In 1909 Aberfoyle was recreated as a quaint, picturesque model village at the Imperial International Exhibition held in London that year - complete with Highland sword dancers and Shetland ponies.
Alongside 'native villages' and human zoos, international exhibitions and World's Fairs of the 19th and early 20th century often featured Scottish, Irish and other 'national' villages. They were created as highly idealised pastiches of Highland life, intended to promote idyllic rural life and traditional skills, customs and values, and they were popular with exhibition visitors. The International Imperial Exhibition held at Shepherd's Bush in London in 1909 had a Scottish village, part of which represented the Clachan of Aberfoyle. The village also included replicas of Burns' cottage and John Knox's house, it had a post office and a team clad in Highland dress. Each day they would perform sword dancing and re-enact scenes from Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Rob Roy'.
While the neighbouring Irish village was given the made up name of 'Ballymaclinton', the Scottish village was named after the Clachan of Aberfoyle. The real clachan of Aberfoyle, through Scott's writing, was embedded in public imagination and an obvious analogy for the Exhibition's romanticised hotch-potch village.
Local historian Louis Stott has written a piece about the Scottish village for the Strathard News; read it here http://www.strathardnews.com/issue%2054.pdf
Katinka Dalglish, museum curator, Strathard Community Trust member, Scandi immigrant, beginner blogger.
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