I was speaking to Jeanie Craig on Saturday night. No news of Archie! She is going away soon, to S. Shields I think, where her husband has taken a furnished house. She has anoth-er baby now and her mother is going south with her for the change and to help her with the babies. It will be better for her than brooding at home… Stornoway, 11th June. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 11 June 1917

Mrs Gibson writes to Jean this week about the rushed wedding of a local girl to a young service man, and reports on the worried families of two local men who seem to be missing in action. There has also been a currant cake robbery from Mrs Gibson’s window! The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Sheann,

I was sorry I was able to send only a card last night. At three o’clock Alfred Roberston came to call and before he had sat for a while and had some tea Mrs. Anderson came to call with the baby. After they had all gone Papa and I went for a short walk before having a late tea. By the time I had washed up John Maciver (Back) came to see us and he did not go away will about eleven. So I had to write a card and Papa went down with him to put it in the steamer box.

We were sorry you had not been well but hope you are all right again. Next time you go to the baths you must reduce the time. It isn’t good staying long in the water when you are not used to it.

Glad you like the jumper. Is it ripe yet? Bessie was writing home to her mother to make one for her a while ago. Her father told me one Sunday.

I haven’t seen Miss Angus for some time. Did I tell you that a younger sister of Miss Maclean Muir of Ord ( you remember the one we met in Paris?) is coming in her place. She is a graduate of Edin. and I don’t know why she is going in for this work. I am afraid she will be very young.

Papa was taking photos of Class V1 today out at our bushes. Max was there all alone poor boy. He is not at school but was there ‘by request’. Now Papa has gone back to school to develop them.

Have you heard that Gardie Bain is to be married this month. Mrs. Funnell was telling me. She could not say who the young man was but he was recently here on a visit with Gardie. He is in service of course and is going out to Africa hence the hurried wedding. Gardie is to come home and live with her mother if they will let her away from the hospital, but they are needing more and more nurses.

I suppose you have heard that poor Murdo Montgomery who was in the S.B. [School Board?] office is reported missing since 3rd. May. His mother and sisters are in a dreadful way about it. I am sorry for Johanna getting such bad news when away from home.

I was speaking to Jeanie Craig on Saturday night. No news of Archie! She is going away soon, to S. Shields I think, where her husband has taken a furnished house. She has another baby now and her mother is going south with her for the change and to help her with the babies. It will be better for her than brooding at home.

This has been a very beautiful day. Everything is looking fresh and green. The laburnums at the gate are in full bloom and look like something in a Japanese picture. Three of the white beams too are in blossom including one of those at the front not “too much” blossom you know, but blossom. The grass is almost too high. At the back I am keeping it down.

I got my mole frock from Prentice last week. I haven’t had it on yet but it looks all right. Got a new hat last week in Bella Maggie’s, a tuscan straw with a black ribbon. Haven’t had it on but feel better dressed by having it.

When does Maud come home exactly? It won’t be long now.

I baked a big plain currant cake last Friday meaning to have it by me for war visitors. I was foolish enough to leave it cooling on the wire tray on the side table in the kitchen with the window wide open. Stripey, sharp set came in, in my absence and ate the whole top off it! Today I found him in the scullery wolfing up Barrie’s porridge. I am afraid his people must be rationing him.

Much love to Sheann from both her Pa and Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L54

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I had a postcard from Mr. Donald Maclean, who is now an artillery man in the south of Eng-land. He was to be put on for a course of signalling, but first they gave him a test in dictation. First Class Hons. in English was not sufficient! Oh, sapient military authorities! He is stand-ing the life all right, he says… Stornoway, 6th June. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 6 June 1917

This week, Mr Gibson has news regarding a local man who is now an artillery man in the South of England, and he proudly passes on the latest from a former Nicolson student who is studying in Aberdeen. Mr Gibson has also been practising his photography this week, and is keen to show Jean the final results. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

You seem to have been having a great time in the way of social amenities. We were much interested to hear of all the doings at Sir George’s and Dr. Rennie’s. I am glad you met Mr. Clark; as far as I have learned he is quite a nice man. He was present at the meeting when I read my paper to the Secondary Educn. Assocn. at Aberdeen.

By-the-way, you did not think of going to hear Lord Haldane when he was addressing the Aberdeen teachers. From the short account of his speech in the papers he seems to have excellent educational views.

