I was at D. Maciver’s this afternoon getting the bill for the various tweeds I had got for Dr. Mc.Kim and his lady friends. It comes to £13”12”3. I was asking if they had good news from Donald when he replied “He’s upstairs”. He came home on leave and took to his bed with what they think is a touch of trench fever. It was fortunate that he had got home… Stornoway, 15th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 15th November 1917

In this week’s letter, Mrs Gibson has news for Jean regarding a local family who are moving to Leeds, she talks of a local lad who has returned home on leave with trench fever, and she attended a very busy exhibition displaying garments made at the Stornoway Sewing Meetings. 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

Dear Sheann,

Your letter came up to time on Tuesday morning and we were extremely interested in all your doings.  Hope you found Maud better when you saw her on Monday.  I don’t like to hear of her finding the work so hard.  I was speaking to Lily Morison today and she thinks it likely that the family will remove to Leeds in May.  It is all but settled.  She says Bee is brighter since she has gone teaching.  Stornoway will seem strange with the “J.M’s” away.

I was at D. Maciver’s this afternoon getting the bill for the various tweeds I had got for Dr.Mc.Kim and his lady friends.  It comes to £13”12”3.  I was asking if they had good news from Donald when he replied “He’s upstairs”.  He came home on leave and took to his bed with what they think is a touch of trench fever.  It was fortunate that he had got home.

I was at the exhibition of garments made by the Sewing Meeting, yesterday.  Provost Maclean made a speech and there was tea and too little room for the number of people.  Mrs. Small and I left first to make room for those out on the landing.  I met Mrs. Morison at the door and she tried to induce me to go back with her.  She said she was shy!

I understand that Mrs. Matthew Russell is married again – to that Mr. Burgess.  She has taken and furnished a flat, just opposite Mrs. Anderson according to Mrs. Small, who also says she got every stitch of her trousseau in Jenner’s.  Some style!  Papa says the good thing about it is that Gina will now have her Mother off her hands.  Isn’t he a caution?

The Literary Society – in the School started last night.  So now Papa will be out two evenings each week as a regular thing.

The painters have never come yet. The last time I asked they were all away in Tarbert Harris.  I would be glad if they would come now.

Flora and Annie and Miss Mackay, the church worker in Point were here to afternoon tea on Monday.  Miss Mackay seems a nice simple girl.  She is now living at Aird with a nurse appointed by the Medical Service Board, a Glasgow girl, and finds it all right.  She has now been a year and a half in Point so she is sticking it out pretty well.  It seems they call her in Gaelic “The Singing Lady”.  The other day a wee Free elder came and asked her to have a singing class for old men.  Wasn’t that a compliment for her?

I don’t know if you hear a sound of purring as you read but Barrie is on my lap and just over working his purrer.  He is pretty well these days.

Have you heard from Bessie I haven’t.  Glad Katie keeps on smiling.  I enclose Aunt Dean’s latest.  Much love to She-ann from her Pa and Ma and the Barrie also.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L11

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I was at D. Maciver’s this afternoon getting the bill for the various tweeds I had got for Dr. Mc.Kim and his lady friends. It comes to £13”12”3. I was asking if they had good news from Donald when he replied “He’s upstairs”. He came home on leave and took to his bed with what they think is a touch of trench fever. It was fortunate that he had got home… Stornoway, 15th November. 1917

Sunday evening now, and we are sitting around the kitchen fire, Mamma reading and Barrie behind me in the window chair. We had late dinner today (!), 7 o’clock, as a more suitable hour for the broth to be ready. The vegetables came in from the Manse garden and the mutton from Mr. Macrae… Stornoway, 11th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 11th November 1017

This week, Mr Gibson updates Jean on their recent social events. He has also visited the Ex-Provost who is ill in hospital, and of course there is a mention of the Hebridean weather – Mr Gibson noting that they haven’t seen much of the sun for two months. 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,

Sunday evening now, and we are sitting around the kitchen fire, Mamma reading and Barrie behind me in the window chair. We had late dinner today (!), 7 o’clock, as a more suitable hour for the broth to be ready. The vegetables came in from the Manse garden and the mutton from Mr. Macrae.

Mrs. Menzies and Miss Dean are to start for the south to-night; the wind is beginning to blow up but may go down again before they start.

Mamma wrote you on Thursday evening. On Friday I had rather a busy day as Mr. Ewen had crossed the Minch to bring Mrs. E. and the bairns over, and I had to keep the Science classes going. In the evening I went to the barber, after some domestic pressure, and then with Mr. Grant went up to see Ex-Provost Anderson at the hospital. He is getting on; had gone to the court that day to plead a case; and though tired after it, did not seem to be any the worse. While I was out Mr. & Mrs. Clarke had been in and Miss Bella Gerrie.

