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I am just in from the meeting of the school Literary Society. They had a Gaelic debate: “Has emigration been beneficial to the Highlands?” They went into it with great vim and seemed to enjoy it greatly. Several times it resolved itself into little duels in which there seemed to be excellent bits which brought down the house, and retort would follow retort to everybody’s delight… The affirmative won by 35 votes to 14; some did not vote… Stornoway, 28th Feb. 1917

This week, Mr Gibson reports on the hotly debated topic at the Literary Society: “Has emigration been beneficial to the Highlands?”. He also notes his concern for the school at the possibility of losing more teachers to the war effort, … Continue reading

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There have been some fine catches of herring this last week, one day 5000 crans. The Minch has been getting “swept” and the mail-boat is running regularly. Oatmeal scarce; we have had to fall back temporarily on Quaker oats… Stornoway 22nd Feb 1917

In this week’s letter Mr Gibson remarks on the unusually calm spell of weather they have had with hardly any wind or rain in January and February. He also mentions some fine catches of herring, but a shortage of oatmeal. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on There have been some fine catches of herring this last week, one day 5000 crans. The Minch has been getting “swept” and the mail-boat is running regularly. Oatmeal scarce; we have had to fall back temporarily on Quaker oats… Stornoway 22nd Feb 1917

This week’s letter highlights a difficult truth which is very pertinent, given that it is Black History Month. In the course of transcribing the letters we occasionally encounter racist language which is extremely offensive and considered abhorrent today. The fact that a highly educated woman like Mrs Gibson would use this particularly horrible word in such a context reflects the racist ideas prevalent in Britain at this time. We thought carefully about whether to publish this letter on the blog, but we feel it is important not to cover up the past and that we should bring it out into the open, as the attitudes of people in the past are an important part of the historical record. In another sentence of the letter there is a reference to insanity in a particular family. We have not revealed the family’s identity in case this causes distress to any descendants.

Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, Feb 18th 1917 Dear Sheann, Your letter was up to time this week and Papa read it to me at breakfast yesterday.  Sorry the Roman History was so horrid but we cannot always be in good exam. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on This week’s letter highlights a difficult truth which is very pertinent, given that it is Black History Month. In the course of transcribing the letters we occasionally encounter racist language which is extremely offensive and considered abhorrent today. The fact that a highly educated woman like Mrs Gibson would use this particularly horrible word in such a context reflects the racist ideas prevalent in Britain at this time. We thought carefully about whether to publish this letter on the blog, but we feel it is important not to cover up the past and that we should bring it out into the open, as the attitudes of people in the past are an important part of the historical record. In another sentence of the letter there is a reference to insanity in a particular family. We have not revealed the family’s identity in case this causes distress to any descendants.

I had letters this week from Wm. B. Macdonald, who is with a battery in France and has had one or two narrow escapes, from J. W. Matheson, in Salonika, and from Alick Thomson, in the training camp at Gailes. He is enjoying the change from the trench-mud. Did I mention that Simon Mackenzie, who has been on a minesweeper off the west coast of Ireland, is now home, discharged on account of his health?… Stornoway, 15th Feb. 1917

In his letter this week, Mr Gibson is full of praise for the Dramatic Evening at the Literary meeting, he reports on a large, local funeral, and gives Jean the latest news from two local boys serving in France and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I had letters this week from Wm. B. Macdonald, who is with a battery in France and has had one or two narrow escapes, from J. W. Matheson, in Salonika, and from Alick Thomson, in the training camp at Gailes. He is enjoying the change from the trench-mud. Did I mention that Simon Mackenzie, who has been on a minesweeper off the west coast of Ireland, is now home, discharged on account of his health?… Stornoway, 15th Feb. 1917

He told us of a mule who had a spite against a man and waited patiently for an opportunity to pay him out [get revenge]. One day the man was grooming the third mule from his enemy. The watchful one saw his chance and laid the man out with a kick delivered below the bellies of the two intervening mules. What do you think of that? E. says they never forget anybody who has beaten them…Stornoway, 9th Feb. 1917

