Mr. Menzies was in at the school seeing Papa and telling him about the boys. He has a high opinion of Zadok it seems. He says that the Lewis section of the Battery are looked on as the intellectuals which is what one would expect. I saw Mr. Menzies at the sale and he told me that he discovered in conversation with Papa that he knows far more about the boys than their padre did… Stornoway, 13th December. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 13th December 1917

This week, Mrs Gibson has updates for Jean on who is and who isn’t coming home for the holidays, she reports on a small sale she attended during the week, and mentions the Lewis section of the Battery. Mrs Gibson is also keen to hear the opinion of one of Jean’s friends regarding the political state of Russia at 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

Dear She-ann,

Thursday night again. Before I forget let me tell you this was a dry day. Papa met the Sheriff this evening and congratulated him on the fine crossing he would get and always the winds are shrieking round the house. By the way you will be glad to hear that the “Shiela” is back. Not many girls seem to be coming home this time. Any who have been writing Papa are not coming and yesterday he had enquiries from  the post-office people about Clara Graham and Nan Murray, so they must have applied for a holiday job in Aberdeen. Will you start your journey on the Friday and spend Friday night with Isa? Is that the plan? I have been wondering whether Isa’s sister in London supports the Bolsheviks or Kerenski [sic] or the Czar. Be sure you ask her.

I was at Miss Smith’s little sale yesterday afternoon. It was well patronised and should have done really well. I gave them three sections of honey (2/6 each) and spent 11/3 on “maistly nowt” but all for the good cause. Annie Macfarquhar was telling me Annice is coming home next Saturday.

The dining room is still standing empty. Mr. Forbes was in yesterday telling me that both the painters are sick in bed. I am taking it like a philosopher (Kismet!)

Mr. Menzies was in at the school seeing Papa and telling him about the boys. He has a high opinion of Zadok it seems. He says that the Lewis section of the Battery are looked on as the intellectuals which is what one would expect. I saw Mr. Menzies at the sale and he told me that he discovered in conversation with Papa that he knows far more about the boys than their padre did. Mrs. Menzies was telling me that Bessie’s hostel is a most beautifully artistic place and that it is quite an education for a girl to live in such surroundings. Some one interrupted before I had time to hear about Bessie herself. Her father was south last week end and doubtless we will be hearing from him.

Papa is busy writing letters just now to certain rural teachers for information with a view to his Congress paper. Not Lewis teachers of course as he knows about their conditions only too well. When Dr. Robertson was here last the country boards met and decided on what they would do with the new grant in aid of teachers salaries but all information as to what they have done is denied. That’s autocracy for you!

I met Bessie Clarke today. She seems quite all right and is going back to school after the Christmas holidays. I think she has grown.

There was a great Gaelic debate in the school last night on the different clans. Mr. Macintyre presided and clan feeling ran high. It was regarded as a great success – Miss Bella Macallum played Highland airs and there were nearly 100 present.

I hope your cold is better. Be sure to make preparation in clothes and food for a cold journey. It will be that sure, but I hope the Minch may be moderate. Don’t forget your Mothersill. Hope the exams. go off well.

Love from your Pa and Ma to their Sheann.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L19

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mr. Menzies was in at the school seeing Papa and telling him about the boys. He has a high opinion of Zadok it seems. He says that the Lewis section of the Battery are looked on as the intellectuals which is what one would expect. I saw Mr. Menzies at the sale and he told me that he discovered in conversation with Papa that he knows far more about the boys than their padre did… Stornoway, 13th December. 1917

Sònraichte Project Open Days at the Museum

Thank you!

To all the people that came to the Open Days at the museum, where we had interesting chats about the project, archaeology, and the many objects we have at the museum storage.

Not everything we keep at the museum is on display, this is just a tiny percentage of what’s preserved in the storage. However, most of our material is available for research and educational purposes. Knowing exactly what we have it’s the main objective for the Sònraichte Project. As the Project Collections Officer, I’m working with the archaeology collections to resolve legacy issues and bring our collections up to modern archaeology and museum standards, making the collections more accessible and increasing the knowledge that can be gained from them.


Me holding and explaining the use of spindle whorls for textile activities during the Iron Age at Grimsay Wheelhouse

Many of you asked why it’s important?

This is where good methods in archaeological practice are important. By recording the layers during excavation and where the finds are located within them, we can gain an understanding of our past and how people engaged with each other and their environment. This is what makes us what we are today.

