Monthly Archives: October 2020

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