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Glenbuchat Heritage

1 Ken Cruickshank Collection Album 1 Introduction
The Glenbuchat Image Library
1 Ken Cruickshank Collection Album 1 Introduction

Ken Cruickshank Collection
Album 1

The photos above show:
1. Ken Cruickshank
2. Ken at the Lonach in the 1980’s selling his book ‘Glenbuchat Yesterdays’
3. John Stewart Photographer 1888–1910
Birth ABT. 1888, Insch, Aberdeenshire
Death 1910, Blackhillock, Glenbuchat, Aberdeenshire


Ken Cruickshank

This collection of photographs relating to Glenbuchat was collected over a number of years in the early 1980’s, by Ken Cruickshank. Some of the pictures have appeared elsewhere I this site but they are included in the collection to keep it complete and also because they are of better quality than the others.

Ken Cruickshank first came to know the Strathdon area when employed at the North of Scotland College of Agriculture in Aberdeen. The college hill walking club rented Toranchroy farm house in Glen Nochty from the estate and he and colleagues used it as a base to get to know the area.

Ken bought the neglected Rose Cottage at Belnacraig, Glenbuchat in 1979 and spent the next 20 years of his spare time renovating it.

Coming from good North East farming stock, from the Huntly area, he absorbed the traditions and customs of farming from his relatives and developed an interest in local history and in particular, in farming life. Glenbuchat has a long, rich history, and on speaking to the older generation of farmers and residents, it was apparent that an old way of life was rapidly changing with modern agriculture practices and the drift of people away from the glen. This was dramatically illustrated by the fall in population figures for the glen in the previous decades.

This local connection with the folk and places from the past, and knowledge of it, would eventually pass away with the older generation. People such as George Hay of Craig Head, (The Crag), his sister Leah and her husband Jock Davidson were great sources of knowledge on the history, traditions, and lore of the glen. Bert Grant from Sunnybrae and his brother Jim from Smiddyford, Willie Farquharson and his brother George from the Mill and Sandy Thom from Beltimb spoke of people and events from their childhood in the glen, and from older times, as though it were yesterday. Folk and communities from the old clachans at Upperton, Belnaboth, Easterbuchat, Belnacraig, Badenyon, The Deochry and others were fondly remembered and kept alive in accounts from times past. Ken tried to recapture some of the old days in the Glen in a collection of photos, donated by local people, and published in two booklets Glenbuchat Yesterdays Vol 1 and Glenbuchat Yesterdays Vol 2.

Later he collaborated with another resident, John Nesbit from Upperton, on a survey of the lime kilns of the area. This developed into a brief history of farming in Strathdon, with particular emphasis on Glenbuchat. Ken left the left the glen in 2001 but kept his interest going. When Peter Duffus set up the encyclopaedic ‘Glenbuchat Heritage’ web site, he continued to contribute material on the history of the glen.

The Collection:

Ken visited may people and places in Glenbuchat and took black and white photos of them and of the photos they had. Ken also received photos sent to him form people who enjoyed reading is books, ‘Glenbuchat Yesterdays’.

The collection contains old photographs of Glenbuchat and its people as well as some photos relating to the Strathdon area. There are also photo records of old estate maps and the Glenbuchat Name Book. Finally there are photos Ken took in the early 1980’s of the Glen as it was then and it is interesting to compare the past with then and the many changes that have resulted in the Glen as it is now.

The Collection is divided for convenience into different Albums.

They are:

1. Photos of early 1900’s mainly connected with the work of John Stewart but other unidentified photos. (This album)

2. Photos from 1910 to 1970’s

3. Ken Cruickshank Photos of the early 1980’s

4. Prints of Slides relating to Strathdon early 20th ccentury

5, Photos of Estates documents and Glenbuchat Name Book

Album 1 1900's

Click for KC Collection Album 1

This first album relates mainly to the photos taken by John Stewart. The following is his biography taken from the original’ Glenbuchat Yesterdays’ book. Other photos are also included if they come from a similar age i.e. c 1900.

John Stewart Photo Collection
Introduction from Ken Cruickshank’s book Glenbuchat Yesterdays

The photographs in this collection span the early years of this century up to c.1908. Apart from their value as a pictorial record of life in an upland parish at the turn of the 20th century, they show the Glen in a state of transition. The improvements to the estate made by the new Laird and his successors are seen alongside the traditional way of life, little altered for decades but now fast disappearing. It is due to the skill and enthusiasm of the young amateur photographer John Stewart that we have this record today. He was born in 1887, the eldest son of john Stewart Senior and Mary Watt and grew up with his four sisters and two brothers at the Mill of Glenbuchat, where his father was meal miller. As a child he contracted tuberculosis and always weak and sickly, was unable to take part in normal childhood activities. He became interested in the increasingly popular hobby of photography and around 1904 a camera was purchased.

Through the camera lens he captured images of the people and places in the Glen he knew so well. His family and home at different seasons of the year were favourite subjects as were his friends and neighbours who came to the Mill to have their portraits taken. The camera was often transported around the Glen where he photographed the folk outside their homes and at work in the fields. He recorded general scenes of the Glen and the changes in the landscape taking place at that time. We see the remnants of an older way of life in the traditional cottages erected by the tenants themselves and fast being replaced by the new estate houses. There appears to be an air of industry and relative prosperity in these photographs which must have contrasted sharply with the depression of only a few years before.

John Stewart died of tuberculosis in 1910 at the age of 23 on the farm of Blackhillock, Glenbuchat where his father had recently taken a lease. His photographic collection was contained in two family albums and treasured over the years by the Stewart family. Their association with the Glen ended on the death of the photographer’s brother, Alex in the 1960’s. James Milne of Duffus, Morayshire, who had been blacksmith in the Glen and married the photographer’s eldest sister in 1912, felt the photographs should remain closer to home. He passed the collection to his nephew Mr Alexander Coutts of Glenkindie who recognised them to be of more than only family interest. Mr Coutts contacted the Press and journal which ran a feature on them and on being approached he kindly consented to the collection being published in this form.
Picture added on 28 March 2017 at 19:09
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