Stroma Close

Just off Kinnaird Crescent at Southway we find another Scots inspired Plymouth street name – Stroma Close.

Stroma is an island in the Pentland Firth at the top of Scotland – its neighbour Swona, to the north, is part of the Orkney Islands. Stroma sits some two miles off the north coast of Caithness and it measures just a mile long (about the same length as the Breakwater) by about half a mile wide. The name derives from two old Norse words – straumr ‘stream or current’ – and ey ‘island’ – giving us Straumey or Straumsey ‘stream island’.

During the nineteenth century the population of the island almost doubled and when Queen Victoria died there were nearly 400 people living on Stroma, thereafter however the numbers went into decline. There were less than half that number living there by the outbreak of the Second World War and by 1962 the island had become completely devoid of human residents, although it is still rich in wildlife and there are trips organised to visit, from John O’Groats, in the summer months.

It is currently owned by a farmer who uses it for grazing his sheep.