Friday photos: Norman Morrison of Shawbost

Norman Morrison in his police uniform

Norman Morrison was born in Shawbost in 1879 in Shawbost on the west side of Lewis.  He left the island to join the police force in Glasgow.  He had an interesting career and following events in Oban he was instrumental in setting up what is now the Scottish Police Federation.

A keen photographer, he also had a passion for snakes and in his retirement published “The life of an Adder” as well as books on Hebridean folklore, novels and his autobiography.  His work on the adder lead to him being awarded a Doctorate.

Following the discovery of a series of glassplate negatives taken by Norman (Tormod an t-Seòladair) of families and people in Shawbost in the 1910s, his life is being celebrated by West Side Historical Society in a series of events in partnership with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar, Comunn na Gaidhlig, Horshader Community Development and with funding from LEADER. 

Dhòmhnaill Mhòir Stiùbhairt, Barbara Morrison centre with unknown, possibly a visiting teacher

On Tuesday, David visited Shawbost with copies of the images in the hope that individuals might be able to add some captions and identify individuals in the images.

Bean Dhomhnail Mhor, 44 North Shawbost

Captioning these photographs is no mean feat given that they’re a hundred years old and that even the children pictured within them have now passed away.  They are spectacular images though and some names and details were gathered on what was a lovely evening.

Dina Murray and Roddy Morrison thank people for comingLost in the imagesExploring the photographs of Norman Morrison

Of course, the real hero of the evening was Mairi Smith who organised the sustenance!

The important partg of the evening: tea and cake

A afternoon conference exploring the life and works of Dr Norman Morrison will be held on 18 May at the Old School in Shawbost.  For more information, visit

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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