What came of your visit to the Dawsons? We thought it was to be at the end of last week, but perhaps it is still to come. Such ongoings! I saw Maud’s mother two days ago, and she said Maud wd be home in three weeks. So her session will be finished before yours.

For the Zoo, well done, She-ann! Even if your “spotter” [exam.], as you think, will bring you down a bit, it is fine to have been first and to know how it feels. I am sure the girls wd be glad that you had beaten the two boys. What kind of things did you get “to spot”? Any of your old marine friends among them?

I had a letter from Callum Macleod. He seems to be doing very well in his anatomy, as Prof. Reid had advised four of the 1st year men (including Callum) to enter for the Struthers Medal Competition against the 2nd year men. I am glad to know that the good tradition of “the Nicolson” is being kept up in Aberdeen. How many more exams do you get – is it one or two – in addition to the Degree examn.?

Find out before the end of the session what subjects are prescribed this year for the Nicol and MacGillivray Prizes in Zoology. I wd like to hear what they are. I suppose a notice will be posted or invitation made.

Dr. Rennie and Mr. Lang are due here on the 18th and 19th of this month. Mr. Patrick is to be here at the same time. A Miss Goodall is to inspect (?) the “Physical Education” the week before. Dr. J.L. Robertson is here just now. He took German from Maggie Bella and Cathaday. I think they have done quite well. By-the-way, Alfred Robertson is getting some French decoration – the Croix de Guerre, they think.

Max Murray was to have gone up for the Bursary Comp. this year. But he has been in rather poor health for some time back and has been off school for the past six weeks or so, so it did not seem advisable to bother with the examn. in the circumstances.

I had a postcard from Mr. Donald Maclean, who is now an artillery man in the south of England. He was to be put on for a course of signalling, but first they gave him a test in dictation. First Class Hons. in English was not sufficient! Oh, sapient military authorities! He is standing the life all right, he says.

Now, good night; this will get finished to-morrow.

Thursday. It is now to-morrow. Mamma is ironing, Barrie sleeping in the chair by the fire, and I am upstairs in the study.

Mrs. Funnell was down in the afternoon paying Mamma a visit; she was saying Elsie had had a letter from you.

Dr. Robertson and Mr. D.J. Macleod were in school this morning. Dr. R. went away, but D.J. remained to examine the Sixth in Music, and in the afternoon he took the French of the Third. To-morrow he is to take the Teaching of the outgoing J.S.s [Junior Students?] and Lower English.

I am enclosing some prints of photos. I took last Saturday. They are not very successful. I think something went wrong with the developing. I’ll try again when I can get time. Meanwhile you’ll be interested to see these and to show them to Maud. Barrie was a very bad “sitter”. Just when I was ready, he wd  suddenly be seized with a desire to finish his toilet.

We haven’t got any further yet with the holiday arrangements. Mamma is trying to “hen” but I am not going to let her. We’ll need time, however, to talk it over. By-the-way, Mamma is still in want of those gloves you were to have sent her many weeks ago; even then they were much needed.

With our best love, and remember us to Maud.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L53

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Papa had the housecraft applications home the other evening making notes on them. There are 19 of them and they seem to be engaged in all sorts of jobs, almost none teaching. I suppose there would have been twice as many applying were it not for the Minch… Stornoway, 3rd June. 1917.

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 3 June 1917

In her letter this week, Mrs Gibson updates Jean on the teacher applications for housecraft, a bereavement, and the well-being of a local man who is in the Labour Corps. Mrs Gibson also discloses to Jean how she has broken the rationing rules for Barrie, their elderly cat. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Sheann,

We got your letter on Saturday morning and were awfully pleased to hear that you had done so very well in your Zoo. First and 96%, my word! Papa as you can imagine was, if possible, even more pleased than I was and that was a very fine compliment from Prof. Thomson. You have done us proud.

It was very nice of the Dawsons to invite you girls to tea. Mr. Muir of Melville U.F. church spoke very highly of them both.

Had a visit from Mr. C. Laxdale after church today. I asked about Bessie and he said she was very glum in her last, feeling low about some great shine (?) coming on and her not able to dance etc. He said he was going to write to her and tell her to get through her exams. and all those things would follow. Mrs. C. is not well and in bed today.

