George Murray was the school teacher on St Kilda from 1886-87. Throughout his time there he kept a diary and this has been quoted in many publications. However, until now, we have not had any insight into the man himself.
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with St. Kilda and its Church, is the third in a series looking at various historical sites in the Western Isles.
ISBN: 1 872598 13 7
For more than two thousand years the people of St Kilda remained remote from the world. Their society was viable, utopian even; but in the nineteenth century the islands were discovered by missionaries, do-gooders and tourists, who brought with them money, disease and despotism. In 1930, the few remaining islanders were evacuated, no longer able to support themselves.
An exploration of the life and death of the remote Hebridean society, Island on the Edge of the World is a moving account of human endeavour.
Using a battered medium format camera once belonging to Fay Godwin, Alex Boyd captures the archipelago of St Kilda in a new light, from a 21st century perspective. From the crumbling Cold War military base to the wild beauty of the natural landscape, this collection of photographs is both an ode to the history of the islands and an insight into the modern day lives of those who live and work on St Kilda today.
Includes 67 rarely seen original Magic Lantern hand coloured glass slides from the 1880s depicting scenes from Oban to St Kilda.
In 1885 Aberdeen photographers George Washington Wilson and Norman Macleod set out to travel through the Western Isles to St Kilda. They took many photographs along the way and their collection of pictures, ‘From Oban to Skye and the Outer Hebrides’ was shown in magic lantern lectures throughout Scotland. In 2004 Mark Butterworth purchased the set, complete with the original lecture notes.
The images and text in this book come from this double set of lantern slides which was produced in the late 1880’s Individually hand coloured onto the glass plates, these images capture the Western Isles and their way of life in evocative details. Published here for the first time as a complete set, many of the images, particularly of St Kilda and its inhabitants are iconic, well known among enthusiasts of Western Isles history. However, these contemporary hand coloured slides are rarely seen and present a new light on life in the Western Isles, produced fifty years before colour photography came to Scotland.
George Clayton Anderson (1808-77) was only twenty-three when he set out from Newcastle in 1831 with his brother, Dick, and the professional artist William Train to explore the Western isles and remote St Kilda. The following year he journeyed to the Shetlands and in 1833 returned again to Skye and the Western Isles while on his way to the Faroes. Atkinson was a keen naturalist, founder member of the Natural History Society of Northumberland and Durham and Newcastle, and a friend of the engraver Thomas Beckwith. His travels brought him into contact with such giants of the day as William MacGillivray, Dr William Hooker and John Scoular. His keen interest in birds led him to become the first curator of the ornithological section of the Hancock Museum, an interest reflected in his descriptions of the bird-life of these islands. The large leather-bound journals chronicling their adventures, and largely unknown outside his family, were richly embellished with original watercolours and drawings of his tours, made by some of the finest local artists of the day.
While vividly resurrecting a living, breathing portrait of those whose lives added such a a colour to the landscape, his diary also reveals a community in the painful throes of transition and at a watershed between the ancient and the modern.
In 1697 Martin Martin, a Gaelic-speaking scholar from Skye, travelled to St Kilda to study the island’s flora and fauna and to learn about the now extinct great auk. Much of the information that he gathered during this expedition was relayed to him by the islanders. Naturalists from Martin down to Robert Atkinson in 1938, not only witnessed the people’s way of life but also the wildlife around them, both priceless assets that have recently won for St Kilda dual World Heritage Site status. Using a huge range of published sources as well as diaries and other personal information, John Love goes even further to explore of the St Kilda archipelago.
A Natural History of St Kilda produces a synthesis of what these naturalists and scientists experienced and gives evidence that shows just how important the native flora and fauna were to the survival of the islanders. The result is a fascinating and insightful account of the islands which will appeal not only to naturalists, but also to those who are fascinated by the place, by its human history and by islands in general.