On Saturday we did chores, those of the afternoon consisting of planing down the two drawers of the oak wardrobe, so that they might be used. It was something of a job, but with Mamma as apprentice it was managed at last. In the evening Ellis came in, and as we were having a late tea she joined us. Then she went on to the James St. Hall and Mamma and I paid our usual weekly visit to the magazines. I omitted to say that Coinneach Bard was in for a few minutes on Friday evening to bid us goodbye, his draft leave being up. Today we were at church in the forenoon. Mr. Clark & Ellis were in for a short time and since then, we have been alone.

Mamma is reading me tit-bits from European history, so if you find any passing reference in the letter to Ivans or Peters you’ll know its origin.

Now for your letter, Mamma wants more news of your own self – so note. I also want to hear something of the method in the Nat. Phil. Of which you have as yet mentioned nothing, and something more of what is happening in the Zoo. class. Has the new Asst. started yet?

We were sorry to hear about Jean M’s illness. Hope she is now well again. Tell her we were asking for her. Hope the comp. will get on well. You will be curious to see where you are placed.  I see from what you say you are finding your hands full, and with a Nat. Phil. exam. ahead I suppose they  will be specially so next week. Do both N. P. and Zoo. stop in March? If so, that wd. give you a leisurely term to end your English class in comfort.

I was glad you saw Marion Clarke. She seems to be liking Aberdeen and the hostel greatly. I hope Bessie is continuing to benefit by her holiday.

The weather continues wet and dull. There has been little sunshine since the beginning of Sept.

Did I make mention in my last letter of Callum Macleod’s success in the Med. Bursary Comp.? He was 4th out of about 60 candidates, and gets a bursary of £18 for three years.  This will be a great help for him. In a letter I had from him he mentioned that he had been elected President of the Anatomical, and was busy preparing his opening paper for it. It will do him much good to take part in the work of one of the Societies.

I have just put my hand round to my back and Barrie is still there sleeping off his broth very nicely. I have no doubt he wishes to have his love sent to you.

How is Maud? Remember us to her. I hope they are working her a little more gently at that College of Domestic Hardship.

Now I think I have posted you generally on our uneventful history.

Goodnight, and love from us both.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L10

Transcribed by Margaret Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sunday evening now, and we are sitting around the kitchen fire, Mamma reading and Barrie behind me in the window chair. We had late dinner today (!), 7 o’clock, as a more suitable hour for the broth to be ready. The vegetables came in from the Manse garden and the mutton from Mr. Macrae… Stornoway, 11th November. 1917

This horrible state of Ireland is very disquieting. I do wish Uncle Alick and his family were not of it. Mr. Jas. Anderson was at Perth on leave and suddenly recalled to Cambridge as he thought because of affairs in Ireland. The newspapers don’t say much about it and I suppose that is as well… Stornoway, 18th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 18th November 1917

In her letter to Jean this week, Mrs Gibson mentions the numerous social events she has engaged in throughout the week, as well as references to local men who have not had to return to the war, and an interesting mention of the problems in Ireland at that time. 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

Dear She-ann,

Do you notice by the date that this is Papa’s birthday. I celebrated it by letting him have some pudding for dinner – quite an unusual luxury I can assure you. The milk supply has got very low; I get only a pint most days. However they try to make up for the smallness of the quantity by the bigness of the price! 

You see that Papa and I have transposed our days of writing. I don’t care for writing letters on Sundays after the chores. Last Sunday we were at church twice. We went at night to hear Jack Anderson preach. Poor Mr. Jenkins had had an attack of neuritis in his arm and although some better wasn’t equal to two preachings so Jack came to the rescue. It was good of him as he must have found it an ordeal where he was so well known. He was nervous at first but did very well indeed and I hear nothing but praise of him and, from the women, great admiration of his good looks. He had been in at the school on Friday afternoon and Papa brought him home to tea. As Miss Maclean, Miss McColl and Miss Nicolson were expected I had lots of nice things including new laid eggs. Jack quite enjoyed the tea and the company I think. He was staying at the Cottage.

When Papa went to school on Monday he was surprised to find Mr. Tait. Wasn’t that good? Mrs. Menzies was leaving that day so he put Miss Maclean on to her work which was wonderfully convenient. Last night the appeal tribunal re-heard the case for Colin John and Mr. Ewen and they are not now to go. Mr. Ewen is crossing the Minch tonight to bring Mrs. Ewen and the boys back on Saturday.

