About Easdale: Historical Background
Easdale Island's history is detailed in the award-winning Easdale Island Folk Museum. For more information please pay a visit to the museum website at www.easdalemuseum.org
Easdale Island has had a colourful history. From the middle of the 17th century to the early 20th century it was an important centre for slate quarrying. The Island had as many as seven working quarries, some of which extended down to 300 feet below sea level. Together with other quarries on the neighbouring islands of Seil, Luing and Belnahua the Island gave its name to the famous Easdale Slate which was exported to Glasgow, Ireland and beyond.
At the peak of the industry in the second half of the 19th century the population was in excess of 500. A storm in 1881 flooded the quarries, and thereafter the industry declined until the last slate was cut in the 1950's. By the early 1960's the population had dwindled to only 4. However since then the population has steadily increased and most of the dwelling houses have now been reconstructed and modernised.
The economic baseline of the Island community today is completely different from that of the past. The main industry of the area is tourism, which indirectly or directly accounts for much of the locally-generated income. Other important sources of income derive from external sources such as people working in Oban and the surrounding mainland. Most of the permanently occupied houses are now connected to the internet with broadband connection allowing some residents to run successful businesses from home.
The social baseline has attained a well-balanced state with ages ranging from 6 months to over 80 years old. There is a small museum which attracts over 5000 visitors a year, and a pub and restaurant which serve as a focal point for both visitors and residents. The drill hall, as it was originally known, was bought in 1996 by an island resident, Adrian Laycock, and turned over to Eilean Eisdeal - a charity established with the initial intent of renovating the hall for the use of the Islanders. Since inception, Eilean Eisdeal has taken on a wider remit of enhancing the social, economic and environmental fabric of the community.