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  • Outer Hebrides


  • Arts and crafts
  • Birds
  • Environment, the
  • Fish and fishing
  • Home life
  • Housing and living conditions


  • Documentary


  • 1910s

Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.

Overall rating:


Reference number: 0978

Date: 1917c

Production company: Imperium Film

Sound: silent

Original format: 35mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 5.03 mins

Description: How the inhabitants of St. Kilda lived on the land and from the sea. Fowling expedition and village life on the island which lies 50 miles off the Western Isles.

Orig. dated c.1918/1922 by Pathe. However, evidence supplied by Chris Mylne indicates June 1917 or possibly even earlier owing to the following facts:
1. Factor's store intact in film. Was badly damaged by shells from German sub 18th May 1918 and never repaired.
2. Half-grown guillemots in evidence - indicates mid to late June, certainly not before 18th May.
Further information, dating film as 1908 Oliver Pike footage, re-issued by Pathe 1918-1922 due to St. Kilda hitting the headlines with weather preventing supplies reaching Hirta.

Shotlist: Credits. Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The inhabitants, completely isolated from the rest of the world, live on the products which nature furnishes them (.07) Geographical situation of the island. a hand indicates the position on the map of Great Britain (.20) general view of the bay and village of St. Kilda. Slow pan left from Oiseval across the village area (.50) A few types. Women and children run past at top of ramp up from pier. Man with basket and two dogs. Two young girls, a dog and a man, shots of factor's store in background. Four young women knitting in village street plus three children, woman spinning at cottage door watched by three boys, woman milking a cow and three girls and a boy bouncing a puppy in play (1.25) The village tailor. Man sitting on wall in village street sewing cloth. The washerwoman. A group of six children and two women watching a woman washing clothes in large tub. The two women walk off. Boy carries bucket of water to tub (1.46) After a capture of wild sheep. Four men on rocks by shore, two skinning a sheep. (2.05) A good catch of fish. Men cleaning fish on rocks by sea and carrying large cleaned fish. Three boys play in the area (2.25) Necessity is the mother of invention in St. Kilda. Birds are not shot with a gun but captured with a line. Shots of a man, possibly on Ruaival approaching puffins (2.40) Puffins or seaparrots which have been caught by this primitive method. Group of about twenty puffins outside burrows. Man on slope catches a puffin with a snare on the end of a long pole, removes the snare from the puffin, c/u of bird in his hand (3.22) The men daily risk their lives in their search for guillemots eggs on the sides of the precipitous cliffs. Man and boys with ropes. Fowler ropes up and disappears over the edge. Shot of vertical cliff with the fowler abseiling down on rope at the run. c/u of guillemots on ledge with their young. Feet walk through scattering young birds after adults fly off. Fowler climbs back up the cliff on rope with basket. He is hauled over the edge on rope at the top, opens his basket and takes out the eggs. visitors, wearing trilby hats, examine the eggs. One puts an egg in his pocket, the second takes off his hat and carries some eggs away in it (5.02) ecs (5.03)