We had Blind Harry to tea on Wednesday. He is in a labour corps and is looking very hard wrought.

Alick Macaulay from Breasclete was at tea on Friday – no Thursday. He goes south again tonight.

Papa had the housecraft applications home the other evening making notes on them. There are 19 of them and they seem to be engaged in all sorts of jobs, almost none teaching. I suppose there would have been twice as many applying were it not for the Minch. Mr. Ewen H.M.I. wrote Papa about Miss Ross. It seems a beastly shame of those centres to train so many.

Mrs. Anderson (Cathie) was in seeing us this afternoon and talked on, giving us all the news about Aberdeen for a couple of hours. Mr. A. is coming back here in three weeks and I expect you will find them still here when you come home.

Papa says about the holidays that we haven’t decided yet what we will do. He at any rate is going walking with Dr. McKim in the second half of July from Oban to Loch Gilphead. At least that is how it stands, but subject to revision.

The weather here is not good, rainy and windy these last few days. Cathie says it has rained some part of every day since she came.

Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Maciver have had to leave their house and could not get another so have gone to live with Mr. and Mrs. Crichton. It is hard not to be able to get a house of their own and I am afraid the children will worry poor Mrs. C. who is very far from well.

Perhaps you have heard from Maud that Mrs. J. M.’s sister in Garmouth has died. Poor Mrs. Morison has had a lot of bereavement in her family these last few years. Mr. Jenkins is still living with them.

I was out mowing the back green last night. The lawn in front is growing lush and high but we mean to let it grow quite high before having it cut this year. I see our usual few blue hyacinths are up among the grasses. The polyanthus border was very gorgeous for a few weeks but is now over. I have not been able to spare the flowers much attention. The corncrake is hard at work as I write which always suggest the science exam. to me. It is to be about the 12th June when Mr. Rennie and a Mr. Lang and Mr. Patrick are coming.

I see Lord Haldane was speaking in Aberdeen. You should not have missed that.

Barrie doesn’t hear at all now but he is fairly well. Don’t tell anyone, particularly not the food controller but I give him a new laid egg each day.

Much love to Sheann from her Pa and Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L52

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Papa had the housecraft applications home the other evening making notes on them. There are 19 of them and they seem to be engaged in all sorts of jobs, almost none teaching. I suppose there would have been twice as many applying were it not for the Minch… Stornoway, 3rd June. 1917.

More bad news comes through from France – Archie Craig wounded and missing, probably killed, and Murdo Montgomery of the School Board Office, Johanna’s brother, his people have had no word from for three weeks, although he was in the habit of writing his home folk regularly… Stornoway, 31st May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 31 May 1917

Mr Gibson has more bad news for Jean this week sadly; two more local men are missing in action and presumed dead. He provides Jean with some general news about school activities, and also talks of the difficulty in getting a house in Stornoway during that time. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

The last day of May, and it has been cold and showery and with sunshiny bits between. I got your bank-book and we have put in £20 more. I am posting it back to you registered. You sh.d get it by same post as this letter. The zoology paper I am returning as you will wish to preserve them for the final review for your degree examn. It was not, I agree, a very nice paper, but some of the points were good stock ones. I hope you got on well; we’ll hear when the results come out. When do you have your second oral? Or is it a “spotter” you get next.

The Sixth is busy getting ready for Dr. Rennie and Mr. Lang ( a new Science Inspector we are to have this year). I hope they will do well. Not better, I think, than last year’s Sixth, in spite of the “hours”!      More bad news comes through from France – Archie Craig wounded and missing, probably killed, and Murdo Montgomery of the School Board Office, Johanna’s brother, his people have had no word from for three weeks, although he was in the habit of writing his home folk regularly.

In school we are wrestling along. The little concert was quite successful – about 300 present. We cleared £6”10 with 6d tickets, in addition to the duty of 1d a head, which I am hoping to have remitted.      Mr. and Mrs.  Anderson and the baby have been to Stornoway and Mr. A. has gone back again to Aberdeen, but the others remain. He was in one night and had a long talk quite in the old way. He and Mr. Ewen were of course very busy over the bees while he remained. Acknowledge receipt of your bank-book; also reply to query, now a week old, about bicycle. You don’t seem in writing to adopt the device of having our last letter beside you. I recommend it as a good method.