I was at the sewing meeting yesterday and Mrs. Morison was there for the first time since the new regime began. I got her to go with me to the B.W.T.A. social in the evening. She is well and cheerful.

On Monday night we were down by invitation at the manse and did not get home till after 12. We had white pudding with leeks in it for supper and I had a very bad stomach for the next two days. Mrs.Menzies and Miss Dean go south on Sunday night and Miss D. does not return. We are sorry as we liked her very much, but it will be good to have Mr. Menzies back. Both Mrs. M. and Miss D. have worked very hard all the time he has been away; they are bricks!

We were pleased that your first comp. had been appreciated. It will be an encouragement to you. I expect you will get great pleasure from the English class. Whether you manage a high place or not be sure you get the marrow out of it.

Papa has had to put Barrie out as I cannot get writing for him coming up on my knee.

I had an enquiry from the Glasgow Tramway Co. about Mary. She is applying for a post as conductress. She will make a very good one I am sure. Have you ever written again to Maggie?

The painters have not come yet. I will have to go and look them up soon before the days get too short. I require the lamp every morning already.

You will be glad to hear that Mr. Donald Maclean is not going to the front as we were hearing but is going to get his Cadet training at Oxford. We had a p.c. from him this morning (with kind regards to you) telling us of this change of plan. Mrs. Macleod is with Maggie in Edinburgh now.      

This horrible state of Ireland is very disquieting. I do wish Uncle Alick and his family were not of it. Mr. Jas. Anderson was at Perth on leave and suddenly recalled to Cambridge as he thought because of affairs in Ireland. The newspapers don’t say much about it and I suppose that is as well.

The weather here is still as bad. No one ever saw anything like it. How is it with you in Aberdeen. Give our love to Maud and say we are sorry about the hard work. Love from us both to She-ann.

Your loving Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L9

Transcribed by Margaret Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on This horrible state of Ireland is very disquieting. I do wish Uncle Alick and his family were not of it. Mr. Jas. Anderson was at Perth on leave and suddenly recalled to Cambridge as he thought because of affairs in Ireland. The newspapers don’t say much about it and I suppose that is as well… Stornoway, 18th November. 1917

Our great event this week has been the teachers’ case before the Appeal Tribunal. I was up at the court this afternoon from 3 to 6, and you will be glad to hear that it has at length been decided in our favour. They get exemption conditional on their remaining in their present employment… Stornoway, 7th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 7th November 1917

In Mr Gibson’s short note to Jean this week, he has good news regarding the keeping of the teachers. In his previous letters, Mr Gibson has often talked about the difficulty with staffing at the school as the war effort has called for most of his male teachers. Thus, this latest news is very welcome. 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,

This is a note to make up for the missing one of last week. We were pleased that in the preliminary canter essay you had done so well. It is very encouraging to start off so.    I was attracted by the essay on “Chaucer as Observer”. That is the one which wd. have given scope for scholarly treatment that wd. stand out from the rank & file. It is a pity your want of time prevented you from taking it.    These things, however, can’t be helped.

Our great event this week has been the teachers’ case before the Appeal Tribunal. I was up at the court this afternoon from 3 to 6, and you will be glad to hear that it has at length been decided in our favour. They get exemption conditional on their remaining in their present employment.    Mrs. Menzies’ time in school was up on Monday, and I was just exercising myself over the week-end as to what ever we cd.  do when she went.   On Monday morning when on my way to school, however, I saw what seemed a familiar figure coming up Francis St. Sure enough, a second look convinced me it was Mr. Tait, looking more fit than I had ever seen him do.  The Army Council have placed him in the Reserve and have let him resume his school duties. This has allowed me to put Miss Maclean on to Mrs. Menzies work & has thus got me temporarily out of the difficulty.     My lecture is to be on “Things that Matter”, and to be given on 19th December.     Mamma is to write you to-morrow night. She is going to take Thursday now and leave Sunday to me. This will suit us both better. You did not mention yet whether your Nat. Phil. is to take up Sound, Light, etc. or Mag.m & Electry.

Our best love, including that of B. D. who is here on his board.

Papa                        

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L8

Transcribed by Margaret Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our great event this week has been the teachers’ case before the Appeal Tribunal. I was up at the court this afternoon from 3 to 6, and you will be glad to hear that it has at length been decided in our favour. They get exemption conditional on their remaining in their present employment… Stornoway, 7th November. 1917

Colmcille 1500 (English)

Today marks the day that St Columba died. The effect he and many other Christian saints had on the islands can still be seen whether this is through early Christian sites still standing or through placenames.

