As all our photographic experts are away, I offered to take some snapshots of the sixth that they might not be without a 1917 picture. They turned out not so badly for a first effort at a group. I am enclosing two… Stornoway, 14th June. 1917

Possibly Mr Gibson’s photo of Class VI, The Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, 14 June 1917

In Mr Gibson’s letter this week, we see an interesting mention of Miss Angus’s new sphagnum moss picking company. During WW1, people all over the UK were collecting ‘bog moss’ for its antiseptic and wound dressing properties. Mr Gibson also tells Jean about his photographic endeavours that week. In his original letter, Mr Gibson enclosed two of these photos for Jean and we believe the photo you see on the blog today is one of those two mentioned. However, we cannot be entirely sure and if anyone is able to help with the dating of this photo, we would be very grateful. 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 have just had a storm – last night and to-day – but this evening it has cleared up and Mamma and I have been for a walk round the quays and have looked at the magazines in the reading – room.

Various inspections on this week – Tuesday Mr. Macleod for French, Wednesday a Miss Goodall for Physical Exercises (I beg their pardon – “Physical Education”), and to-day Mr Macleod again for Intermediate English, Hist., and Geog. To-morrow we issue our June reports, and hope for that day to be left in peace.

I do not think there is much to report in the way of news. The Board appointed a Miss Chessor to the Housecraft vacancy. She had a number of years of teaching experience, if I remember right, in Fraserburgh. I hope the appointment will be a success. I think you knew Mary Mildred was one of the nineteen applicants. I was pleased to see in looking over her certificates that she had made good marks during her training. –  Mamma would have mentioned I suppose that Alfred Roberston was in seeing us on Sunday, also Catherine Maciver’s brother John; and one evening we had another old Nicolsonian in, Angus Smith. He has been away from Story for the last 17 years and has been in France with the Canadians during the past year. He is a very nice man. He has left a wife and two children in Canada and come over to bear his share.

Miss Angus has a moss-picking company established now, and is sorry she did not arrange it sooner*. Mrs Menzies came in last night to see Mamma, while waiting an hour before going to the prayer-meeting.

Mamma visited Mrs. Smith, Springfield, yesterday, and Mrs. Morison this afternoon. Maud had written to her mother about your new jumper, so it has evidently made a worthy impression on your friends.

As all our photographic experts are away, I offered to take some snapshots of the sixth that they might not be without a 1917 picture. They turned out not so badly for a first effort at a group. I am enclosing two.

Must stop – time for post!

Best love from both.

Papa.

*During the War, sphagnum moss, or ‘bog moss’, was harvested and dried on an industrial scale, for use in dressing wounds. It was mildly antiseptic and could soak up a lot of fluid.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L55

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

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