04 October 2022
A new rural life exhibition opening at Perth Museum & Art Gallery this week will explore the history of a former Perthshire village that finally disappeared 50 years ago.
A Lost Community: Muirton of Ardblair explores a traditional way of rural life that has all but disappeared in Scotland and features rare photographic prints from 1893.
The once thriving village on the outskirts of Blairgowrie produced flax and linen, as well as turnips, oats, and potatoes, with residents living in simple cottages with earth floors, thatched roofs, and no running water or electricity until the 1950s. By the mid-19th century, it supported a community of flax spinners and linen weavers living in about twenty cottages with earth floors and thatched roofs. These cottage industries died out with the rise of water-powered mills.
Had it not been for the artists and photographers drawn to this once picturesque village outside Blairgowrie, the community, its stories, and traditions might have been forgotten. Fortunately, this moment in time has been preserved and shared with everyone thanks to funding from the National Fund for Acquisitions, which enabled Culture Perth and Kinross to purchase the rare photographic prints.
The exhibition will also feature historic objects, activities for families, and paintings by Ewan Geddes, one of the local artists known as the Blairgowrie Boys, who ‘found artistically all his soul longed for’ in the village.
A Lost Community: Muirton of Ardblair is open from 8 October to 23 December at Perth Museum & Art Gallery. Free entry. Donations welcome.
Report & image courtesy Perth Museum & Art Gallery