Mr. C. J. Maciver has had to leave his house – owner coming into it, or something. He has not been able to get another, and they have had to go in temporarily with his mother-in-law. It is very hard lines not to be able to get a house of any kind in Story.

Miss Macphail has written about Miss Angus’s successor. She is a young sister of Miss. Margt. Maclean who used to be here as French Mistress. Seems to have just finished her University course, in which case she is younger than I wd have expected the Committee to choose. – I have finished Dr. Robert MacIver’s book on Sociology and have written a review of it for the “Story Gazette” which will be sent you in due course when it appears. There are a number of good things in the book and the main positions of it seem to be sound. It is not, however, what the man in the street wd call easy reading.

By-the-way, I sent the six school mags. to you yesterday. They shd have reached you before this. Barrie is sitting up still and taking nourishment. I was out last night at bedtime pelting Stripey – or rather attempting to – with stones, Barrie sitting by quite uninterested. Am looking to get next letter on Saturday morning. I prefer them then as there is ampler time to appreciate the news.

Our best love,

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L51

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on More bad news comes through from France – Archie Craig wounded and missing, probably killed, and Murdo Montgomery of the School Board Office, Johanna’s brother, his people have had no word from for three weeks, although he was in the habit of writing his home folk regularly… Stornoway, 31st May. 1917

Poor Willie Macleod has been killed in France. Dina was sent for on Friday just after she had gone to school. Isn’t it tragic! Poor Annie has been bad with asthma lately and Mrs. Macleod not at all well, so they are ill prepared for such a blow… Stornoway, 27th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 23 May 1917

Mrs Gibson’s letter to Jean this week reports on the sad news of the death of a local lad killed in France, and an interesting reference to a Mr Keard at Dartmoor Prison. During World War One, Dartmoor was used to house Conscientious Objectors. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Sheann,

We got your letter at the right time this week and were glad to get all your news.  I can see Maud in her salmon pink coat, and am sure it looks nice.  It may be all right to have darney(?) jersey coats at the Residence but it is well to have a decent one in reserve.  Be sure you get a new one before you come home.  Get a pretty one and you can get it dyed later.  Had you got a decent hat.  But where are my gloves etc.?  I have no gloves at all and have lately been wearing Papa’s.  So do not delay.

Hope you got the cakes all right.  They should have reached you yesterday.

Poor Willie Macleod has been killed in France.  Dina was sent for on Friday just after she had gone to school.  Isn’t it tragic!  Poor Annie has been bad with asthma lately and Mrs. Macleod not at all well, so they are ill prepared for such a blow.  He was killed instantaneously.  Archie Craig is reported wounded and missing, and they are in grief and anxiety too.  Charlie Anderson has been mentioned in dispatches.

It will be nice if Maud’s teacher comes to Sy. and of course we would all go to hear her.  Tell Maud there are very numerous applications for Miss Harper’s place.  I don’t know when they are to make the appointment.

The school concert on Friday night was very good but the sketches suffered from being done in broad day light.

Miss Smith was in one afternoon last week.  She said she had written to you.

Mr. & Mrs. Anderson are here.  They came last Thursday.  We haven’t seen the baby yet.

I was calling on Mrs. Firth Maciver one day and she gave me the enclosed prints.  Please return them in your next.   Papa says that in one you look very sure that he is manipulating the camera all wrong.

We have had thunder storms here and quite tropical rain yesterday and today.  It is still heavy and dull but close and warm.  Things should grow greatly after it.

Miss Miller and Mr. H. were here on Wednesday. I was not much taken with him, but Annie was bright in manner and looking very nice and very young.  Hope it will turn out well.

As I write I see the barrow going round for some one’s luggage.  Glad I’m not the one going.

I hear that Maud’s father and mother have left the parish church.  It seems Mr. W. A. Ross failed to send Mr. M. notice of some session meeting – hence the offence taken.  Perhaps it may yet be overlooked.  I haven’t seen Mrs. M for ages.

Mr. Clark Laxdale was in after church today for a smoke.  Mrs. C. has had a bad cold.  You know she is teaching in school till the holidays.

Miss Littlejohn was enquiring for you and Maud.  She is sorry not to have seen anything of you but she has been very little in Aberdeen.  She is still full of energy and cheerfulness.

