve months later.
Historical research has included a trawl of local and national newspapers, records in the National Library of Scotland and interviews with descendents of the miners.
The project progressed to topographical and archaeological surveys of the site together with excavation and examination of the finds. In particular, the application of different photographic techniques makes this account unique. The team have reconstructed and equipped a miner’s hut based on photographs from the shanty town of Baile an Or – the Town of Gold. They have built and evaluated a ‘rocker’ or ‘cradle’ similar to those used by the prospectors to recover gold and have worked a small sample into jewellery.
With illustrations from the period, together with photographs and drawings of the project activities, the monograph is a comprehensive record of this little known event.
A5 164pp, 55 figs
(NMRS members discount 25%)
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