The population of Stroma
continued to rise until it reached a peak in 1901, after that the
population began to dwindle as people found new lives elsewhere.
Population Statistics-. 'Stroma' edited by D. Young
||estimate due to
After the second world war the population kept decreasing until the last
family were forced to leave in 1962.
There were numerous reasons for the depopulation of Stroma; and a number
of myths also. Many Stroma men who served in the first world war
returned to find very little work because of overfishing by seine net
boats. They had also seen more of the world, where previously they may
never have left the island, they often found they could not settle back
into their old wets of life and searched for a better life elsewhere.
These men either left for the mainland or emigrated to Canada and the
Large families were common at that time, with little work going the
children had to go elsewhere to find employment. The fishing catches and
prices suffered a sharp drop, resulting in families being forced to
One Stroma man said:
"The politicians emptied it."
The Third Statistical Account of Scotland 1983
The Parish of Canisbay, by Mrs Margaret C. Gunn
he was referring to the Act which made it compulsory for all children
over twelve to go to Wick High School and board there.
Accommodation was difficult to find and expensive, families with
children of that age had to leave. This in turn meant that there were
fewer able bodied men left to crew, launch and haul the boats;
continuing with the demise of the fishing industry.
Jessie Crowe wrote:
'The two mile stretch of unfriendly and dangerous water between Stroma
and the mainland was the main reason for the total depopulation of our
from'Stroma', edited by D. Young primary source
From the statistics concerning population it is apparent that the
inhabitants of Stroma were dwindling. This was greatly different to
everywhere else in the parish, as population continued to increase in
all other areas.
I would say that the main reason for families leaving Stroma was so they
could afford to educate their children, after the education act made it
compulsory for all children over 14 to attend secondary school.