Mr. C. J. Maciver has had a long letter from Mr. Keard(?).  He is now at Princetown Dartmoor, lodged in the prison engaged in reclaiming part of the moor.  Has not changed his point of view at all and is glad of all his very varied experiences.

Hope you got on well on Friday.

Love from us both to Sheann.

Your loving Ma

*Dartmoor Prison was one of those used as a First World War Home Office Work Camp after compulsory conscription was introduced in 1916, to house Conscientious Objectors (COs) who had been sentenced to imprisonment for refusing to obey military orders. Keard may be an Anglicised form of the Gaelic ‘ceard’ indicating that the person referred to in the letter was from a Scottish Gypsy Traveller family.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L50

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Poor Willie Macleod has been killed in France. Dina was sent for on Friday just after she had gone to school. Isn’t it tragic! Poor Annie has been bad with asthma lately and Mrs. Macleod not at all well, so they are ill prepared for such a blow… Stornoway, 27th May. 1917

Miss Annie Miller is sending in her resignation at once as she is to be married very soon lest Mr. Harriman be called up. He and she are coming to tea on Wednesday. So as we can get to know him… I asked Annie about Johnnie Smith but she seemed to know nothing about him except he was still working in Sheffield… Stornoway, 20th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 20 May 1917

In her letter this week, Mrs Gibson brings Jean right up to speed on the comings and goings of the local folk she has seen during the past couple of days. There is mention of a marriage, a teacher’s farewell tea, and a vivid description of a dinner Mr Gibson attended at the manse at Garrabost. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Sheann,

We were disappointed not to get your letter yesterday and even more disappointed when Papa went down this morning and got none.  It has made us feel quite uneasy, and now there can be no letter till Tuesday.  However we must just hope that you are all right and there is some simple reason for not writing.

I washed your blouses and dispatched them on Thursday along with your scarf.  Miss Annie Miller is sending in her resignation at once as she is to be married very soon lest Mr. Harriman be called up.  He and she are coming to tea on Wednesday. So as we can get to know him.  When Papa said Miss Miller was resigning I at once thought it was Miss Maggie – but there seems no prospect yet of her marriage.  I asked Annie about Johnnie Smith but she seemed to know nothing about him except he was still working in Sheffield.

Maggie Ann Macleod has come back to stay in Sy. accompanied by her mother.  She is taking some private tuition to help her on the way to going to a college for secretarial training.

At Miss Harper’s farewell tea on Wednesday it was strange to see Mrs. Menzies and Ella Mackenzie there.  Ella had helped by baking a cake etc.

We have had rain today after many days of east wind and sunshine.  This evening the sun is out again and things are looking very fresh and green.  Papa and I have been for a walk, out by the target hill, through Upper Sandwick and back past Mrs. Menzies’ Manse.  We were joined on the way back by Mrs. D. J. Macleod, a study in black and white.  She was as gay as usual.

Nellie and Agnes Mackenzie have just started out for a walk down Sandwick Rd, Agnes in a cerise hat and Nellie in very smart shoes.  I have not seen Mrs. Aeneas since she came home.

Yesterday Papa, Mr. Ewen & Max Murray were down at Garrabost Geologising.  Max brought the car so they did not need to cycle as they had intended.  When they were on the shore a lady came to the top of the cliffs waving to them.  She turned out to be Dorothy Macleod inviting them in to dinner.  Wasn’t that nice?  The dinner was de luxe, soup fowls with white sauce, unlimited potatoes, tapioca pudding, with cream and then tea and new oven scones!!  There were two dogs to admire (very amusing) and a nice black cat.  As you may imagine they quite enjoyed the hospitality of the manse and left greatly refreshed.

The people down there still keep to the old time but Mr. Macleod has got them to having the evening service an hour earlier so they and he are equally satisfied.  Isn’t it funny?

I was speaking to Marion Clarke coming from church this morning.  She is looking very nice and lady-like and not so very serious as sometimes.

Bessie was sick at home.  I don’t think Maud’s mother was in church.  I haven’t seen her since we were at the manse together.   I saw Mr. Clark’s (Laxdale) tall spare form up at the front but I couldn’t see who were with him.  Mr. Maciver, Tong, was hurrying the singing too much.  Lottie Russell was at the organ and played very nicely I thought.

Papa joins with me in sending love to our Sheann.