It is also 1500 years since St. Columba was born in 521 on the 07 December. Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean have been working in partnership with Foras na Gaeilge to promote Slighe Colmcille or the St. Columba trail within the Western Isles and also to strengthen the ties between Ireland and Scotland such as culture and language.

View the online ceilidh between Ireland and Scotland here which had Scottish and Irish artists taking part:

https://fb.watch/60r8l-tsgg/

Some of the sites along the trail are easy to get to and here are just a few. You can start the trail up in Ness or down in Barra.

Howmore graveyard, South Uist

Howmore was once a very important site which encompassed a college as well as the temples. It was also near Caisteal Bheagram/ Beagram Castle. There are many stories surrounding the sites which can be found on Tobar an Dualchais site http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/search?page=6

Dermot’s temple

Nunton, Benbecula

St. Mary’s Temple

This is St. Mary’s chapel in Nunton, Benbecula. There is a temple nearby in Balivanich named after Colmcille. Again, this area has a long history and one story which there is very little information on tells of the nuns in Nunton being herded out to sea and left to die. If anyone knows more information on this story, please get in touch with us.

Nunton, Benbecula

St. Clements Tower, Rodel, Harris

St. Clements, Rodel, Harris

If you are on a tour of Harris at anytime, St. Clements in Rodel is worth a visit. Plenty has been written about the church but it has one interesting feature that little is known about and that is the ‘Sheela-na-gig’ which can be seen on the east side of the tower. For more information, have a look at this website: https://sheelanagig.org/rodel/

The Sheela-na-gig can be found on the east side of the tower

Ui Church, Point, Lewis

The church was named after St. Columba

The Ui or Aoidh church or Teampall Calum Cille as it is also known can be found in Point, Lewis. Experts believe there has been a church since the 14th century and was the burial site for the Clan MacLeod.

For more information on all the sites within the Western Isles see:

http://www.colmcille.org/slicholmcille

Uist Saints website at www.uistsaints.co.uk
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Colmcille 1500

Bhàsaich Naoimh Colmcille air ann latha seo ann an 597AD ach tha a’ bhuaidh a thug an duine seo agus na daoine Crìosdail eile fhathast ri fhaicinn anns na h-Eileanan an Iar eadar eaglaisean is ainmean- àite.

Air a’ bhliadhna seo tha 1500 on a rugadh Naomh Colmcille agus airson seo a chomharrachadh, tha Museum agus Tasglann nan Eilean ag obair ann am com-pàirteachas còmhla ri Foras na Gaeilge gus Slighe Cholmcille a’ bhrosnachadh agus na ceangalan a th’ ann eadar Èirinn is Alba, gu h-àraidh na h-eileanan agus a thaobh a chànan a dhaingneachadh.

Chaidh cèilidh air loidhne a chur air doigh far an robh luchd-ciùil is seinneadairean bho Eirinn is Alba air tighinn còmhla. Faic an ceilidh an seo:

https://fb.watch/60r8l-tsgg/

Le sin, thèid sinn air cuairt air cuid de na làraich a tha ri fhaighinn air an slighe agus beagan den eachdraidh is sgeulachdan na h-àiteachan seo innse.

Faodaidh sibh an slighe a thòiseachadh aig tuath ann an Nis neo aig deas ann am Barraigh. Seo dìreach cuid de na làraich a tha ri fhaicinn air an slighe agus a tha furasta faighinn thuca.

Cladh Tobha Mòr, Uibhist a Deas

Cladh Thobha Mòr , Uibhist a Deas
Caibeal Dhiarmaid

Aig aon àm, b’e àite chudromach a bh’ ann a Thobha Mòr anns na meadhan-aoisean. A bharrachd air na teampall bha colaiste agus daoine ionnsaichte ann. Bha e cuideachd faisg air Caisteal Bheagram. Tha tòrr sgeulachdan ann mu dheidhinn an dà àite seo. Faic http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/search?page=6 airson tuilleadh.

Baile nan Cailleach, Beinn a Faoghla

Teampall Naoimh Mhoire
Baile nan Cailleach, Beinn a Faoghla

Tha teampall Calum Cille faisg air an làrach seo cuideachd ann am Baile a’ Mhanaich. Tha eachdraidh fada timcheall an sgìre seo. Tha sgeulachd ann gun deach na Cailleachan dubha a’ chur a-mach gu muir airson am marbhadh ach chan eil mòran fiosrachadh ri fhaighinn mu dheidhinn mar sin mu tha sibh eòlach air an sgeulachd, cur fios thugainn.