I like to say that archaeology is 3-dimensional – sorry, I’m turning geeky here! – X and Y define space, and Z define time. We need to understand where objects are in place and in time. Archaeology it’s a discipline of identifying through contexts or layers and how they relate to each other in space and in time: which event comes first, and which event comes last, or what events are happening at the same time. Check the diagram below, it’s made of natural deposits created through time, layers are formed and within those layers, there might be buried objects. Additionally, some events may occur through everyday activity: such as digging a hole to dump rubbish, or to build a wall, or even creating a burial. These events can be identified on the soil.

The process of excavation naturally means the destruction of the site and the archaeologist needs to record the layer sequence while digging. A context can be a deposit, a cut, or a structural feature. Each contains information about the nature of the site, its formation and decline, and it helps us reconstruct the site’s human occupation. Here’s an example of contexts and an associated matrix, from most recent to oldest.

Didn’t know that! What do you have in the museum store?

Well, we brought you a glimpse of the archaeology collections, things ranging from the Mesolithic – when humans when hunter and gatherers before society had sedentary farming activities – up to the 20th century. The prehistory and history of the Western Isles.

One of the assemblages we brought for you came from an Iron Age Wheelhouse at Grimsay, North Uist, with a great selection of tools used during the first millennium. Objects ranging from bone awls, pottery spindle whorls, metal crucibles, bronze moulds, whalebone ‘chopping’ board, and many fragments of pottery!

The wheelhouse also comprised some later objects like spindle whorls made from steatite, a type of rock that you won’t find in the isles, and the next place where they might come from it’s from Shetlands and Norway, so it’s telling us about Norse presence at the site! There are also later objects like a cast iron cauldron, which dates to the 18th/19th century. This site it’s telling us how the place is being used from Iron Age almost until today.

The Grimsay Wheelhouse, and assemblage from the Iron Age of North Uist

That’s fantastic! How can I play an active part?

We were able to show you how some of the finds we have at the museum were casual finds from members of the public. These finds were reported to Treasure Trove and allocated to the museum collections. We had some examples of Hebridean Ware, a type of Neolithic pottery typical from the Hebrides which dates to when people started farming around 5000 years ago. The pottery was found by chance and will help inform current research projects into this period. All thanks to regular people like you!

If you want to know more about how you can report your finds via Treasure Trove, I have the right post for you here: Think you’ve found some archaeology? And thank you as well to everyone who brought in interesting objects to show us!

The Comhairle Archaeologist; explaining how casual finds need to be reported to Treasure Trove

Thank you so much! Didn’t know how archaeology works

Thank you for taking the time to come and visit us and to everyone else reading this online. There will be two further Open Days at the Museum Nan Eilean Lews Castle: Wednesday 29th September between 11:00 – 3:00 pm then 16th October between 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Come and visit and celebrate archaeology with us!

Thank you to Museums Galleries Scotland for funding this project.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sònraichte Project Open Days at the Museum

On Friday evening I was at the meeting of the Y.M.C.A. committee. They were making arrangements for the social meetings of the naval men during the Xmas and New Year weeks. The leading part was being taken by Mr. Crow, an Episcopal clergyman of the Seamen’s Mission… Stornoway, 9th December. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 9th December 1917

Mr Gibson reports to Jean on the comings and goings of the week, as well as discussing the topics up for debate at The Literary which he regularly attends. This week they discussed ‘compulsory rationing’ and it would seem most people were not in favour of this. 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,

Your letter came to hand on Saturday morning. We congratulate you on the good place you took in the essay; how will the examn  get on? I see you are to have it on the 19th – the same date on which I am to deliver my lecture on “Things that matter”, so I have a fellow feeling with you. I am not writing it out this time as I have always done before; instead I am going to try a talk on the method of my Monday mornings. I don’t know how it will come off.

We saw from your letter that the Nat. Phil. examn as you had expected had not turned out very well; better fortune next time. You will get your next one past before the vacation and so have it off your mind. It is all right having an essay to do during the holidays; it is better to have it then than in the middle of your grind for exams.

We were glad to hear about Mr. T. You did not say how he was looking so we take it he is well. Poor Davie, we were sorry to hear of his disappearance and unknown fate. It was like Mr. Taylor to adopt the wee stray from the T.C.

I had a letter from Maggie Bella, and see from it that a number of the girls she names will not be coming home at Xmas. I think someone told me that Bella Campbell was to come.

Your “study circle” interested us. Have you a single subject for study, or a series of subjects? And how is it gone about? Give us some details. We liked to hear about your N.G. being sister to the first bursar. How very Scots!

We are passing the Sunday evening as quietly as usual, in the study reading. Mamma is at one of Gissing’s – “A Life’s Morning”, and I have been looking up some points in early Egyptian history – not the very earliest; only about 4000 B.C., reign of Khufu!