Your loving Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L48

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Miss Annie Miller is sending in her resignation at once as she is to be married very soon lest Mr. Harriman be called up. He and she are coming to tea on Wednesday. So as we can get to know him… I asked Annie about Johnnie Smith but she seemed to know nothing about him except he was still working in Sheffield… Stornoway, 20th May. 1917

I hear Mr. Stevens is back in Scotland from the Antarctic. Some one told me there was a notice about his return in the “Glasgow Herald”. I have written him, so I’ll be able to give his news when I hear… Stornoway, 17th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 17 May 1917

Mr Gibson’s letter this week brings us a very interesting historical connection to Stornoway. Mr Gibson mentions writing a letter to a ‘Mr Stevens’ who has returned to Scotland from the Antarctic. He is indeed referring to Kilamarnock born Alexander Stevens, the Chief Scientist and Biologist on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party] lead by Sir Shackleton between 1914 and 1917. Before taking on this highly distinguished role, Mr Stevens taught Science at the Nicolson Institute in 1907 during Mr Gibson’s time as rector. After leaving the Nicolson to pursue his scientific career, the two men remained in touch by letter. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

Excuse the pencil.  Have just got home from a route march with the boys. Lovely evening. Second day of good weather.

Miss Littlejohn has been and has gone; likewise Mr. Angus L. Macdonald. To-morrow the local ministers take the Bible examn.  Miss Harper goes to-night.  The girls made her a presentation at 4 o’clock.  The teachers had their farewell tea yesterday after school.  We are advertising for a successor.  We enjoyed very much Maud’s account of the Economy Exhibition.

Now, second time of asking – (1) how many Mags do you want + (2) send on your P.O. book, otherwise you will find yourself run out of funds one of these days when you least expect it.

I find I know nothing about the Zoo class except that you enjoy it.  I don’t know how the Prof. is treating it, how fast he moves, what is the relation of the lectures to the Practical, or any other of the many things I want to know.  Now, there’s a chance for you.

Your Social Study Circle interested us.  Tell us more about it as it progresses.  Hope the swimming lessons will be a success.  We want to hear how you got on, and, in especial, how many strokes you can now swim.  Did Mamma mention that Mrs. Aeneas had come back?   We have not seen her or Agnes yet, but we met Mrs. Macleod this evening after school; she is as before!  Col. Macleod is on duty again; he was only 5 days in hospital this time.

I had a letter this morning from Aleck Macaulay, Breasclet, who had been wounded.  He is nearly better.  A piece of shell split and dented his steel cap, but this saved his skull from serious injury.  He expects to be home on leave this week.

One of Miss Mair’s brothers, Hugh, has been killed in France.  It will be a great blow to her.

I hear Mr. Stevens is back in Scotland from the Antarctic.  Some one told me there was a notice about his return in the “Glasgow Herald”.  I have written him, so I’ll be able to give his news when I hear.

I am to ask you about the bicycle, I mean your bicycle.  Mr. Rudland was anxious to buy it, seeing it is out of order.  We would not of course sell it, but we wd. give it away if it is not to be used again. On the other hand, we might get it done up for the summer.  Which is it to be?  Is it worth doing up?

Mr. Jenkins is going away to-night for a run to the Mainland.  He is to preach on Sunday in Carnoustie.  It is, we hear, a very desirable charge, so we are hoping he may get it.  He is very well liked by the folk here.

Now, I think I have brought you up to date or nearly so.

Our best love.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L47

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I hear Mr. Stevens is back in Scotland from the Antarctic. Some one told me there was a notice about his return in the “Glasgow Herald”. I have written him, so I’ll be able to give his news when I hear… Stornoway, 17th May. 1917

You remember a rather pretty stripy one that used to come about when you were here. Its mistress was here the other evening when I was doing the paths, looking for it… Her husband seems to be in the navy and she lives in Mrs. Ross’ who has also Mrs. Rose and her dog. The cat and dog must not meet!… Stornoway, 13th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 13 May 1917

This week, Mrs Gibson’s big news refers to a local cat, whom she discovers has recently travelled all the way from Vancouver to Stornoway. She also has some general news about some of the goings on at the school, and reports on the rumour that one of their church preachers may be leaving. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear She-ann,

Papa went down this morning and got your letter.  You seem to have had quite a busy week, busy in the social way I mean.  We were much interested to hear of your visit to the Murrays.  They are nice kind people. You must go again to see them bye and bye.

