This film is part of Free

They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides

They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides

A starkly beautiful portrait of crofting life in Flodabay on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

Travelogue 1938 20 mins Silent

Overview

A starkly beautiful portrait of life in Flodabay on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The film follows a family of crofters in their daily tasks - milking the cow, peat collecting, lobster pot making - and the fascinating processes of tweed making: washing the wool, collecting flowers and lichens for dyes, spinning warp and weft. A slow and studied yet compelling look at Hebridean life.

This strikingly accomplished amateur film is the work of William Henry George, a Derbyshire-based geography teacher. Intended as an instructional tool or teaching aid, it demonstrates the hardships of croft living, with a poetic and slightly whimsical tone ("the hard living of the crofts is eked out by the making of tweed and the harvest of the sea"). George clearly admired the "toil and skill" of the crofting way of life, yet recognised it as unsustainable: the crofter's son leaves Flodabay for a job in Stornoway at the end of the film.