Auchindrain Township | The Cart Shed
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The Cart Shed

The Cart Shed

 This building, too small to stand up in, was used in the 1950s and 1960s by to store Eddie MacCallum’s cart. In the 19th century it had been the township’s wash-house, and a photograph taken in the 1880s shows it being used for this purpose. 

The 19th century photograph of wash-day is posed – one of the women is in her Sunday Best for the photographer’s visit.  The buckets and wash-tubs made from cut down barrels were too bulky to keep inside the township’s small houses. It would have been useful to have somewhere like this to store them.

[caption id="attachment_21704" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Staff and volunteers of Auchindrain ‘tramping’ washing in a tub Staff and volunteers of Auchindrain ‘tramping’ washing in a tub[/caption]

Washing clothes and bedding was a communal activity and an opportunity for socialising.   The work was physically demanding and time-consuming, and wash-day would probably have taken place only a couple of times a month.  It took most of the day to do a family’s washing, and in winter maybe two or three days to get everything dry.  To read more about washing, click here. To dry your washing, you need pegs – to learn how to make a wooden peg click here.

This building probably went out of use in the early 20th century.  Eddie’s House has a brick-built wash-boiler close to the byre door, and we know that in the early 1930s Stoner’s House had a hand-cranked washing machine.  By 1946, the Cart Shed was a roofless ruin.

Sometime in the late 1950s Eddie MacCallum decided to store his cart here.  He made some alterations to the building. It now has a flat roof with a slight slope, created by putting an old telegraph pole along the top of one wall.  This is a superb example of vernacular architecture – the roof is a framework of larch poles and scrap timber. It is held together with big nails and fencing wire, and covered with offcuts of corrugated steel. In 2011 the roof was damaged by a storm.  To repair it we carefully copied what had been there before.

Eddie McCallum with the potato spinner, a horse drawn tool used to lift potatoes from the ground

Eddie McCallum with the potato spinner, a horse drawn tool used to lift potatoes from the ground

The piece of machinery on display in the Cart Shed is a horse-drawn potato spinner, for digging up potatoes.  It was made in Glasgow by John Wallace & Sons Ltd, one of Scotland’s largest manufacturers of agricultural machinery in the early 1900s. We have a photograph of Eddie MacCallum with an identical implement at Auchindrain in the late 1950s.

 

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