On Friday evening I was at the meeting of the Y.M.C.A. committee. They were making arrangements for the social meetings of the naval men during the Xmas and New Year weeks. The leading part was being taken by Mr. Crow, an Episcopal clergyman of the Seamen’s Mission, or some such organisation. On Saturday the weather broke down into sleety snow. We visited the Reading Room as usual in the evening and saw the illustrated paper. To-day we were at church in the forenoon. Mr. Clark, Laxdale, has gone south to an education meeting. Mr. and Mrs. Menzies were in their pew. We did not get a chance of speaking to them. He is still in khaki. Mr. Jenkins was preaching. We have not yet heard what arrangements are being made for carrying on the churches.

Yesterday I had a letter from Dr. Boyd, of the Glasgow E.I.S., asking me to read a 20 minutes paper on “Rural Education” at the Glasgow Congress of the E.I.S. It is to be held on the 3rd and 4th of January. Mamma and I have talked it over and we think I should go, so I am writing to agree. I am sorry it will take me away from home during four of the days you are here, but we’ll have the other days, and you can take care of Mamma while I am off.

Things in school are going on in as nearly their usual as we can manage. One of the children had been saying – it came to us at secondhand – that Mr. Tait was getting into his stride again. The Literary had its first debate last Wednesday evening. It was of a seasonable character – on compulsory rationing. I was not able to be up, but Mr. Maciver presided, and he reported that it had been quite a success. The voting had been 44 against and 36 for. Next Wednesday is to be a Gaelic night on “The Clans”, which should produce some good talking.

Now I think I have posted you in all the things.

Best love from both.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L18

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on On Friday evening I was at the meeting of the Y.M.C.A. committee. They were making arrangements for the social meetings of the naval men during the Xmas and New Year weeks. The leading part was being taken by Mr. Crow, an Episcopal clergyman of the Seamen’s Mission… Stornoway, 9th December. 1917

Dr. Norman Macphail was in school seeing Papa this week. He has been at Passen-chdale [sic] and had a rather awful time but is expecting to be kept in England for the next few months. He says Lawrence Bain is in Italy. Lawrence will be glad as he was very tired of France… Stornoway, 4th December. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 4th December 1917

In her letter to Jean this week, Mrs Gibson gives her opinion on the United States entry to the war, as well as updating Jean on the wellbeing of a few local men who are serving abroad. Mrs Gibson has also been getting the house ready for Jean’s visit, so reports on the visits from the plumbers and the painter. 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,

Thursday night again. The plumbers have been here three days this week putting in a new hot water tank and we have been without fire in the kitchen and in a great mess. They managed to make a brand new burst in the wash room too but now they have gone and I have got the fire on today and the floor washed and begin to feel civilized again.

MacKenzie the painter came yesterday and brought the paper and fell into a rage and went away. I hope his man may be here on Monday. Meantime I have the room emptied and today washed the linoleum preparatory to taking it up. So perhaps after all we will be in order by the time you get home. Won’t that be so nice?

Papa has been out taking his drill and has now returned to read his paper. The news from the front is full of gravity these days. There are such critical events toward. I see President Wilson has been addressing Congress and speaking as if the war were just about to begin with their coming on the scene. Its little he realises what the Entente has been through. We hope they will do just as well as they think and that so we may manage to end it.

It makes me quite giddy to read of all the meetings you go to on Fridays. What a feast: or should I say surfeit. You don’t go in for mental rationing anyway. It must be nice to see and hear so many different people. Fine confused feeding, eh?

I had a note from Miss Smith this morning reminding me of a sale the Y.W. are having next Wednesday. She said she had had “a ripping letter” from you.

I am glad Isa Macd. has asked you to break your journey at Inverness. It is very good of them indeed.

Papa had a nice letter from Marion Clarke. She did not say if she was coming home. Bessie is helping her father in the office.

We are still having awful weather, the glass either shooting up or dropping down. For some says we had north wind and snow but it has now returned to the normal wet. The “Plover” did not come on Saturday night and did not get here till 5.30 on Sunday evening. She had spent the night at Portree.

Sheriff Dumbar has taken Mrs. J.M’s house and the J.M’s go away in February. It will seem strange with them out of the town. I suppose if Dr. Murray gets into parliament the sheriff will then get the cottage. ‘Nous verrons’. Lily Morison has told Papa she is leaving in the New Year. Dr. Norman Macphail was in school seeing Papa this week. He has been at Passenchdale [sic] and had a rather awful time but is expecting to be kept in England for the next few months. He says Lawrence Bain is in Italy. Lawrence will be glad as he was very tired of France.

No word yet of the Menzies return but likely they’ll be soon. Mr. Menzies got all his clothes burned in the great fire at Salonika (where they were stored) and will need some time to get new ones. No word from Mr. Mills recently. Now I think you have all the news.

Love to Sheann from her Pa and Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L17

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dr. Norman Macphail was in school seeing Papa this week. He has been at Passen-chdale [sic] and had a rather awful time but is expecting to be kept in England for the next few months. He says Lawrence Bain is in Italy. Lawrence will be glad as he was very tired of France… Stornoway, 4th December. 1917

So you saw the Salary Committee’s Report and Scheme. I am not sure which of the grades this school will be regarded as coming under. In most cases the proposed increases, even if granted, would not bring the teachers up to their pre-war condition owing to the fall in the buying power of money. Meantime we continue to practise thrift and wait for the good time coming…Stornoway, 2nd December. 1917

Extract from letter Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 2nd December 1917

In this week’s letter, thoughts turn towards the Christmas and New Year holiday when Jean will be returning home to her parents. Mr Gibson also mentions a visit from the Food Control official and a report on proposed increases for teaching salaries. 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,

Mamma agrees to a two weeks’ engagement of the lady help mentioned in your last letter (aprons provided), and I propose to meet her at the steamer on the evening of the 22nd. A hen lays – somewhat erratically I admit – but the productions can be stored, and a small piece of pig remains – so!

I was interested to see your not very attractive Nat. Phil. paper. I did not know that it was to be entirely on Dynamics. Are you not getting any Physics yet? If not, there will be considerable work to do next term. Glad to hear that your English class continues to be interesting. Don’t worry about lengthy notes of lectures. All you want is pegs enough on which to hang your recollection – a précis in fact.

We were glad to learn that you had enjoyed the English “at home” and that your knowledge of whist had again come in useful. Yes, we remembered that the “Alma” account had mentioned that Miss Muriel was a fine dancer.

The Students’ Handbook has not yet come to hand as requested. Don’t forget. There was also the small book on German contribution to thought, edited by Prof. Paterson that I was to have got a year ago. I’ll take it when you come as a New Year gift (Bissett, 2/6). Have there been no issues of “Alma Mater” this term? We had Thursday and Friday as Thanksgiving holiday – weather awful, rain and storm and to-day, snow. The children from a distance have gone home, but how they are to get back to-morrow I don’t know. We paid our usual visit to the reading room on Saturday evening to see the pictures. A queue of folk waiting in the baker’s shop until the loaves wd be twelve hours old was the novelty on which Mamma stumbled when she went in for her bread supply. There is an official of the Food Control here just now!

So you saw the Salary Committee’s Report and Scheme. I am not sure which of the grades this school will be regarded as coming under. In most cases the proposed increases, even if granted, would not bring the teachers up to their pre-war condition owing to the fall in the buying power of money. Meantime we continue to practise thrift and wait for the good time coming.

We are in the study as usual and as it is the lamp that is alight Mamma is having much trouble in keeping the silhouette of her nose off the Matheson Rd. blind. As for Barrie, he is at peace on her knee; shadows trouble him not at all.

Mr W.J. Clarke is better again. He was enquiring whether you were coming home or not; he was wondering whether Marion shd  come home or not. She seems from what he says to be liking the T.C. and to be well pleased with the hostel and with Miss Souter’s interest in them. We have not learned yet when Mr. and Mrs. Menzies are coming home; we hope she is enjoying her little holiday in the south.

Best love from both.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L16

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on So you saw the Salary Committee’s Report and Scheme. I am not sure which of the grades this school will be regarded as coming under. In most cases the proposed increases, even if granted, would not bring the teachers up to their pre-war condition owing to the fall in the buying power of money. Meantime we continue to practise thrift and wait for the good time coming…Stornoway, 2nd December. 1917

We were greatly distressed yesterday when news came to the town of the death in action of Willie P. Macleod in Mesopotamia on Nov. 4. He would never have heard of Dawtie’s death. Papa had a letter from him last week and posted a letter to him on Sunday night. He wrote in good health and spirits. We are afraid to think of his poor mother and sister… Stornoway, 29th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 29th November 1917

In Mrs Gibson’s short letter this week, she passes on the sad news of another death of a local lad who was killed in action in Mesopotamia. She also brings Jean up to speed on some of the social gatherings that occurred this week. 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,

This is Thanksgiving holiday and in the late afternoon we went out to see the people at Laxdale.  We have just got back at nearly ten o’clock so you will not expect much of a letter.  Tomorrow is also a holiday with a view of saving the coal.  It is still raining here as it has been for so many weeks now.

We were greatly distressed yesterday when news came to the town of the death in action of Willie P. Macleod in Mesopotamia on Nov. 4.  He would never have heard of Dawtie’s death.  Papa had a letter from him last week and posted a letter to him on Sunday night. He wrote in good health and spirits.  We are afraid to think of his poor mother and sister.

Papa had a visit in school from Neil Macdonald on Tuesday.  He invited him to come to tea and I got a nice tea ready but he did not come.  Did you know he has the M.C.  We hear that Kenneth Maciver (Margaret’s brother) has also got it.

Sorry you found the Nat. Phil. so difficult but better luck next time.  The questions looked very difficult to me!

I enclose Aunt Dean’s latest letter.  You will write her a nice little note of thanks but I suppose you will want to come home.  It won’t be long now either.

Hope you had a nice evening at the English “At home”.  Am looking forward to hearing all about it.

The Clarks are expecting Mr. & Mrs. Menzies home next week.  It seems Mr. Jenkins is going away and there are hopes the congregations will remain joined under Mr. M. I do hope so.

4/11 for slippers – some thrift. Even the wearing pair I got in Glasgow were 7/6 I think.  Don’t be too too stingy to yourself you know we like you to be nice as well as decent.

Barrie is very glad we have come home.  He came “courring” out of his bed to me and got milk forthwith.  He has a good “ounce”.  Now to catch the post. 

Love from us both.  Your loving Ma

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L15

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We were greatly distressed yesterday when news came to the town of the death in action of Willie P. Macleod in Mesopotamia on Nov. 4. He would never have heard of Dawtie’s death. Papa had a letter from him last week and posted a letter to him on Sunday night. He wrote in good health and spirits. We are afraid to think of his poor mother and sister… Stornoway, 29th November. 1917

The town has been out of flour and butter this last week. Fortunately the bakers have evidently had a supply, as the bread issue has continued. The voluntary ration of Sir Yapp Mamma has pinned up beside the fireplace in the kitchen and we were counting up at teatime to see if we had kept within it. We found we had kept well within the limit in everything except perhaps sugar. It looks as if Rhondha (I can’t remember how he spells his name, but that doesn’t look right) would have to face compulsory rationing, much as he wished to avoid it… Stornoway, 24th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 14th November 1917

This week’s letter from Mr Gibson includes some updates on local lads who are away at war and the poor state of the ration supplies in the town. There is news of a scarlet fever outbreak that the schools have had to close for, and Mr Gibson, or rather, Barrie, mentions how he thinks the islanders might have learned to cut peats! 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,

We got your letter yesterday morning & I had the pleasure of having it read to me in bed.  You will by this time have got the Nat. Phil. exam off your mind.  I hope it wasn’t very bad.  We noted your “spotter” in the Zoo and its result.  What kind of things did they give you to identify?  We are looking forward with interest to hear how the essay got on.  If you get any home exercises in your English that deal with the features of Shakespeare’s Age you will find a mine of information in “Shakespeare’s England” a book publd. in connection with his centenary & sure to be in the University Library.  The enclosed cutting gives the contents of its chapters.

It must have been quite exciting getting so many of your inmates dressed and off to the Chemi. Party.  We’ll look forward to hearing about the English Class “At Home.”  By-the-way, have you seen Mr. Taylor this session yet?  We want to hear how he is.

In school we’ve been busy this week getting our exam. results gathered and marks made up; reports go out next week.  On Weds. Evening we had Sheriff Dunbar’s lecture on “George Borrow”.  It was in the Free English Church hall and there was a good turnout – at least as these things go in Stornoway – of about a hundred.  Everybody who was anybody was there as far as I could see.  I think I mentioned I was in the chair.  We made a fair sum but about a fourth of it has to go to the Government in the form of duty, a literary lecture (charming idea!) being regarded by the authorities as an “entertainment”.

About an hour before we started out for the lecture B’lann’s brother (whose sister you were all seeing off for “munitions”, came in to see us.  He is home on leave after having been gassed and slightly wounded.   He is almost better though his eyes are still affected.  Mr. Conning has this week got word of the death of wounds of one of his boys who was in the Canadians – John, I think.  A number of casualties were intimated in Story. this last week.  We had been remarking that Lewis had had few for some time back.

Mrs. Tait was up seeing us on Friday evening & had supper.  It was a wild stormy night, & I saw her home.  Mr. Tait is getting the work under weigh [sic] again, and discovering how little Latin they know after their long rest.   Next week we’ll be having the Thanksgiving holiday.  The weather unfortunately remains very wet and broken.  There is still quite a lot of scarlet fever in the island and a number of schools are closed.

We had a letter this morning from Wm. P. Macleod, from Mesopotamia.  He wrote in a wonderfully cheery strain in spite of the climate.  Poor lad, he had not yet learned of Dawtie’s death.

