Former Buzzcocks drummer documents standout Hebrides buildings

The former drummer of the Buzzcocks band has documented a list of outstanding buildings in the Outer Hebrides for the Festival of Architecture 2016.

The Boatman's Tower, Stornoway. PICTURE: John Maher

Over 500 people voted for their favourite building in the ‘Building Our Island - Outer Hebrides’ from modern architecture to 17th century ruins and a tin-roofed structure looking down on the harbour.

John Maher, who was a member of the 1970s punk band whose hits included ‘Ever Fallen In Love’. is now a photographer and relocated to the Isle of Harris in 2002.

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Neil Baxter of the Royal Institute of Architecture in Scotland described Maher, who as a ‘man o’ pairts’ who had produced a series of ‘powerfully evocative images.’

The three winners in the project organised by the An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway and the Western Isles Architect Group, were the Boatman’s Tower, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, which stands in the grounds of Charles Wilson’s Tudor Gothic Lews Castle. The boatman ferried people to Stornoway and the boatman’s tower housed his family; the Nicolson Institute Clock Tower, also, Stornoway- an Italianate tower which is all that survives of the elementary an infant schools on Sandwick Road which was demolished despite much controversy and replaced by a sports centre in 1975 and Store Girnal, Rodel, Harris, an 18th century tin-roofed structure perched above the harbour.

Historians believe its rear enclosure, with thick buttressed walls suggest an earlier building, possibly that for which local blacksmith John Morrison was paid for ‘dressing the locks and bonds of Macleod’s keeping house and girnels at Roudill’ in 1708.

Mr Baxter said: “Scotland’s remarkable geography is matched by a rich heritage of superb historic buildings which strongly resonate a sense of place.

“The fact that local people have been so much involved in this brilliant initiative demonstrates the keen interest in our built environment.

“The Festival of Architecture 2016 has been truly Scotland wide – it has galvanised communities the length and breadth of the land. John Maher, truly a ‘man o’pairts’ has produced a series of powerfully evocative images.”

Maher’s ‘Nobody’s Home’ work of abandoned crofts were exhibited at the Lighthouse, Glasgow, earlier this year, part of Architecture and Design Scotland’s Say Hello to Architecture programme.