Tùr Mòr Chliamainn, Roghadal, na Hearadh

Tùr Mòr Chliamainn, Roghadal, na Hearadh
Tha ‘Sheela-na-gig’ ri fhaicinn air taobh an Ear den tùr

Mu tha sibh air cuairt, bu choir dhuibh tadhal air Eaglais Roghadal neo Tùr Mòr Chliamainn, air ainmeachadh as dèidh Naomh Cliamainn. Tha tòrr eachdraidh sgrìobhte mu dheidhinn an làrach seo ach a tha aon rud air an tùr nach eil cho aithnichte agus ‘se sin an ‘sheela-na-gig’ a tha ri fhaighinn air taobh an ear an tùr. Faic https://sheelanagig.org/rodel/ airson tuilleadh fiosrachadh.

Eaglais na h-Aoidh, Leòdhas

Eaglais Naomh Chaluim Cille, an Rubha, Leòdhas

Chaidh an eaglais a tha ri fhaighinn an seo air ainmeachadh as dèidh Naomh Calum Cille. Tha eòlaichean den bheachd gun bheil eaglais air a bhith air an làrach seo bhon 14mh. ‘S ann ann a sheo a bha Clann MhicLeòid a’ tiodhlacadh an teaghlach aca.

Tha fiosrachadh a bharrachd air na làraich seo ri fhaighinn an seo:

http://www.colmcille.org/slicholmcille

http://www.gaidhlig.colmcille.org/colmcille/colmcille-legacy

https://colmcille.net/colmcille-1500/

http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/search?page=1

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On Thursday I had my drill and afterwards went with Mr. Grant to call on Sheriff Dunbar to ask him to give us a lecture so as to raise a little money for the Library. He agreed to give us an old one he has on “George Borrow, the Romany man, you will remember. Then we called at the Cottage as Dr. Murray was to be asked to give one. We stayed there talking for some time and then Mr. Grant & I had a turn round the quays talking, & so I was too late to write… Stornoway, 4th November. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 4 November 1917

Mr Gibson’s letter this week is full of the various social visits he and Mrs Gibson received during the week, including visits from the newest teachers and a local man who is on leave visiting his ill father. Potatoes and peats also get a mention as life in Stornoway at the end of 1917 continues. 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,

I did not get that letter written on Friday evening after all as folks were in, and I am sorry you would find your post-bag blank. A whole week of news has now to be made up. Let me see what we did.     On Wednesday Mamma was at the sewing meeting and on Thursday at Mrs. Katie Maclean’s. She’ll tell you about these when next she writes.    On Thursday I had my drill and afterwards went with Mr. Grant to call on Sheriff Dunbar to ask him to give us a lecture so as to raise a little money for the Library. He agreed to give us an old one he has on “George Borrow, the Romany man, you will remember.   Then we called at the Cottage as Dr. Murray was to be asked to give one. We stayed there talking for some time and then Mr. Grant & I had a turn round the quays talking, & so I was too late to write. I am to give one of the lectures.

Wednesday evening was Hallowe’en. Miss Maclean, Miss Angus’s successor, was having a social meeting in the James St. Hall for the country pupils & had asked us to look in. We went there for about an hour. There were about a hundred and they seemed to be enjoying themselves nicely. Roderick Fraser in his uniform was present & sang them a song when called upon. Miss M. seems to be getting on very well with them as far as I can see. She is continuing to teach the junior Latin classes in school pending Mr. Tait’s return if we can get him back, of which there is no word yet.

On Friday afternoon near stopping time Jack Anderson came in to see me at the school and I brought him home to tea. He is on leave and had come north to see his father who has been ill for some time & in the hospital.    Mamma had arranged that the new teachers were coming to tea that evening – Miss Maclean, Miss Nicolson & Miss McColl – so we had quite a little party. The hens had risen to the occasion & they were able to have fresh eggs. Jack is very fit and bright and proves good company.    He is to preach for Mr. Jenkins to-night as Mr. J. has not been very well. 

Miss Maclean had to go away early and Jack had to go up to the hospital but Miss Nicolson and Miss McColl stayed on talking and looking at photos. till near ten o’clock.   Yesterday was a good day, about the only one we have had in the last two months. I took the chance of its being dry to dig the rest of the potatoes but I missed the lifter who had bossed the former digging so nicely. Then I did my peats, read my paper, etc., and after tea we went down for our weekly look at the magazines.

