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Nurse's Cottage, Backhill

Nurse's Cottage, Backhill

Following the death of Dr Hotham G Christian in 1919, there was no doctor based on Berneray, therefore a district nurse was required to live on the island. Initially the nurse lodged with local families.

However, it was soon decided to provide a purpose-built cottage for the nurse to live in. Funding was provided by local families, who each contributed 5 shillings, and by Inverness County Council. Building work started in 1932.

The first nurse to live in the cottage was Catherine MacLeod from Geocrab, Harris. Her successors were Mary Kate Paterson, Mary Ann MacVicar and then, from 1942, Mary Ferguson (née MacLellan), who stayed in the Cottage with her husband and three children. 

Ann Mary MacLeod of 1/2 Ruisgarry (Sandhill), sister-in-law of Mary Kate Paterson, also worked from the cottage. As well as providing accommodation for the nurse, clinics were held in the front room.

Gloria Thompson arrived from Australia in May 1967, and was the last full time district nurse to live in the cottage. Later nurses worked from the cottage until it closed in September 1995, healthcare provision being transferred to the new clinic in Church Road.

The community was keen to make use of the old cottage. In 2004 it was refurbished by Berneray Development Group in order to provide internet and meeting facilities for islanders and visitors, and to provide a base for Berneray Historical Society.



Title: Nurse's Cottage, Backhill
Record Type: Crofts and Residences
Gaelic Name: Taigh na Nurs, Cùl na Beinne
Type: House
Date Built: 1932
Grid Ref Easting: 92108
Grid Ref Northing: 881311
Record Maintained By: CEBH
Subject Id: 68122