‘The People Are Not There’
The Transformation of Badenoch 1800–1863
by David Taylor
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A splendid account of the transformation of Badenoch in the first half of the 19th Century... paints an intimate portrait of the historically neglected region
Strathspey and Badenoch Herald
This book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to know what life was like in Badenoch at this time, and why so many emigrated... Meticulous research both locally and overseas
Creag Dhubh Magazine
A vigorous and comprehensive history of Badenoch... Taylor impresses by encapsulating a robust history of its agricultural and economic industries
This is a strikingly successful volume. It is rigorously researched in an exceptionally broad range of sources, clearly written and sensibly structured
West Highland Notes and Queries
About the Book
Shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish History Book of the Year Award
Badenoch today is a landscape of empty glens and ruined settlements, but it was not always so. This book examines the transformative events that shaped the region’s destiny: climate and market forces, hunger and relief measures, sheep farms and sporting estates, agricultural improvement and proprietorial greed, and the evolution of clanship. Although this is an intensely localised study, the dramatic nature of change is explored against the wider context of events not just across the Highlands, but also within the British state and its global empire.
Badenoch’s journey moves from the relative prosperity of the Napoleonic Wars into the terrible post-war destitution that devastated peasant, tacksman and Duke of Gordon alike. Estate reform and ‘improvement’ gradually brought a degree of economic and social stability, but inevitably resulted in depopulation as people were forced off the land to seek refuge in the impoverished ‘planned villages’ or to abandon their Gaelic homeland for life in the Lowlands. For those with the means, however, emigration provided lucrative opportunities unimaginable at home.
Through extensive use of documentary evidence, much of it previously unseen, David Taylor paints an intimate portrait of the historically neglected region of Badenoch – one that provides a compelling new perspective on Highland history.
David Taylor graduated in Scottish Historical Studies from the University of Edinburgh and gained a PhD from the University of the Highlands and Islands. After teaching history at Douglas-Ewart High School he was Principal Teacher of History and Modern Studies at Kingussie High School (Badenoch) for thirty years. Now retired, he lives in Orkney.
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