I wanted to write to you on Thursday night but Papa thought we had better keep to our own times so it makes it quite a while since I wrote last.  Glad you got a costume. I suppose you have it now and I hope you will like it.  It was dear but then so is every-thing now. You will need a summery hat too.  Speaking of things to wear, get 6½ gloves.  I don’t really know my size and I cannot find a pair with the size showing.

Miss Littlejohn is to visit the school tomorrow and I suppose she will be in to tea afterwards.  “Angus L.” is due tomorrow also to take the maths, much to Mr. Maciver’s disgust.  I propose having him to tea on Tuesday when Miss Harper and Mary Orrock are coming.  Miss Harper leaves this week.  There will not be any one in her place till after the holidays.

I had the [chimney?] sweep last Monday and have been working at the dining room during the week.   One gets so little done in a day when the usual routine has to be gone through day by day in addition.  We have had a fire in the study every day.

Mrs. Aeneas [MacKenzie?] and I suppose Agnes came home last night they would be crossing with Miss L.  I am so glad to see the house open again.

Barry is now better and keeps closely to the fire side. You remember a rather pretty stripy one that used to come about when you were here.  Its mistress was here the other evening when I was doing the paths, looking for it.  She told me she had brought it all the way from Vancouver as she had no one to leave it with.  Her husband seems to be in the navy and she lives in Mrs. Ross’ who has also Mrs. Rose and her dog.  The cat and dog must not meet!  When the lady and I sought Stripey in the big currant bush Barry (who had also been doing the paths) went in and attacked him like a little fury.  I was glad to see the poor dear with so much spirit left.  Poor Vancouver was rescued cowering among the chives.

Today we were at the Estab. Church for the first joint service. Mr. Jenkins intimated that he would be away next Sunday and that Mr. Maciver would preach.  We heard it rumoured that Mr. Jens. had been asked to preach at Carnoustie where a very desirable charge is vacant.  Hope he may be successful.

Glad about the swimming.   Papa expects that after your Atlantic experiences you will learn very fast.  I would envy you if I were sure it wasn’t cold.

I found your scarf and will send it when I get time to make your cake.

Love from us both to She-ann.  M.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L46

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on You remember a rather pretty stripy one that used to come about when you were here. Its mistress was here the other evening when I was doing the paths, looking for it… Her husband seems to be in the navy and she lives in Mrs. Ross’ who has also Mrs. Rose and her dog. The cat and dog must not meet!… Stornoway, 13th May. 1917

Lt-Col. David Macleod has been wounded again; his name was on to-day’s list near that of Aleck Macaulay, Breasclet. The latter has been wounded on the head by shrapnel, not seriously, Catherine says… Stornoway, 10th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 10 May 1917

Mr Gibson’s letter this week brings news regarding a couple of wounded local boys serving in the war, as well as some more general information on peat cutting and how cold the weather was in Stornoway in May 1917. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean Dear,

Mr Clark has just been in for a bit having a smoke.  He and Billy are this year cutting their own peats, but he is not sure that Billy likes it for he “gives him a roar” if he finds him resting on his spade!  We were asking for Bessie, he says she is getting on well.  She has to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to be in time for her train.  We were asking him if he was to be at the church plate on Sunday, as this is to be the first of the joint services, and we’ll be going to the parish church.  He says, however, it is not his turn at the plate.

Mamma was up in the afternoon seeing Mrs. Firth Maciver; this is the first time she has seen her since the husband’s death.

Lt-Col. David Macleod has been wounded again; his name was on to-day’s list near that of Aleck Macaulay, Breasclet.  The latter has been wounded on the head by shrapnel, not seriously, Catherine says.

I was asking to-day Willie Macdonald’s sister as to how he was getting on.  “Quite well,” she says.  He reported in his last letter that the Doctor says if he gets on as well as he is doing, he’ll soon be fit for Blighty.

I had a letter from Roddy “Hen” and he was all right at the time of writing.  Did I mention that Mrs Littlejohn is to examine the cooks next Monday, and who, do you think, is to examine the Mathematics this year?  Mr. Angus L. Macdonald.

Miss Harper is going away on Thursday next.  We are to have our staff tea for her on Wednesday.