I have just been telling Mamma the things I have been writing about and it turns out she had already told you about some of them.  We were at the Parish Church this morning and Mr. Jenkins intimated that Mr. Menzies had reached London yesterday.  They were afraid that he might be delayed in Salonika for some considerable time, but things turned out better than expected.  It is good that Mrs. Menzies won’t have to wait longer for him.  Mrs. M. had seen Bessie in Glasgow and had seen over the hostel.  Mr. Clark and Ellis were in after church and gave us their news.   Mr. Wm. J Clarke has been ill in bed all last week but is getting on favourably.   I was in seeing him on Saturday afternoon.  Bessie got back home last night and I hear is looking well.  I was glad to hear from him that Marion is liking the hostel well.  Miss Souter seems to be very nice to her.

We have been spending the Sunday evening in the usual way – reading at the study fire.  Barrie is reposing very peacefully on the hearth rug and blessing that old Norse viking who first taught the Lewismen how to use peats; “s’nice man!” he says.

The town has been out of flour and butter this last week.  Fortunately the bakers have evidently had a supply, as the bread issue has continued.  The voluntary ration of Sir Yapp Mamma has pinned up beside the fireplace in the kitchen and we were counting up at teatime to see if we had kept within it.  We found we had kept well within the limit in everything except perhaps sugar.  It looks as if Rhondha (I can’t remember how he spells his name, but that doesn’t look right) would have to face compulsory rationing, much as he wished to avoid it.

Now I think I have given you all the news.

With love from both, Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L14

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The town has been out of flour and butter this last week. Fortunately the bakers have evidently had a supply, as the bread issue has continued. The voluntary ration of Sir Yapp Mamma has pinned up beside the fireplace in the kitchen and we were counting up at teatime to see if we had kept within it. We found we had kept well within the limit in everything except perhaps sugar. It looks as if Rhondha (I can’t remember how he spells his name, but that doesn’t look right) would have to face compulsory rationing, much as he wished to avoid it… Stornoway, 24th November. 1917

Think you’ve found some archaeology?

The Outer Hebrides has a long history of human occupation much of which is still buried under the sand and peat, yet to be discovered.  There is a chance you might find something interesting while hiking; especially if known archaeological sites are nearby. You can help us by reporting everything you might find.

So you found something, now what?

Record

The first thing is to record the findspot. You can use a GPS device to get the National Grid Reference but if you don’t have one, try to be as accurate in plotting the findspot on to a map, preferably with an OS map.

Finds can be loose on the surface or partially buried. If it’s loose, bag it with the findspot information; if still in the earth leave it in place, perhaps try to cover or protect it with something and record the findspot as well.

If you have a bagged object, you should not clean the object or apply any oil, wax, or other solution; this will affect or even damage the object. Every time you clean an artefact, you assist with its deterioration, so no, it’s a big NO cleaning until it’s been checked by a specialist!

Do try to have a minimum description of the object: especially the type of material: stone, ceramic, metal. If you feel more into it, there are some handy guides to help you describe the objects in the following link https://finds.org.uk/counties/findsrecordingguides/how-to-write-a-description/

Do take pictures in good lighting, at least from all the angles possible

Report

Under Scottish law, all portable antiquities of archaeological, historical or cultural significance are subject to claim by the Crown through the Treasure Trove system and must be reported. There’s no other way. The Treasure Trove system safeguards portable antiquities of archaeological, historical and cultural significance found in Scotland and enables their allocation to Accredited Scottish museums.

Your part is in helping us to enjoy those finds from our past ancestors. Anything that you find must be reported, even if you think it’s insignificant. Although if you find animal bones, you could leave them in place, if suspect that they’re human, please call Police Scotland.

Your first contact will be either your local archaeologist or directly with the Treasure Trove Unit (TTU).

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/leisure-sport-and-culture/western-isles-archaeology-service/

https://treasuretrovescotland.co.uk/

No, I don’t want to report my find

Non-reported portable antiquities cannot be owned by anyone else if the Crown has not been given the opportunity, by reporting, of exercising its right of ownership. Furthermore, there is no time limit concerning the non-reporting of items; they remain the Crown’s property in perpetuity. So, in this case, you as a finder have no ownership rights for artefacts that have not been reported to the Crown. Not even if you’re the landowner!

Usually, it will be necessary for the item to go to TTU, which will retain it in safe storage until its future is determined. They will liaise with you (the Archaeology Service or the Museum acting as a reporter).

Keeping it

Once you report your find, the TTU has to determine its significance.  From here, there are two possibilities: a claim or a no claim.

