Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Friday, 5 March 2010

Lewis Chemical Works

Sir James Matheson pursued a scheme to turn Peat into Paraffin.

It began in 1852 and lasted 22 years before closing due to embezzlement in 1874.

Searching for evidence in the censuses of 1861 and 1871 reveals the following:


Paragen Works No 1
John Makay, 30, Pargine Labourer
Mary, 25, Wife
Christina, 5
Mary, 4
? , 2
Ann, 4 months

Paragen Works No 2
Donald Morrison, 32, Mason
Effy Morrison, 27, Wife
Angus, 6
James, 1
Donald, 3 months
David Lewis, 70, Tinsmith
David ? , 54, Engineer Smith

Were these people part of the peat to paraffin process?


Millboon Cottage
Henry Carter, 62, Manager of Lewis Chemical Works and Fire Works Jardine James Matheson
Annabella Macleod, 42, General Servant
Donald Macleod, 16, Servant

Creed Chemical Works Bothy
Donald Mckennan, 25, Labourer at Chemical Works
John Smith, 24, Labourer at Chemical Works
Christina Morrison, 54, Working at the Chemical Works

Happily, the results from 1871 are rather more reliable and give us the names of the Manager and three of his employees.

Whether Henry Carter was directly involved in the events that led to the demise of the Lewis Chemical and Fire Works remains unknown.




1 comment:

  1. James Morison was my great-grandfather. He emigrated to Montreal, Canada, worked as a mason and later owned a construction company. Stories about the chemical experiments with peat at the Lewis works were still told to us by my grandfather. My father, Donald Morison Smith, got his Ph.D. In chemistry from McGill University in Montreal.