Comrie: the Birthplace of Modern Seismology

The Scottish village with the world’s first earthquake monitoring station


Earthquake House, Comrie, Scotland © Simon Whaley

It didn’t matter how hard I tried, nothing moved. I stamped my feet. Nothing. I jumped. Nothing. Thinking I needed more weight, I picked up my heavy rucksack and jumped again. Still nothing.

I peered through the glass, my nose squashed flat against it so my eyeballs were a couple of millimeters closer, in the hope of spotting even the smallest of movements. But on the floor, standing on a small boxwood cross, the wooden cylinders remained upright. Against the far wall, only six feet away, the pen on the modern seismometer sat poised for action, rather than recording any action. There’s never an earthquake around when you want one.

Earthquake House squats on a rocky outcrop, half way up a grassy slope, in a field on the outskirts of Comrie, in Scotland’s Perthshire. Its name suggests a grander affair than it is, for it is no more than a small stone hut, with a pyramid slate roof, perched underneath the shady boughs of a Scots Pine.

It was built on the instructions of the Committee for the Investigation of Scottish and Irish Earthquakes, which was established over 180 years ago, in 1841. Overwhelmed by the data collected by several Comrie residents, and drawing upon the…



Simon Whaley - Author | Writer | Photographer
Lessons from History

Bestselling author, writer and photographer. UK travel writer. Lives in the glorious Welsh Borders. Contact: