There is a
vast quantity of published material relating to St Kilda. The following
works are recommended as a good general introduction to the islands:
Histories and Guides
Most of the
recent volumes are still in print and can be obtained through the
St Kilda Club shop.
M. 1698 A Late Voyage to St Kilda London (Reprint 1986 James
Thin, The Mercat Press Edinburgh)
Martin, M. 1716 Description of the Western Isles of Scotland
Martin, M. 1753 A Voyage to St Kilda, (4th ed.) London
Martin was born in Skye, and was for a
time tutor to the MacLeod family. He accompanied the minister of
Harris, John Campbell, on his annual visit to St Kilda in the summer
of 1697, and wrote the first detailed accounts of life in these
1764 The History of St Kilda London
Macaulay was minister
of Harris, and visited St Kilda in 1758. This is a very interesting
account, and includes material on the major smallpox epidemic of
1727, which almost wiped out the entire population.
1878 Out of the World; or, Life in St Kilda Edinburgh
Sands was a journalist
and visited St Kilda in 1875 and 1876. He was stranded on the islands
during the winter of 1876-7, and launched a 'mailboat' to alert
the mainland to acute food shortages on St Kilda.
Seton, G. 1878
St Kilda Past and Present Edinburgh (1980 reprint, James
Thin, The Mercat Press, Edinburgh. 2000 reprint, Birlinn, Edinburgh)
Seton travelled to
St Kilda on the first excursion by the steam ship Dunara Castle
and wrote a detailed account of the history and natural history
of the islands.
1897 With Nature and a Camera London (Reprint Melven Press,
Richard Kearton visited
St Kilda with his brother, Cherry, a photographer. His interesting
account of St Kilda, at a time when life was changing due to the
influx of tourism, is supplemented by his brother's photographs.
N. 1900 St Kilda London
Heathcote was a relative of the islands'
proprietor, Reginald MacLeod, and visited St Kilda with his sister,
Evelyn. She was an adventurous explorer, climbing over the rocks
and going to sea in small boats.
J.B. 1911 Episode in the life of the Rev. Neil Mackenzie at St
Kilda from 1829 to 1843 (privately published.)
Rev. Neil Mackenzie was resident minister on St Kilda from 1830
to 1844, living in the new manse, and preaching in the new church,
both built in 1827. He had an enormous influence on the life of
the islanders, and was responsible for major agricultural improvements
and rebuilding of the village.
K. and Boyd, J..M. 1960 St Kilda Summer Hutchinson,
The authors, representing
The National Trust for Scotland and the Nature Conservancy Council,
accompanied military personnel on Operation Hardrock to establish
the army base on Hirta. Their account covers the history and natural
history of the islands, with speculations on archaeological remains.
1988 St Kilda Portraits Downland Press, Frome
of the St Kildans and visitors to the islands.
Steel, T. 1988
(Revised Edition) Life and Death of St Kilda Fontana, London
An evocative and very readable account
of the St Kilda story, which has captured the imagination of many
1989 Last Greetings from St Kilda Richard Stenlake, 1 Overdale
Street, Langside, Glassgow G42 9PZ
Evocative booklet of postcard photographs
from the 1880s to around the time of the evacuation.
St Kilda: Settlement and Structures on St Kilda RCAHMS, Edinburgh
A 'Broadsheet' map of Village Bay, and
descriptions of the archaeological sites and discoveries. Ideal
for visitors, and for getting an impression of the history of the
islands. Available from RCAHMS.
2000 (Revised Edition) St Kilda Colin Baxter Photography,
An easy to read guide to the islands, set
out as informative self-guided walks. Illustrated with some of Colin
Baxter's most spectacular photographs. Probably the best modern
introduction to St Kilda.
(ed.) 2001 Expeditions to the Hebrides by George Clayton Atkinson
in 1831 and 1833 MacLean Press, Skye
beautifully-illustrated account of a journey to St Kilda in 1831
- just before the old village was swept away and the present village
street was created. Fascinating reading, complemented by around
100 recently discovered illustrations from the original journal.
Also includes the journal of a journey in the West coast of Scotland
M. 1996 An Isle called Hirte Maclean Press, Isle of Skye
A major work on the
history and culture of St Kilda, the result of a Ph.D. project in
the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.
N. 1996 Excavations on Hirta 1986-90 HMSO, Edinburgh
Details the results of archaeological investigations
on St Kilda by the University of Durham. Contains very interesting
information on artefacts imported into St Kilda in the 19th and
early 20th centuries.
M. (ed.) 1995 St Kilda:The Continuing Story HMSO, Edinburgh
An account of research projects into the
history, archaeology and natural history of St Kilda. Written to
accompany the exhibition St Kilda Explored at Glasgow Museums
M..P. and Murray, S. 1989 Birds of St Kilda Institute of
Terrestrial Ecology & Natural Environmental Research Council, UK
Detailed survey of
the birds of St Kilda.
and Harman M. 1988 Buildings of St Kilda. Royal Commission
on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland/HMSO, Edinburgh
The results of the RCAHMS survey of St
Kilda in the early 1980s.
A., Milner, C. and Morton Boyd, J. 1974 Island survivors: the
ecology of the Soay sheep of St Kilda Athlone Press, London.
results of a long-term study on the Soay sheep, with a chapter on
the vegetation and soils of St Kilda.