In the 18th century shotgun weddings were not unusual, but in most cases it wasn’t the bride that was holding the gun. So began the stormy marriage between Lord and Lady Grange, a marriage which was to end with Lady Grange s death on the Isle of Skye after 13 years in exile. The daughter of a convicted murderer, Lady Grange s behaviour, such as her fondness for drink, was so outrageous that her sudden disappearance from public life was not considered surprising. But few knew the true story of her disappearance. This book reveals, for the first time, how the unfortunate lady was violently kidnapped and transported to the remote islands off the west coast of Scotland, spending seven years on the island of St. Kilda s. Condemned to a very different lifestyle than she had enjoyed in Edinburgh, and baffled by the strange tongue of the Gaelic West, she still obstinately survived, finally dying in Skye in 1745 (although a funeral had already been held for her years before). More than a history of scandal and infamy, ‘The Prisoner of St Kilda’ gives a balanced account of both Lord and Lady Grange, their flaws and strengths, and of the role played by the powerful men who saw the unpredictable Lady Grange as a threat.
In 1527 Hector Boece, the first Principal of King’s College Aberdeen, wrote in his extensive ‘History of the Scottish People’ of an island of rocky crags and prehistoric sheep, which could only be reached through extreme danger to life. It was, he explained, ‘the last and outmaist Ile’ of Scotland. It was St Kilda. St Kilda breaks the waters of the Atlantic Ocean some 100 miles west of the mainland, and 40 miles west of the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist. On clear days it appears as a dark silhouette on a distant horizon. Approach it, and it resolves into seven shapes – the four islands of Hirta, Boreray, Soay and Dun, and three towering sea stacks. It is an enigmatic and awe-inspiring landscape, a starkly beautiful vision of ‘life on the edge’ which has fascinated everyone from travellers, antiquarians and conservationists to writers,film crews and tourists. And, perhaps as a result, it is one of the most mythologised and misunderstood places on earth. Archaeologists Angela Gannon and George Geddes have spent over nine months living and working on St Kilda, and have been part of a team which has been researching its complex and remarkable history for more than a decade.In this new book they turn the popular perception of the archipelago on its head. St Kilda, they argue, has never existed in total isolation, but has always been linked to a network of communities scattered across the north western seaboard and the Highlands of Scotland. ‘The Last and Outmost Isle’ pulls St Kilda back from the ‘end of the world’ to tell a compelling story of triumph over geographical adversity. What makes these islands so special is not their distance from ‘civilisation’, but rather their enduring capacity to remain a living, connected part of Scotland over the course of some three thousand years.
A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland Circa 1695 and a Late Voyage to St Kilda: Description of the Occidental i.e. Western Islands of Scotland
One of the greatest travellers in Scotland, Martin Martin was also a native Gaelic speaker. This text offers his narrative of his journey around the Western Isles, and a mine of information on custom, tradition and life. Martin Martin’s wrote before the Jacobite rebellions changed the way of life of the Highlander irrevocably. The volume includes the earliest account of St Kilda, first published in 1697 and Sir Donald Monro, High Dean of the Isles, account written in 1549 which presents a record of a pastoral visit to islands still coping with the aftermath of the fall of the Lords of the Isles.
St Kilda is the most romanticised group of islands in Europe. Soaring out of the North Atlantic Ocean like Atlantis come back to life, the islands have captured the imagination of the outside world for hundreds of years. Their inhabitants were long considered to be the Noble Savages of the British Isles, living in a state of natural grace.
This book explores the life of the St Kildans from the Stone Age to 1930, when the remaining 36 islanders were evacuated to the Scottish mainland. Bestselling author Roger Hutchinson digs deep into the archives to paint a vivid picture of the life and death, work and play of a small, proud and self-sufficient people in the first modern book to chart the history of the most remote islands in Britain.
On 29 August 1930 the remaining 36 inhabitants of this bleak but spectacular island off Scotland’s western coast took ship for the mainland. A community that had survived alone for centuries finally succumbed to the ravages that resulted from mainland contact. What their lives had been like century after century, why they left, and what happened to them afterwards is the subject of this fascinating book. It is the story of a way of life unlike any other, told here in words and pictures, and of how the impact of twentieth-century civilisation led to its death.
This 297 page paperback by Tom Steel is one of the most popular books about St Kilda and is a highly recommended read. It contains numerous old photos.