Dr. Robertson is here just now having his meetings. We are losing Mrs. Menzies next week. She and Miss Dean are going south to see a sister of Mrs. Menzies’s, a nurse home from France. She will probably not be back again until Mr. M. comes home; he is expected sometime this month.    I shall be sorry to lose her from the school work. We have not found a successor yet.    The young lady who was appointed had already accepted a post elsewhere.

We got your letter on Saturday morning & Mamma read it to me while I was still in bed.    I am glad to hear that you are liking Nat. Phil. & managing it. I wd. like you to do well in it.    About the extra lab. work in Zoo, yes, you shd. take it.   The general line is, do all that you wd. do, as regards hours and work, if the class were needed for your Final B.Sc.  This shd. apply to a final exam. also if one is given to the class. If you have to put in time in lab. without supervision, I suggest that you ask Prof. T. to put you on to a simple investigation problem that you cd. carry out in the lab.  by yourself. I suppose you cd. bring yourself to ask him for that. I’ll see about “The Merchant” in due course.

Must stop – we are going to hear Jack preach.

With love from both,

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L7

Transcribed by Margaret Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on On Thursday I had my drill and afterwards went with Mr. Grant to call on Sheriff Dunbar to ask him to give us a lecture so as to raise a little money for the Library. He agreed to give us an old one he has on “George Borrow, the Romany man, you will remember. Then we called at the Cottage as Dr. Murray was to be asked to give one. We stayed there talking for some time and then Mr. Grant & I had a turn round the quays talking, & so I was too late to write… Stornoway, 4th November. 1917

Papa had a letter today from Mr. Montgomerie at Galashiels. He is a lieutenant in the Scottish Rifles and is about to leave for Egypt… Mr. Dodd is on a hospital ship sailing between Southampton and a French port and has had many narrow escapes, having been torpedoed in the Mediterranean on his last boat and another time caught in submarine nets…Stornoway, 28th October. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 28th October 1917

In this week’s letter, Mrs Gibson writes to Jean with news from two local men away at war, a brief explanation of the ‘new’ idea of guilds as opposed to trade unions, as well as the latest from her local friends and acquaintances and their families. 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

Dear She-ann,

We were glad to know that you have now got rid of your cold and that you are getting into your stride as it were in regard to your classes. From what you say they promise to be very interesting. Keep us posted in regard to them from time to time.

This is Sunday evening and Papa and Barrie and I are sitting by the dining room fire. The rain has been coming in so badly over the study fire that we thought it wouldn’t be nice to sit up there. We were at church this morning and after coming out we went round the Target Hill with Mr. C. J. Maciver in a sunny blink but with great black hail clouds fast driving up. However we got back before they over took us which was well.

Yesterday the E.I.S. had a meeting to arrange about the Allocation of the new grant for Salaries.  After the meeting Mr. Clarke, Colin and Mr. Ewen came to dinner and stayed talking till nearly five o’clock. It was one of the wildest and worst days I have ever seen in Lewis and I think they enjoyed being cosy by the fire. Mr. Ewen has given the Robbins a month’s notice as he is getting Mrs. Ewan to come back. The final appeal for Colin and him comes up in Nov. 7th..

By the way did you happen to see or hear that Mrs. Firth Maciver is married again at Edinburgh to a Capt. of Engineers named Brewin of Dover. It was in the ‘Scotsman’. It seems a bit soon.

Papa had a letter today from Mr. Montgomerie at Galashiels. He is a lieutenant in the Scottish Rifles and is about to leave for Egypt. He sent his good wishes for you. Mr. Dodd is on a hospital ship sailing between Southampton and a French port and has had many narrow escapes, having been torpedoed in the Mediterranean on his last boat and another time caught in submarine nets.

I haven’t heard anything further from the painters but am gradually making my preparations for them. It is very gradual as every day seems so full that it takes a long time to get anything extra overtaken. Then I have the unattractive prospect of having the plumbers again when the new tank comes from the south.

For the last ten days I have been reading A. C. Benson’s “Upton Letters”.  They are very good and tender and wise. I always enjoy his writing.

Speaking of the “New Age” it seems they have been scoring recently. What they have so long and ardently advocated – trade guilds, teachers’ guilds, guilds of all sorts so that those engaged in any calling will form a guild and manage the whole thing, not a mere trade union which is merely a combination of labour for its own protection against capital but a guild which would include masters as well as men, – well this seems to be the line of post war development. If the teachers were a guild they would lay down the regulations for training, issue their own certif.’s, settle the rates of payment and superannuation, settle on a code of professional etiquette to be observed by all, and every  thing in short that affected teachers would be decided by the guild. I haven’t read much about it but that is the kind of thing.

