An Clachan and the Model Highland Village
An Clachan agus Modail Baile Gàidhealach

Bha An Clachan (‘Am Baile-fearainn Gàidhealach’) na tharraing mòr aig Taisbeanadh Eachdraidh, Ealain is Gnìomhachas Nàiseanta na h-Alba a chumadh ann am Pàirc Kelvingrove ann an 1911 agus a thàlaidh còrr air 9.5 neach-tadhail.  Anns ‘am baile’ bha An Taigh-òsta (‘Taigh-seinnse a’ bhaile’) far an robh deochan air an riarachadh le luchd-obrach ann an èideadh Gàidhealach, cuideachd bùth a’ bhaile a bha a’ reic bathar ceàird Gàidhealach a’ gabhail a-steach clò, oifis puist le bùth leabhraichean a’ reic leabhraichean Gàidhlig is Albannach (meur sealach de Alexander McLaren & Sons, aig an robh prìomh bhùth air Sràid Earra-Ghàidheal), cuideachd eaglais agus poit-dhubh mhì-laghail (airson adhbharan taisbeanaidh a-mhàin!)

An Clachan (‘The Highland Village’) was a leading attraction at the Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry which was held in Kelvingrove Park in 1911 and attracted over 9.5 million visitors. The ‘village’ included An Tigh Osda (‘The Village Inn’) where refreshments were served by staff in Highland dress, also a village store selling Highland craft products, including tweed, a post office with a bookshop selling Gaelic and Scottish books (a temporary branch of Alexander McLaren & Sons, whose main shop was in Argyle Street), also a kirk and an illicit still (for demonstration purposes only!).

Entrance to 'An Clachan' Highland Village - 1911 Kelvingrove Park ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections

B’ e Talla Mhòr a’ Chlachain a ghabhadh àireamh de luchd-èisteachd suas gu 350 airson ‘fèisteas Gàidhlig is Albannach’ an togalach bu mhotha sa bhaile. Tha càrn-cuimhne agus càrn chlachan faisg air làimh ri taobh Abhainn Cheilbhinn a’ comharrachadh na làraich far an robh An Clachan. Chaidh an t-ainm ath-bheothachadh ann an 2010 le iompachadh air taigh-beag poblach Seòmar na Banrigh agus ionad-fasgaidh chloinne sa phàirc gu cafaidh A’ Chlachain.

The largest building was Talla mhòr a’ Chlachain (‘The Village Hall’), which accommodated audiences of up to 350 for ‘Gaelic and Scottish entertainments’. A large cairn and nearby cluster of stones beside the river Kelvin marks the site of An Clachan. The name was revived in 2010 with the conversion of the park’s Queen’s Room public convenience and children’s shelter into An Clachan café.

'A picturesque village group' An Clachan at Kelvingrove Park 1911 ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections

Taisbeanadh 1938

Chaidh am beachd-smuain a thaobh ‘Baile Gàidhealach’ a thoirt air ais airson Taisbeanadh Ìmpireachd 1938 ann am Pàirc Bhaile Ùistein. Air a dheilbh leis an ailtire Cailean Mac na Ceàrdaich, dhearbh an làrach gu bhith mar aon de an fheadhainn a b’ ainmeile aig an taisbeanadh, le caisteal ceann-cinnidh agus ‘allt beinne’ a’ snìomh a shlighe sìos gu loch anns an robh 150 troigh. Bha am baile air a tuineachadh le Gàidheal dùthchasach aig an robh Gàidhlig uile, agus b’ e snìomhadair leis an ainm Màiri Mhoireasdan à Barraigh a b’ ainmeile dhiubh, a bhiodh ag obrachadh na cuibhle-shnìomh agus i a’ seinn chumhachan ann an Gàidhlig.

1938 exhibition

The idea of the ‘Highland Village’ was revived for the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston park. Designed by architect Colin Sinclair, the site proved one of the most popular at the exhibition, with a chief’s castle and ‘mountain burn’ that wound its way to a 150ft loch. The village was populated by native highlanders who all spoke Gaelic, the most popular of whom was a spinner named Mary Morrison of Barra who worked at her wheel whilst singing Gaelic laments.

The Clachan with the Tait Tower in the background at the Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park in 1938 ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections

Tha an taisbeanadh sa mhòr-chuid air a dhol à bith le dìreach Lùchairt nan Ealan air fhàgail ann am pàirc Bhaile Ùistein, ach chaidh mapa eadar-obrachail a chruthachadh le sgioba de mhodailearan eòlach 3D ag obair aig Stiuidio Deilbhidh Didseatach ann an Sgoil Ealain Ghlaschu. Tha am modail acasan a’ taisbeanadh an tachartais air fad le mòran ìomhaighean de An Clachan.

The exhibition has all but disappeared, with only the Palace of Art remaining in Bellahouston park, but an interactive map was created by a team of experienced 3D modellers working at the Digital Design Studio at the Glasgow School of Art. The model displays the whole of the exhibition and has many images of the An Clachan.