I am busy reading Dr. Robert Maciver’s book still.  It has to be done slowly.  I find it very interesting, and I read stiff bits out to Mamma when she is in the midst of something interesting in her own book.

We are back to bad weather again – very cold and raw.  The Sixth Class room is a regular refrigerator again, and a cave of the winds at the same time.  I wonder when the merry month of May will take a thought and mend.

You Uncle Jamie is rather better but not quite clear of his trouble yet, and very hard-worked owing to the lack of men.

Give our remembrances to Maud.  With our best love.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L45

Transcribed by Dawn Macdonald, Archive collections assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Lt-Col. David Macleod has been wounded again; his name was on to-day’s list near that of Aleck Macaulay, Breasclet. The latter has been wounded on the head by shrapnel, not seriously, Catherine says… Stornoway, 10th May. 1917

Am sending on “Gazette”. I have a summary in it of an old book on Stor[nowa]y… Thomas Babington Macaulay got the D.C.M. He seems to have behaved with great bravery, attacked four Germans, killed three & wounded one & carried off their machine guns into lines… Stornoway, 6th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 6 May 1917

In his letter this week, Mr Gibson tells Jean about the new church service arrangements in Stornoway, and a local man, Thomas Babington Macaulay, has won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M) for his bravery in the war effort. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean Dear,

You would have missed my letter.  I am sorry.  I forgot it two nights running, though I remembered it between, so I am writing the Sunday letter instead of Mamma.

I don’t remember any happenings in the early part of the week.  Wednesday was a holiday here.  I did some digging and Mamma some cooking.  Roddy Fraser was with us to tea, and on Thursday he was in at the school saying good-bye.  He went off on Thursday night.

The pupils who had had extra leave for the potato planting got back to school during the week.  Mrs. Menzies and Miss Isabel Mackenzie started their teaching on Monday.  They are each giving half-time; it is a great help.

Mr. Gellon goes away to-night.  He is getting a small charge at Dalwhinnie, on the Aviemore railway line.  Our own church and the parish church, it has been arranged, will have joint services until Mr. Menzies comes back, so Mr. Jenkins will have charge of the two congregations.  The new arrangement begins next Sunday.  We are to go to the parish kirk in the forenoon and to ours in the evening, so with our half-day habits we’ll be in attendance only at the parish church.

The weather is good now but very cold.  On Friday evening we did a little gardening together.  On Saturday chores most of the day, and in the evening a little while in the reading-room to see the pictures.

Mamma asks me to say that the parcel with the coat arrived all right; also that she had had a reply from Mrs. Douglas that they had been thinking of raising their charge to 18./- a week; so you’ll know when you are paying her of the change in the rate.

We were interested to hear of your acquaintance with Prof. and Mrs. Thomson.  When the Prof. was remembering about meeting me at Milport, you probably did not remind him that he had also met you – a little girl with a “very ba-had knee,” tied with a bandage, which had not prevented her from walking bravely round more than half the island.

So the “oval” came off all right.  It is an interesting way of the Professor’s getting to know his students.  I am glad you are liking the class so much; from all I had heard I thought you wd.  And how did the Maths examn get on?  Was it better or worse as a paper than its predecessors?

Miss Littlejohn is coming out this week-end.  We asked to have her earlier so that she cd have the examn before Miss Harper went.  The Sixth girls are cooking dinners for one another as you used to do.  I have heard of no bad effects so far.

Do you want to give away any copies of the School Mag. to your friends?  If so, say how many copies you want me to send on to you.  Am sending on “Gazette”.  I have a summary in it of an old book on Stor[nowa]y.  You will also see about the Deptl Teachers & the Tribunal, and that Thomas Babington Macaulay got the D.C.M.  He seems to have behaved with great bravery, attacked four Germans, killed three & wounded one & carried off their machine guns into lines.  With our best love.

Papa  [Italics written in margin]

P.S.  Send me your bank book, please.  We want to put some more money into it.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L44

Transcribed by Dawn Macdonald, Archive collections assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Am sending on “Gazette”. I have a summary in it of an old book on Stor[nowa]y… Thomas Babington Macaulay got the D.C.M. He seems to have behaved with great bravery, attacked four Germans, killed three & wounded one & carried off their machine guns into lines… Stornoway, 6th May. 1917