John Macleod, Boat-Builder, Ness, 35

NESS, LEWIS, THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 1883

I mentioned in the piece on ‘Inspectors‘ that I recalled a reference to the the conditions pertaining at the harbour of Port Ness. This is the evidence given to the Napier Commission relating to that subject – I presume the presence in Barvas in 1891 of the Inspector of Harbours is indicative that John Macleod, back in 1883, was totally correct in his analysis:

15940. From what funds is the work at the harbour being carried on? – Lady Matheson gave £1500 and the Fishery Board gave £4500.

15941. Do you know whether any application was made to the Board in London for funds ? – Yes ; I know there was.

15942. You made an application to the Public Works Loans Commission? – No, but I wrote a letter to Mr Gladstone for it.

15943. But you are aware there is a Board which advances money for public improvements, called the Public Works Loans Board? – I know there is a Loans Board.

15944. Was there any application made to it?—I don’t think so.

15945. You say it would have been better to make the harbour much larger, and to make it a deep-water harbour. In case the harbour was ever enlarged thereafter, would the present work be useless and thrown away, or could the present work be made useful towards a larger harbour ? – The present work need not be thrown away at all, and I was very much pleased when I saw from the plans that they could make a continuation of a large harbour.

15946. Do you think that the present work will stand; is it substantial ? -Well I do not know. I doubt it very much – this piece they are making just now, – for it is just a piece they are running on the front out to the sea, and there is not a back to it. That is the worst I saw about the plan, and I objected to it the moment I saw it.

15947. You mean that the present wall at right angles to the shore is not sufficiently supported ?—I think not.

15948. How ought it to be supported? – If there was another one at the back of it, and a hearting, and a parapet the same as the rest of it, it would be sufficient to stand the waves ; for the out-sweep of the sea here is stronger than at any place the Stevensons saw in their life, and I am
afraid it will take the corner of the outer pier out.

15949. At all tides the boats will not be able to get in? – No; not with the present wall.

15950. Would they be able to come in under your plan for a larger harbour – Yes there is five feet of water at lowest spring water according to my plan.

15951. What do these big boats draw? – I do not know very well, but I think eight feet will do well enough.

15952. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh. – Who is looking after this part of the Matheson property ? – Not any one.

15953. Who is responsible for the place being so very dirty down about here? – I suppose it is the sanitary inspector.

15954. When this pier is erected will there not be some authority to look after it? – There is a sanitary inspector paid to do it, and he ought to look after it.

15955. The Chairman.- Who is the sanitary inspector? – The sanitary inspector for the parish of Barvas. He lives in Stornoway.

15956. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh. – Don’t you think the state of matters there is disgraceful?—I am very much disgusted with it, but I cannot help it, I would like to see it clean.

15957. There is no reason why it should not be clean? – No reason. They could keep it as clean as any town in Scotland, for there is a burn there, and they could clean everything down to it. We are fifty feet higher than the level of the sea, and there is always running water.

15958. Sheriff Nicolson. – Has any complaint been made to the inspector ?—I don’t suppose there has; I do not know.

15959. The Chairman.—What is his name? – Hector Ross; he is the parochial inspector too.

15960. Does he often come here? – Yes ; I have seen him often come over here.

15961. Does he ever give any order about cleaning?—I never heard it.

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