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The village does not have a long history. Before the early 1800s, the local populatin lived in townships in Glen Banchor, a mile or so to the West and about 200ft above the level of the present village. The building of the road bridge across the Spey in the 1760s encouraged a few people to build houses lower down, but the first mention of the village in Scottish Record Office papers (1823) refers to 'Moor of Strone' consisting of not more than 50 or 60 inhabitants.
The coming of the railway in the mid-1860s led to the village growing faster and the 1892 census shows a village with 364 inhabitants in 88 houses. Two more were under construction.
By 1929 the population was around 800 and the village was a busy tourist centre. The official guide, published by the Community Council, carried advertisements for 7 grocers, 2 butchers, 3 tailors, 2 boot & shoe makers, 1 boot repairer, 1 newsagent, 3 drapers and 2 garage. Many families let out their houses for the summer months and repaired to a small dwelling in their garden. 91 such houses are listed for let.
The advent of easier and more affordable foreign travel after the Second World War led to a fall in the number of visitors and the building of the new A9 trunk road in the 1970s, while relieving traffic congestion and noise, meant the loss of much passing trade.
Despite this and the ensuing loss of a bank, library, dairy, bread shop, chemist and family grocer, the village continues to thrive. The population has stayed steady at around 1,000 for the last 40 years. The community is renowned for its fund-raising for good causes and willingness to help itself.
The Millenium Book of Newtonmore
Newtonmore celebrated the Millenium not only with a torchlight procession, bonfire and fireworks, but with something more permanent -
A hand-written and photographic record of those living in the village at the turn of the new century.
The entries are written on vellum and beautifully bound in Scottish goat skin. There are three volumes which are kept in a specially built cabinet in the Wildcat Centre.
Every household in the village was invited to contribute something about themselves and to have a photograph taken. Of the then 500 + households, nearly 400 agreed.
Teams of residents worked to collect the information together and to take the photographs.
We believe that, apart from its intrinsic interest to the people of Newtonmore and their relatives at home and abroad, this will prove an interesting source of information about life in a small Highland village in 1999.
The 3 volumes are kept locked in their cabinet, with a page being turned each day, but there are photocopies of all the pages for you to study.
Newtonmore Heritage Discussion Group
This group was set up on Facebook for people to add their reminiscences of Newtonmore in the past. Fascinating! Visit The Newtonmore Heritage Discussion Group Facebook page