You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

The Evacuation of St Kilda (clip 1)

Amateur doc about the last people to leave Britain's most remote island

  • Print All


The preparations and evacuation of the island of St. Kilda which lies 50 miles off the Western Isles. Dated 27th August 1930. Filmed by John P Ritchie, amateur cine enthusiast and ornithologist, during egg-collecting expedition to St Kilda. This is unique footage of the preparations for evacuation, the existence of which was kept secret until 1979. At the time of the evacuation, Scottish Office regulations prohibited any photos or newsreel recordings of the event.

Questions & Activities


  • Compare the different types of dress in the clip?
  • What are the women spinning?
  • What is being loaded onto the boats and why?


Geography / History: St Kilda was Scotland's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. What does this mean and where are the others in Scotland?

Geography / Rivers and Coasts: Investigate what happens at St Kilda today, how the island is looked after and by who.

Geography / Rivers and Coasts: Research the demographic and economic reasons for the decline in St Kilda' population and the eventual evacuation. Use the internet and other library resources to investigate the reasons behind the decision to cover up this event.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-127-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0793
Date 1930
Genre Documentary, Amateur
School Subject Geography, History
Subject Matter Rivers and Coasts
Who John P Ritchie (director)
Where St Kilda
Event Evacuation of St Kilda
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 1:06
Film Length 11:00