Telegram recd to-day that the “Metagama” had arrived at noon on Wednesday at St. Johns, New Brunswick. She had been diverted from her course as there was too much ice in the St. Lawrence … Stornoway 3rd May 1923

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 3rd May 1923

During the spring of 2023, the Gibson posts of the Tasglann blog will mark the centenaries of the sailings of the SS Marloch from Lochboisdale on 15th April 1923 and the SS Metagama from Stornoway on 21st April 1923. Several hundred young islanders, seeking broader prospects, emigrated to Canada in these sailings, in the wake of the HMY Iolaire disaster of 1919, and subsequent economic hardships. We will skip ahead in our publication schedule to reproduce accounts from 1923 which touch upon these significant events. In this week’s letter, Mr Gibson tells how the SS Metagama has been diverted by ice, but has arrived in New Brunswick; he also mentions further acquaintances planning to emigrate to Canada, as well as telling of a local bicycle accident. 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:

Jean dear,

The good weather continues, though it is somewhat grey and cold to-day. Monday and Wednesday were just ideal May days – though one of them was in April – soft and full of the promise of summer. Our daffodils are still in bloom and look very fine as they dance in their green setting.

We had a walk in the grounds yesterday evening and met Lina and Miss Macfarlane. Lina came home with us and spent the evening. This afternoon Mrs. Orrock was in seeing Mamma and after her Mrs. Burns came in with the intention of getting Mamma to visit the hostel with her, but a man came to say that Margaret had had a bicycle spill near home and was found lying unconscious on the road. She has come round, and did not seem to show signs of injury, but he came up for Mrs. Burns, and she got Dr. Tolmie and went home. I hope she is not hurt.

Then Dr. Porter-Miller came in and talked for a few minutes, & since that we have been reading. There is to be a town holiday on Monday so I suppose school must close. Too many of these odd holidays for my taste.

We have have [sic] had no inspectors yet. Are you having any? How are you getting on with your bairns? Things will be easier next session. The first year, take it how one may, is always a bit trying. But “time and the tide —— “.

Telegram recto-day that the “Metagama” had arrived at noon on Wednesday at St. Johns, New Brunswick. She had been diverted from her course as there was too much ice in the St. Lawrence.

Did I mention that we have had this week an interim master started – a contemporary of Donald Mackay’s – Mr. Mackenzie, a Gairloch man? Mr. Sutherland’s son wrote me a letter. His father had had the first part of his operation and was to have the second in a few days. He is getting on satisfactorily.

Mrs. Julia, we hear, is to go out to Canada in June, at the same time as Malcolm Macaulay is to go out. The Girl Guides are to have a fête in June, 9th, to raise funds. Mamma was at a Committee meeting last night to make arrangements. After the £215 the Red △ Club’s* sale made one would expect there was little money left in Storbut you never know.

So sorry I must stop – time for post.

Love from both,


* Red △ Club = Young Men’s Christian Association

Ref: 1992.50.64vii/L43

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

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