Why leave St. Kilda? Remoteness Isolation Cut off from modern life
Life was hard Food was short There was danger Just ekeing out an existence
In the 19 th century men left for better prospects in industrial Glasgow.
] Gradually the St Kildans lost their self- sufficiency, relying on imports of food, fuel and building materials and furnishing for their homes. And selling souvenirs (e.g. socks) to summer visitors In 1852, 36 people emigrated to Australia, and population decline began (many of the emigrants died en-route, but a few settled in Melbourne, and to this day a suburb of the city is called St Kilda).
In 1876, during a period of food shortage, the first St Kilda mailboat was sent out as a distress signal. A letter was sealed in a wooden container with a sheep's bladder acting as a float. Subsequently, many of these mailboats were consigned to the sea, and most reached shore in Scotland or Scandinavia carried by the prevailing currents.
Men who survived World War I failed to return to St. Kilda. They had seen better prospects elsewhere.
Life was very hard at the best of times - made worse by the arrival of new diseases like smallpox and cholera which ravaged the population in the 18th century.
Tourism caused the islanders to change their ways and longer after a better, material life they hitherto had not known about. In the late 19th century, packet steamers brought tourists to gaze at the curiousity of "savages, living within the British Isles, the like of which were to be seen in the remote reaches of the Empire".
More visits by whalers and ships And inventions like VHF radio broaden the islanders horizons And made them want to leave
The population was ageing Young men wanted to leave to find a wife Older folk and daughters were left behind Finlay MacQueen and his daughter - 1910
On 10 May 1930, a petition was signed by 20 islanders `We the undersigned... hereby respectfully pray and petition Her [sic] Majesty's Government to assist us all to leave the island this year and to find homes and occupation for us on the mainland.' all the houses were locked and the people taken on board… …but with the first actual separation came the first signs of emotion, and men, women and children wept unrestrainedly