I was over seeing Mrs. Macleod and Annie one afternoon. They were pretty well just now, Annie up every day which is good. The apples haven’t come yet! Miss Eva Macleod (Mrs. Jones) hasn’t come back with her husband. She is in Leeds with his mother it seems and Sy. thinks it very strange.

Have you heard from Bessie? Ellis says she likes the hostel but it isn’t nearly finished yet. There are 26 girls. I gather from Mr. Clarke that Bessie isn’t taking the Zoo and chemi. classes over again but as you know I find it sometimes difficult to make out just what he means to convey.

Love from us both to She-ann,

Your loving

Ma

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L6

Transcribed by Margaret Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

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Sònraichte Project – Archaeology assemblages from stack sites: Dunasbroc

The first archaeology assemblage that I worked on came from a series of stack sites around Lewis. The STAC project: the Severe Terrain Archaeological Campaign – focused on investigating stack sites of the Isle of Lewis 2003–2005.

The site

The project involved a series of surveys and excavation on many stack sites. Still, only some of them produced the objects that we keep today at the museum. So I want to focus on one of them: the excavation at Dunasbroc.

Dunasbroc is near Aird Dell in the township of South Dell, parish of Barvas, on the west coast of Ness. It is a  small,  steep-sided,  conical stack situated close to shore and linked to it via a  low rock ramp.  A large number of artefacts recovered indicates there was extensive activity on the site. The material recovered from under the peat covered the Neolithic to the Norse period.

The finds and what can they tell us about the past

The archaeology assemblage comprises three main types of finds: pottery, stone, and animal bones.

The faunal remains

This very small and fragmented assemblage consisted only of bones from cattle and sheep/goat bones. Most bones were calcined, pointing to the exposure to high temperatures (around 650C), a clear sign of human activity. The activities could have been either food preparation or a sign of rubbish disposal! But what it’s unavoidable, it’s that it confirms the pastoral activity practised in the surrounding areas of Dunasbroc.

The lithics and stone artefacts

The lithics found at Dunasbroc are mainly quartz and flint. Flint is available in small quantities on the local beaches. However, it may have come from imported pebbles, like the orange example in the photos below. The quartz is a more readily available resource from beach pebbles and veins on the Lewisian gneiss, found around most of the island!

The significant aspect of the assemblage is that fractures are relatively fresh, indicating a local stone tool production close to Dunasbroc. Unfortunately, no flint or quartz debitage was recovered, so this may indicate tool production elsewhere.

The lithic artefacts date from the Late Neolithic, although leaf-shaped arrowheads are represented throughout the Neolithic period.  The arrowhead that we have on display in MnE is quite elaborate in nature (it was not an everyday tool but had additional importance) and is likely to have been deposited in a significant location.

There’s also a possible scraper (Fig. 1). This primitive technology consisted of working a flint core to produce flakes that are then retouched to give a sharp edge to the scraper. These tools are one of the most common tools  found in Prehistory and were used to clean animal hides.

The remaining stone assemblage consisted of larger pebbles. Some of them used as hammer tools to work on the lithics, and some others used as rubbers. The pecking damages on the sides of the pebbles show the hammering action. In contrast, the polished surface reflects a rubbing motion.

Fig 1.  2008.15.184.  Possible scraper. Regular flint flake. Patinated. Grey. Prominent ripples, retouch along all lhs, edge damage same place. 33 (L) x 28 (W) x 10 (B) mm

The pottery assemblage

Pottery is generally the most prominent type of artefact recovered from an excavation; at Dunasbroc, more than 400 fragments dating to the Late Neolithic.  A smaller selection of Iron Age pottery examples was also recovered from the site.

The examples of Neolithic pottery are known as Hebridean Ware. This type of pottery is decorated with oblique, parallel grooves arranging in opposing directions. Some examples are also undecorated and burnished. This pottery type is also characterised by its shape. It has a round-based profile, out-turned rims, and horizontal carination or incised lines dividing the vessel.

One vessel (Fig. 2) has a bevelled rim decorated with oblique grooves, followed by grooves on the neck, later carination dividing the vessel, then more oblique incised lines as decoration. The fabric is coarse and sandy clay and grey and brown in colour.

Another vessel (Fig. 3) has more incised lines decoration. The fabric is also coarse sandy clay and grey coloured. Another example (Fig. 4) shows a bevelled rim decorated with oblique grooves. The exterior is decorated with more grooves arranged in alternated vertical and horizontal panels. The fabric is coarse again, sandy clay, grey and brown.

