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Maggie's Hoosie At Inverallochy And Cairnbulg, Aberdeenshire
Traditional Fishermen Cottage But n Ben House
Maggie Duthie was the last descendant of one of Cairnbulg's fishing family. She was a spinster who still lived
in the family But n Ben type cottage of two bedrooms. The But was the posher side of the house with a more elegant
best room, often called a parlour, for family use on special occasions or for entertaining refined visitors such as the Minister. The Ben was
the communinial living and sleeping area and, in Maggie's House, the cooking area. Maggie disliked change and though
she died in 1950 there was no electricity, lighting nor heating in the house, other than paraffin lamps, open fires
and a cooking range. There was no running water either; Maggie was still using the well across the road. Though in
later years this was improved to incorporate a pump.
I have published a book which tells the story of an Aberdonian military nurse who returns from Afghanistan and encounters The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital. The novel reveals her origins and takes him to a pre-war Duthie Park, modern day Cruden Bay and back to the past to the Battle of Loos in World War One where he witnesses the Gordon Highlanders in action. This is the first in the series of Grey and Scarlet Novels by me, CG Buswell, and each book will feature a well known Aberdeen ghost and Aberdeenshire area as well as modern Scottish Infantry in action. Read the first chapter for free.
History Of Maggie's Hoosie
Fishing communities such as Inverallochy and Cairnbulg would have been heavily populated with fisher folk and their
many boats. There would have been hundreds of boats in the harbour, actively being used around the coast. The fishermen,
their wives and children would have lived in cottages like Maggie's. The local dialect is Doric and house is known
locally as hoosie. The families would have lived and worked in the hoosie. Space would have been taken over by fishing
equipment, nets, creels, baskets, etc as equally as normal living items.
Maggie's hoosie is a two bed roomed cottage - one room, which would have been used by the children, was also the
kitchen and living area. There was a bed within a doored alcove which would be shut up during the day. The boys would
probably have slept in the rafters on mattresses amongst the fishing gear. Maggie's parents would have slept in the But
end of the hoosie, which also had a sectioned off bed. The beds mattresses were filled with chaff from the corn each
year which the family would have got in exchange for fish. When Maggie's parents died Maggie moved into this end of the
house and got the whole house to herself when all her brothers and sisters left home. Maggie remained unmarried and had
no children. She was born in 1867 and died in 1950. She spent her life preparing and baiting fishing lines, curing,
smoking, salting and drying the fish and selling the fish around the countryside. She would also barter fish for other
goods and produce.
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Inside Maggie's Hoosie
For years the hoosie lay derelict and over the years fell into disrepair. Because Maggie had never renovated
the hoosie the locals wanted to preserve the cottage as an example of a fisher family's cottage. There were so few
cottages preserved since many were demolished or modernised. The workmen who renovated Maggie's cottage to resemble
how it would have looked in the late 19th Century used as much of the original stones and wood work as possible. The
stones were set together using local clay and sealed with lime pointing.
The beds and some of the furniture is still the originals, as are some of the china plates, pots and pans and
photos and pictures which were looked after by her niece who also lived in the village.
The floor is maintained as it would have been in Maggie's day - a muck fleer which was a beaten down earth floor
to make it hard and then covered in fresh sand from the beach. It would have been swept daily, out of necessity as
bits of fish and muck would be trodden into the floor, and then fresh sand would have been put down. The formal But
room has a wooden floor, as it would have had in Maggie's day.
There was no water in the hoosie, Maggie and her family used the local well and then the pump. Water for a bath would
have been warmed over the stove and a tin bath filled. There was no toilet; a bucket would be used in the shed.
Admission to Maggie's Hoosie is free to children and adults pay £2. A tour guide shows you round the rooms and gives
a talk about the village fishing community in bygone years, Maggie's family and Maggie and her hoosie.
There is a small car park outside.
Opening Hours And Times Of Maggie's Hoosie
AboutAberdeen do not have contact details such as a website for Maggie’s Hoosie so that opening times can be confirmed so the times below are for guidance only:
Maggie's Hoosie opens from 16 June to September from 2 pm to 4 pm Monday to Thursday.
How To Get To Maggie's Hoosie
Maggie's Hoosie can be found at 26 Shore Street, Inverallochy.
Directions from Aberdeen - Take the A90 to Ellon. Continue past and take the A952 towards Fraserburgh. Inverallochy
will be sign posted, you will need the B9033 and then the B9107. Go through Inverallochy and follow the signs to
Maggie's Hoosie. This will take you down Rathen Road, turning right at Charles Street and then the house will be on
the left at the bottom of the road.
More places of interest for the children.