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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 10 months ago

Habost is the capital of Ness, the village as it is now was established in ca 1854. This was at the same time as the road was constructed from Stornoway to Port of Ness. Prior to this the village was located some 300 yards nearer to the shore. If we take a line from Finlay Morrison's (17 Habost) new house on the cemetry road to MacPhail's manse in Cross, that would be roughly the line of the old village. Tourism accomodation is available at Tom Gorm is world renowned for outstanding hospitality.  Comunn Eachdraidh Nis is situated in Habost.




Habost is also the location of Taigh Dhonnachaidh, a local centre for learning traditional music, Highland dancing, and a variety of other cultural activities.


Taigh Dhonnachaidh officially opened on Thursday 27th July 2000 and was attended by UK and Irish politicians as well as many visitors and locals. The ceremony started earlier in the day at Comunn Eachdraih Nis with a number of guest speakers addressing the large crowd which included friends of the late Duncan Morrison. The gathering was then led up the road by three local pipers.


"The property of 44 Habost was gifted to Comunn Eachdraidh Nis by Duncan Matheson Morison, shortly before his death in 1998 at the age of 92. The house is the oldest 'white' house in the district and was in need of extensive renovation.  a small committee from the Comunn Eachdraidh was tasked with decided what to do with it and John Maciver came to lead the project with Katie Mackenzie. "  (extract from Fios Friday 28 July 2000 issue.)


Taigh Dhonnachaidh also hosts a highly popular 5 day festival of traditional music known as Ceol Nis.


Norman Murray (Tormod Dhomhnaill Thormoid Ruaidh) helped to pioneer the manufacture of lemonade within the island.  He began operating at 44 Habost, in 1915, on an area of land known as 'an Tom Gorm'. In order to gain the necessary skills and experience, he was invited down to the capital to take a short course in the manufacture of lemonade and beverages.  However, he was reluctant to spend time away from home and was impatient to get on with his business. Therefore, he opted to learn his trade from textbooks and practical experience.


With the country at war at the time it was difficult to develop the business and the goods required for successful manufacturing (such as sugar or bottles) were not readily available. He eventually received a regular supply of bottles from Hay & Sons (from Aberdeen).  This helped to greatly improve production and he was able to sell his product in wholesale quantities. Local fresh spring water, particularly from tobair Thaboist, was used in the production of the lemonade.  The pails of water used in the manufacture would be carried from the local wells by various members of the Murray family.  The first consignments of lemonade sold outside the district was purchased by several Stornoway households.  By 1922, Ness Lemonade had gained a reputation for quality which was considered to rival any being sold in Stornoway.


The business went from strength to strength despite having to close down in 1939 when war broke out in Europe. But within a few years Ness Lemonade was available in every hotel in Stornoway and many retail shops throughout the island. Soon an extra vehicle was required to cope with production.  Extra floor space was also needed for the expanding business - this was provided by their brother Lewis, at 34 Lionel. They even introduced different flavours.


By the time Ness Lemonade ceased trading, millions of bottles had been bottled and sold without one serious complaint being received about the quality of Murray's soft drinks.  Several of these lemonade bottles can be found on display in the Comunn Eachdraidh. (Criomagan Issue 5 Sept/Oct 1997)


 Click here for maps of the area


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Comments (2)

Anonymous said

at 8:39 pm on May 14, 2007

A sense of "capital" is entirely dependent on what your sense of the universe is!

Anonymous said

at 9:08 pm on May 14, 2007

Absolutely, one of the meanings of capital is in fact extremely serious - as in 'a capital blunder'... take from that what you will...

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