This week, a visit from a local man who is home on leave provides Mr Gibson with an insight into what it’s like to be officer in charge of horses and mules on the front. Mr Gibson also gives Jean … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on He told us of a mule who had a spite against a man and waited patiently for an opportunity to pay him out [get revenge]. One day the man was grooming the third mule from his enemy. The watchful one saw his chance and laid the man out with a kick delivered below the bellies of the two intervening mules. What do you think of that? E. says they never forget anybody who has beaten them…Stornoway, 9th Feb. 1917

Dr. Robertson is here just now and thinks more of the teachers will be called up soon. However we need not anticipate trouble and of course if necessary there can be nothing said. The successful prosecution of the war takes precedence of all else… Stornoway, 4th Feb. 1917

In her letter to Jean this week, Mrs Gibson has news of a local boy who has returned home from the Struma front on sick leave having had malaria, and the possibility of more teachers being called up hangs heavy … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dr. Robertson is here just now and thinks more of the teachers will be called up soon. However we need not anticipate trouble and of course if necessary there can be nothing said. The successful prosecution of the war takes precedence of all else… Stornoway, 4th Feb. 1917

The kipper girls are on strike this week for better wages. On Tuesday afternoon they marched in procession round the town with a union jack and singing. They passed down Francis St. while the wedding was on, and I was amused to see that even in strike time a wedding was too great a temptation to be resisted and their procession joined the crowd at the church door until the wedding party came out… Stornoway, 1st Feb. 1917

In Mr Gibson’s letter to Jean this week, he gives her the latest news from the local boys in the War and provides a report on a wedding at the Episcopal Church in Stornoway. The kipper girls are also on … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The kipper girls are on strike this week for better wages. On Tuesday afternoon they marched in procession round the town with a union jack and singing. They passed down Francis St. while the wedding was on, and I was amused to see that even in strike time a wedding was too great a temptation to be resisted and their procession joined the crowd at the church door until the wedding party came out… Stornoway, 1st Feb. 1917

Speaking of study circles reminds me of Miss Angus… She is leaving she tells me at the end of this school year. She told her com’tee that she cannot continue at £80 per. an. + £5 bonus as it is not enough to be efficient on. They evidently cannot raise any more. She thinks of taking up work as welfare superintendent at a Munitions factory or something of that sort… Stornoway, 28th Jan. 1917

This week, Mrs Gibson tells Jean about a Nicolson teacher who is to leave at the end of the school year owing to, what she considers to be, her low salary. The big fishing week in Stornoway continues to be … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Speaking of study circles reminds me of Miss Angus… She is leaving she tells me at the end of this school year. She told her com’tee that she cannot continue at £80 per. an. + £5 bonus as it is not enough to be efficient on. They evidently cannot raise any more. She thinks of taking up work as welfare superintendent at a Munitions factory or something of that sort… Stornoway, 28th Jan. 1917

I don’t know whether Mamma told you of Matthew Russell’s visit… He was in one evening to see us, and has developed physically into quite a fine strapping lad. He has quite come out of his shell too. He has made an interesting generalisation from his experience when grooming and feeding horses – that the same horse will not try to bite and also to kick, that is, it will not be aggressive at both ends… Stornoway 24th Jan. 1917

In this week’s letter, Mr Gibson has news regarding some of the local boys serving in the War, there is mention of a big fishing week, and we find out what Jean thought about her recent theatre trip to see … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I don’t know whether Mamma told you of Matthew Russell’s visit… He was in one evening to see us, and has developed physically into quite a fine strapping lad. He has quite come out of his shell too. He has made an interesting generalisation from his experience when grooming and feeding horses – that the same horse will not try to bite and also to kick, that is, it will not be aggressive at both ends… Stornoway 24th Jan. 1917

We have just had a visit from Duncan Macaskill, Tarbert. He is the son of the lady from whom we bought your tweed. He is home on leave from Salonika and leaves again on Monday… He was giving us all the news of the boys at the front line. He told us that Donald Mackay had got the gold medal of St. George from the King of Serbia… Stornoway, 21st Jan. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 21 Jan 1917 In this week’s letter to Jean, Mrs Gibson has news of two local engagements, and informs her of the presentation of a St George gold medal by the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We have just had a visit from Duncan Macaskill, Tarbert. He is the son of the lady from whom we bought your tweed. He is home on leave from Salonika and leaves again on Monday… He was giving us all the news of the boys at the front line. He told us that Donald Mackay had got the gold medal of St. George from the King of Serbia… Stornoway, 21st Jan. 1917