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Taylor family operating  Lockhart's mill
Forestry Memories
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No: 1027   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1917
Taylor family operating Lockhart's mill

Photograph courtesy of Alison Mackie of Aberchirder whose grandfather was Peter Taylor who worked in sawmills owned by Lockhart’s of Huntly.

Peter Taylor born circa 1876 had six of a family (oldest born c1906) who in their early years trailed around the country as Peter worked in mills which were moved and set up many times in locations as diverse as the BlackIsle, Laggan, Dufftown and Kintore. In those day the sawmill and attendant camp were dismantled, loaded onto wagons and moved to a new forest location whenever the job or forest in one area was finished. Peter’s brother Bob (settled in Blackisle at a FC mill, Munlochy) and ?

The photograph taken in Lockart’s Mill, Dufftown is estimated to be around 1917 but could be later. The photographer is David Smith but surprisingly no address is given. The group are shown posing in front of what appears to be a large mill and in the background can just be seen the belts and pulleys of a cross shaft which would lead to other benches or a cross cut saw.

The first two men No 1 and 2 are almost certainly the fellers with 6 or 7lb axes hefted on their shoulders. Of interest are the protectors which they are wearing to protect the knees when they are kneeling down on one knee working the crosscut saw. These usually consist of a sheet of heavy moulded leather with a belt top and bottom. The ones in this image look more bulky but probably with the straight legs the leather had ‘runkled up’ a bit. Nos 3 and 5 (5 - Peter Taylor) look as though they are the sawyers with the distinctive protective aprons. No 8 could be the man who worked on the power machinery, kept the steam boiler, pulleys, bearings and running gear in good trim as well as keep the power up by stoking the boiler.

The saw being held on the shoulder of No 6, the older man, is a plain or peg tooth saw, the teeth in sets of three with a gullet between. The saw has a straight back and the handles are held on to the blade by special bolts or clips with fit into holes on the saw blade and extend back through the handle and its side plates to a butterfly nut which tightens up and holds the handle fast to the saw. On this type of saw there were often two holes at each end allowing the handle to be set nearer to the top edge or back of the saw if required.
This is almost certainly a saw for cutting trees into log lengths once the trees had been felled. It may have had the same metal gauge or thickness throughout the blade and the straight back would give it further stiffness allowing the operators to both pull and push the saw when it was being operated. This was easier to do as the operators would be standing upright and also the extra action created a very fast cut which was sometimes necessary to prevent splitting of the timber when on the last portion of the through cut.

It is possible some of the younger loons and the older man with the cross cut on his shoulder are members of the Taylor family. The people numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 are perhaps older versions of Nos 2, 3, 10, 6, 1 and 9 in Picture No 1026.

Any help to identify the other men in the photograph and any other Taylor family members would be very welcome.

5. Peter Taylor

Picture added on 10 November 2011
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