Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture 2012 – Professor Donald Meek

Last Thursday evening, I attended the ninth annual Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture, organised by the Islands Book Trust.

The speaker for this years lecture was Professor Donald Meek. The title of his lecture was “Charging at an Open Door? An Alternative View of Crofting History and Highland Development since 1930 from the Gaelic writings of the Rev. T.M Murchison (1907-1984).”

Professor Meek told a packed Pairc School how despite being born in Govan in Glasgow, Thomas Murchison moved to Kyle Rae in 1913 and learnt Gaelic from his grandmother and also, the ways of crofting life. While a pupil in Portree High, he lodged with a man named Sandy Nicolson. Sandy Nicolson would take his lodgers to political events and he took a young T.M Murchison to Portree Sheriff Court the day the Raasay Raiders were appearing before the sheriff. Witnessing this day fuelled his the interest even more in crofter’s rights.

Although he trained as a Church of Scotland minister, Rev Thomas Murchison did not forget that day at Portree Sheriff Court and he went on to become an influential, crucial voice for crofters in the Highlands. He helped create the Highland Development League and kept up the fight for crofter’s rights throughout his life.

A booklet to accompany Professor Meek’s talk is available to buy from the Island Book Trust and some photographs from the evening can be seen on my Tasglann Facebook page. A big thank you must go to the Trust for once again organising such an interesting lecture.

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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