If your find is not claimed, the TTU will issue a finds certificate and send it back to you with the find. But, if the Treasure Trove Unit claims the find it will go through a more complex process.

The Treasure Trove Unit advises the Queen’s & Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) about the claim. Then, it will advertise it to museums that want to acquire the find for their collection. An allocation process starts through the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel. Once the find is allocated to a museum, the QLTR will send you an ex gratia reward and a finds certificate.

Even if your find is either claimed or not claimed, you get the reward and satisfaction of helping to preserve the local archaeological and historical record. It’s a win-win situation, so please, report any finds!

Here’s a selection of finds that has been allocated to Museum nan Eilean

A Hebridean Ware pottery sherd, found in North Uist. Neolithic
A bone plaque found in North Uist
A viking enamel mount, found in Galson
An Insular gilt and chip-carved bronze mount, either from a belt, harness or something ecclesiastical, found in South Uist. 8th century
A medieval gold ring, found in Ness

This is part of the Sònraichte project funded by Museums Galleries Scotland

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on Think you’ve found some archaeology?

We had a visit last night from Miss Bell Ann Morison’s brother from the front. He was badly gassed and has been in hospital for a long time. His eyes are funny yet and he expects to be sent to a camp in Ireland… Stornoway, 22nd November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 22nd November 1917

In Mrs Gibson’s letter to Jean this week, we hear news regarding a local lad who was badly gassed on the Front. Mrs Gibson also gives Jean an update on the painters, the weather and a recent, popular lecture on the writer George Borrow that Mr Gibson chaired. 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,

If the writing is worse even than usual put it down to Barrie who insists on getting into my lap and then giving himself a great doing up, and me writing on my knee too.   He has no sense.

We got your Sunday letter on Tuesday morning as usual and note how very busy you are.  We were glad Maud was better when you saw her on Saturday.  I haven’t seen her mother lately.

The weather here is rainy and scotch misty and dank.  I never remember such continuous rain.  Every thing is sopping.

Last night Sherrif Dunbar gave a lecture on George Borrow in our church hall in aid of the library funds.  Papa was in the chair, in his official capacity as chairman of the library Comtee.  There were about 100 people present which was a lot for Sy; and the lecture was good.  I must try to read Borrow which up till now I haven’t.  I don’t think Mr. & Mrs. Clark were there.  Last Sunday we had a little stroll after church with Mr. C.  He was telling us that Bessie is working in the post-office from 2 till 6 each day.  She begins at £1 a week and rises to 25/.  It is for the special, busy season between now and Christmas.  Bessie was finished with her classes at 12 each day and I think felt she hadn’t enough to do.  After the New Year she is to try to get some tutorial arrangement for her Zoo, and Chemistry.

The painters have never been to the dining room yet.  I met the master one day and he said they were all in Tarbert, Harris.  I am now waiting for them with what patience I can muster.

I have now put Barrie down and he is trying all sorts of out-flanking movements in order to get up again.  He is cute.

Papa had a letter this morning from Mary Burns – nothing interesting in it.

We caught a mouse this morning in the corner press by the fire, top shelf.  I heard the little nipper go off after I came down stairs and then for a bit there was a scuffling and then silence.  Think of my feelings!  Barrie was much pleased.  In the wash house it is a case of “cherchez le rat” but although the Giant nipper is temptingly baited with bacon-rind and cheese (hope Rhondda won’t hear that) le rat willn’t. The potatoes have attracted him and he seems to prefer them “with missing.”

We had a visit last night from Miss Bell Ann Morison’s brother from the front.  He was badly gassed and has been in hospital for a long time.  His eyes are funny yet and he expects to be sent to a camp in Ireland.   Men not quite fit for France might do all right for a sudden scrap with Sein Feinn [sic.].  However we hope they won’t be needed for that.

Mrs. D. would be very proud of her nephew getting the M. C.  What was it for?

We are wondering when you are going to see Mr. Taylor.  You must not neglect such a very old friend as he is, and perhaps you may manage a Sunday afternoon before Christmas.

Miss Eva Macleod that was is in Leeds still although her husband is here.  We are all afraid that the husband is “a wrong un” and wish Eva hadn’t married him.  People say she has been left there to help his mother to keep a shop he had bought.  Any-way it is a very queer arrangement.