Fig 2.  2008.15.69.  Hebridean incised ware.
Fig 3.  2008.15.70.  Hebridean incised ware
Fig 2.  2008.15.71.  Hebridean incised ware.

In Summary, the small assemblage of Dunasbroc gives us more insight into our Neolithic past. It allows us to try and interpret the activities of the people that lived and worked on these Islands (so long ago).

The ‘Sònraichte’ Project is funded by Museums Galleries Scotland.

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You would be sorry to hear about Dawtie Macleod’s death – you will probably have heard about it before now…The funeral was in Stornoway on Wednesday…The afternoon turned out very wet and stormy, but in spite of that there was a considerable turnout of people. We are grieved at Catherine’s loss; she was a very fine girl… Stornoway, 24th October. 1917

Extract from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 24th October 1917

This week’s news from Mr Gibson to Jean concerns a local lad who is home on leave before heading out to Athlone, Ireland, the sad news of the death and funeral of a local girl, and how Mr Gibson caught a grain thief! 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 were glad to hear that you are getting over your cold, and hope that you are now quite clear of it.  Have just got in from my drill.  Mamma is ironing and Barrie Diogenes is reposing on the cushion of the chair.  Roddy Fraser was up at the drill and I took the chance of having an expert signaller present to have him give the squad a first lesson in morse signalling with the flags.  They seemed to enjoy it.  Now, let me see what news during the week.  Mr. D.J. Macleod was in for tea one night and we had a nice ceilidh on archaeology.  Mrs. Kitson was in for a little while after, and Mrs. Small had been in for a little before his visit.  She called, as she said, to make sure that Mamma was still here.

We have had great rain, regular downpours, and everything is sodden.  There is snow on Cleisham [sic] and we have had sleet and hail between the rains.  Some forenoons have been fairly good – to-day, for example, but they invariably fall away before night.  Last night a storm blew up from the north or northwest and the constant vibration set loose the bolt of the gate at the end of the house and I had to get up and go out in pajamas and waterproof to close it.

I told you the little “nipper” had been making a fine bag.  Then the one in the washhouse began to disappoint me – three time the meal was eaten off it, every grain, and nothing was caught.  This seemed to be the work of an unbelievably crafty mouse whom I much wished to nab.  One night before going to bed I went out and caught the delinquent red-handed – I mean mealy-mouthed – and it was not a mouse, but a brown slug.  There is a natural history note for your edification.  Much pleased to hear that your classes are turning out so well.  Will be interested to hear the result of your English essay.  Your Zoology programme seems very attractive.  I am glad Prof. T. takes so much of the work himself.  Hope the new man will prove an acquisition.  Did you find out whether it was to be Heat etc., in the Nat. Phil. or Electricity?  We were sorry to hear about Maud being worked so ridiculously.  Housecraft instructresses would a priori be expected to have more sense – but I’m afraid they haven’t.

We were just ready to go to church on Sunday evening when Mr. John Anderson came in to pay his farewell call before returning to Aberdeen so we didn’t go to church, but stayed in and did ceilidh instead.

You would be sorry to hear about Dawtie Macleod’s death – you will probably have heard about it before now.  She passed away on Saturday.  She had suffered much.  The funeral was in Stornoway on Wednesday.  The four Masters of us who are left, and the boys of the Post-Intermediate classes, attended.  The afternoon turned out very wet and stormy, but in spite of that there was a considerable turnout of people.  We are grieved at Catherine’s loss; she was a very fine girl.  It will be a sore blow to Mrs. Macleod and Maggie. Poor Willie, too, away in Mesopotamia, we are sorry for.

I am enclosing your Aunt Dean’s letter, from which you will see the Greenock news.  I forgot to say that Wm. B. Macdonald is home for a few days’ leave.  He is looking very well, but the leg is pretty lame. He is to go to Athlone when he leaves here.  He wd. like to get his discharge, but that is unlikely, as they will be able to make use of an educated lad like Willie for instructional or clerical work.

Our best love,

Papa.

P.S I enclose copies I kept of Callum’s papers on Zoology & Physics in the recent Bursary examn. Keep them beside you. They may prove useful when you are revising for your exams. later in the session.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L5

Transcribed by Barry Shelby, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on You would be sorry to hear about Dawtie Macleod’s death – you will probably have heard about it before now…The funeral was in Stornoway on Wednesday…The afternoon turned out very wet and stormy, but in spite of that there was a considerable turnout of people. We are grieved at Catherine’s loss; she was a very fine girl… Stornoway, 24th October. 1917