Butcher - John Fowler
Page under construction.
For the purposes of any descriptions the terms north, south, east and west will be used literally.
When the History Group began it's researches into the history of Culbokie we were very fortunate to discover a book written by a native of Culbokie, Annie Smith Mackenzie which she entitled “Earth's Crammed with Heaven.”
Annie was born at Ceylon Croft in 1906 and her description of her childhood in Culbokie was a source of inspiration and knowledge that we put to good use.
Her stories of school life, visiting the various shops in the village and further afield, duties in and around the croft all made for fascinating reading and helped point us in the right direction for many of our articles.
Of the various shops to which Annie referred is John Fowler, the village butcher, of whom Annie says “He did not sell by the 'wavering scales' method. His scales went down with a decided bump and you got a good bargain. He knew the trade from A to Z and was a shrewd buyer of quality animals, and only bought the best at the Dingwall Markets. Only the finest quality of beef and mutton was on sale at his shop."
An earlier attempt at recording the history of Culbokie was conducted by Mrs Elspeth Weir and her class of Primary pupils, the result of which (showing the ravages of time) is shown below.
The shop occupied a prominent position in the village as can be seen below.
Extract from 1880 OS map.
Comparing the apparent length of the current building with the 1880 plan indicates that the property is now much shorter. Reminiscences of a born and bred local confirms this as in her life time she only remembers an ivy covered ruin at the south end of this part of the property i.e. not the slaughterhouse. This had been Mary Jack's shop referred to in "Earth's Crammed with Heaven" with "Miss Jack kept a smaller shop, frequented by friends of her own generation; who liked to sit with her often over a cup of tea." The story has been handed down that Mary's cat always sat in the window next to the butter.
The ruin was replaced by the Firthview council houses built in the 1960s.
An extensive series of photographs of the slaughterhouse will be prepared. However it is apparent that the original building has ben detached from the house to allow for the construction of an extension built by the previous owners, Brian and Rosemary Forsyth, Rosemary being a relative of John Fowler. Of interest is that the field opposite was at one time also part of Benview and contains the Dorran House, St. Martins that Captain Elliot built next to the former cottage owned by the Fowler family. Of interest is that the Dorran method of construction using precast concrete panels in the 1950s became popular throughout Scotland with the panels being produced in the former dyeworks of Pullars of Perth. They came in two styles, bungalows and 2-story semi-detached houses.