I think I have now posted you up in the Sy. news and here is Papa home for his tea and it not ready.  Love from us both to Sheann.   Your loving Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L13

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We had a visit last night from Miss Bell Ann Morison’s brother from the front. He was badly gassed and has been in hospital for a long time. His eyes are funny yet and he expects to be sent to a camp in Ireland… Stornoway, 22nd November. 1917

John M. MacCallum, wounded, from the Canadians, and Rae Macdonald, home after being blown up, were in seeing me on Friday. A son of Colin Macleod’s from the Canadians we were speaking to to-day. He has been badly wounded and will get his discharge after going back to Canada. Mr. Matthew Morrison, Miss Gina’s brother, is home on leave. He is looking well…Stornoway, 18th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 18th November 1917

Mr Gibson writes to Jean this week regarding the welfare of three young men who have been away at war. He is also very excited to hear about Jean’s latest studies on the ‘wattle bagworm’, so much so that he recites a couple of verses from a poem, we believe he possibly wrote himself, about the wee beastie! 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,

In the study, Sunday afternoon, dusk just coming on.  Mamma is reading Col. Hutchinson’s Memoirs (time of the Civil War).  Barrie is downstairs in the kitchen asleep.  Outside is dull weather with rain and an end-of-the-year air about things.

We see from your letter, duly recd. yesterday morning, that you are in the midst of things and very busy.  Glad you called on the Souters, as they have been so very nice to you.  We were charmed at the high literary motive that had induced Miss Lena and you to enrol yourselves in the Classical.  Tell me how Prof. Harrower impresses you, when the time comes for you to make his acquaintance. Remember I am an old student of his of the Glasgow days.  He taught us Vergil and Antiquities & did it very thoroughly.

We wish you well in the Nat. Phil. exam. when Friday comes.  The main drawback to the University life is provided by exam.s  – is it not so?

We were interested to hear that Prof. Thomson had set you on in turns to writing a precis of natural history monographs.  That is excellent training, though possibly a bit trying while in process.

The subject of your one fairly fascinated us – the Wattle Bagworm of Natal!  Mamma says it is exactly like something out of Alice in Wonderland.  As for me, I dropped into verse as follows:-

­The Wattle Bagworm of Natal.

Beasties queer from many lands we have met upon our rambles

The platypus that layeth eggs, the Bradypus that only scrambles,

But of all the queer old things that range

From the Weddell Sea to far Bhopal

There is nothing half so queer or strange

As the Wattle Bagworm of Natal.

See him with his bag and wattle

Strut along with noisy brattle,

Other beasts with envy burst,

As a toff the Bagworm’s first.

Now, that should comfort you some in your efforts at summarising his weak and strong points.  Be sure to tell us more about him and his fate.

I am glad you are keeping us posted in the work of the English class.  I suppose the essay has gone in.  We wish it good luck. Are glad to know that Jean M. is able to be back again to her classes.  I hope she will not overwork.

I got this week the usual copy of the Abd. Univ. Calendar, and we had the pleasure of reading your name in the Merit Lists.  It looked very nice and familiar.  By-the-way, did I ask you to send us a copy of the Students’ Handbook?  If not, I do so now.  We like to have it for the meetings of the Assocns. and the names of the girls you meet. Don’t forget.  So you got your accounts made up, with a balance at the right side.  Good, but it will be much easier on you if you do it weekly.

We had a letter this morning from Miss Angus, who wrote in good spirits, liking her work very much and extending it.  She had met Bessie one day, thought she was looking dull and invited her to meet her one day during the week in the city and lunch with her.

Things working along in school. Mrs. Menzies and Miss Dean went south as I explained, but we hear now that Mr. M. is delayed for an indefinite period at Salonika.  So the churches are to continue their joint meetings in the meantime.

The first of our Library lectures is to be on Wednesday evening first, by Sheriff Dunbar on “George Borrow.”  I expect it will be good.  It is likely I’ll have to be in the chair.  Dr. Murray has now given us his subject – “The Federation of the World.”

John M. MacCallum, wounded, from the Canadians, and Rae Macdonald, home after being blown up, were in seeing me on Friday.  A son of Colin Macleod’s from the Canadians we were speaking to to-day.  He has been badly wounded and will get his discharge after going back to Canada.  Mr. Matthew Morrison, Miss Gina’s brother, is home on leave.  He is looking well.

Started our Literary & Debating Soc.y in school on Wednesday with some music and a short Address from me on “Style”.  Have got a skeleton of what looks like a very nice programme together.

Mamma was down one afternoon calling on Mrs. Tait, and took a pot of jam for the baby.  But she’ll tell you about the visit herself when she writes.

I think that is about all the news since Thursday.

Our best love

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L12

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on John M. MacCallum, wounded, from the Canadians, and Rae Macdonald, home after being blown up, were in seeing me on Friday. A son of Colin Macleod’s from the Canadians we were speaking to to-day. He has been badly wounded and will get his discharge after going back to Canada. Mr. Matthew Morrison, Miss Gina’s brother, is home on leave. He is looking well…Stornoway, 18th November. 1917