Living in the New House
The house arrived on a lorry as a kit with a set of printed instructions. Sections of timber framing were assembled on a set of low brick walls. This was clad with fibreboard inside and out, windows and doors were fitted, and the whole house was covered in cedar shingles. Three weeks after the house arrived, the MacCallum family moved in.
The new house had electricity and modern appliances. It had four bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom, a coal store and a second toilet. It was modern and comfortable, and the large steel-framed windows create a light, pleasant interior – very different to the township’s dark, damp longhouses. New furniture was bought for the house, including a hallstand, a bureau, and a fireside chair.
The house had the township’s first flushing toilet; no more night trips outside in the dark to a dry-closet lavatory, or using the byre. Hot water came from taps in the bathroom, and with a ceramic bathtub there was no need for a tin bath in front of the fire. Washing clothes in a large double sink (with hot water from a tap and a view across to the burn) was perhaps a more pleasant experience than it had been in the old house. There was a walk-in larder for keeping food cool. Eddie MacCallum erected a porch around the back door, protecting it from the wind which, at Auchindrain, usually comes from the west.
The first people to live in the house were Eddie MacCallum, his wife Peggy and their children. In 1956 they were joined by 14-year-old Willie Weir. He came to work for Eddie, and shared a bedroom with his son. Gradually, the family’s sons left, moving away for jobs and marriages.
On the 2nd of June 1963, the tenancy formally came to an end. The Argyll Estate took on Willie Weir as an employee while decisions were taken about the future of Auchindrain. Willie and Ann Weir became the house’s tenants, joined by their sons.
The Weir family stayed here for three more years. The sheep were sold at the end of the summer of 1967, and Argyll Estate sold most of Auchindrain’s land to the Forestry Commission. The new museum was starting to take shape around the house. One family photograph shows the young David Weir “helping” a group of workmen make a footpath. On the 18th of December 1967 the Weir family left for their new house in Inveraray. The last of the Township’s residents were gone.