When work on the Blackwater Dam started, the tiny settlements of Kinlochmore and Kinlochbeg only numbered four cottages and two hunting cottages. At Kinlochleven, the Company funded the construction of a township of 166 two and three roomed houses, workmen’s hostels, a deep-water harbour and pier, along with shops, churches and other social amenities. Subsequently the Kinlochleven Village Improvement Society (KVIS) managed much of the housing stock in the village, bar that controlled by the local authorities of Argyll-shire and Inverness-shire, until it was wound-up in the late 1960s.
The KVIS was partially funded by the company (through subsidised rent and other grants) and British Aluminium was represented on the society’s committee. Kinlochleven – also informally known as the ‘Electric Village’ on account of the early provision to the village of electricity supply – was also unusual for some time, because of its geographical location between two counties as services being provided by two local authorities and two sitting MPs.
A survey of the village in the mid 1940s revealed that most of its male and some of its female residents were employed in British Aluminium’s factory. Prior to and after the closure of the Kinlochleven works in 2000, multi-agency funding was provided to establish new businesses in the village, and it now boasts the Atlas Brewery, a bespoke indoor climbing centre (the Ice Factor), along with a host of other small businesses.