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The Cottage

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The Cottage
First recorded in parish records in 1784, the Cottage is the oldest surviving building on the Mill site. It is of great historical and architectural importance showcasing structural characteristics of what had gone before and the improving conditions of the tenants who lived there in the 18th and 19th century.
Originally there were two cottages situated side by side. When one of these was demolished and the house (left) was being built, the whole family had to squeeze into the cottage that remained.
The lady standing on the right near the cottage was Mill owner Alexander Smith's widow, Elsie, with her daughter Elsie. Elsie senior died in 1915 and daughter Elsie emigrated to Canada in 1919 with her Canadian husband who had come to Scotland with the Canadian Timber Corps. They are known to have been the last full occupants of the cottage.
Living remotely with little in the way of transportation links and amenities, the tenants had to be self-sufficient. The Mill was part of a croft rearing cows for milk, butter and cheese. The cheese and butter were originally produced in the milk house extension at the gable of the cottage. However Graeme Stewart, one of our Trustees, remembers his great-aunt using a big milk churn in her kitchen, with the butter and cheese being kept in the dairy, known as 'The Milk Hoose' along with milk straight from the cow. With no refrigerators at that time, it was the best place to keep the produce cool. They also grew a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. 

The Cottage consists of two main rooms - a parlour and a kitchen. There was also a small bedroom. The parlour was the best space in the cottage and like many households at the time would only have been used for visitors. The kitchen was the main living area with two beds located opposite the range.

The building itself was probably refurbished during the latter half of the nineteenth century to make it more habitable. Walls and ceilings were lined with sawn boards and the interior walls of the parlour were given a better finish with plaster and distemper. 

The boards were first covered with layers of newspaper, canvas or linen. These were then covered with layer upon layer of wallpapers over the years. This would have improved the appearance of the Cottage and provided much needed insulation.

There are about 40 different wallpapers in the Cottage, 30 borders and 13 ceiling papers. The numbers are astonishing considering there was no online shopping available then!

Leading into the sitting room before restoration.

Scans of the beautiful handprinted designs.

The delicate wallpapers and borders have been preserved in frames and on the walls in the Cottage.


The photographs below show the main features of the cottage before and after restoration.

The Dairy (Milk Hoose)

The kitchen range featuring an oven 

Situated in the sitting room, the smart cast iron fireplace and grate with the plain fire surround was adorned with a tasseled fringe. The fringe has been cleaned displaying its vibrant colours. Unfortunately the velvet border was too fragile to hold the fringe so both have been placed in a frame.

The Cottage today

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