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

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Charting the Coast of Scotland

These charts cover the 50 years of Marine Surveying from the careers of George Thomas and his son FWL Thomas. I have included a few of those from Henry Otter as evidence of his continuing presence in the area and made some comments:

Frith of Forth 1815 – George Thomas
George served from 1810 until his death in 1846 aboard the Mastiff. I believe he was buried at sea. Oh, and 'Frith' is what appears on the chart!
(Stornoway Harbour 1846 - Otter)
(Lochs Erisort,etc 1848 - Otter)
(West Loch Tarbert 1849 – Captain C G Robinson)
(North Minch 1849 – Otter)
Orkney Islands 1850 – G Thomas & FWL Thomas
Showing what work was being done in the Western Isles during the 1840s, the period when father and son were completing their work in the Orkneys.
East Loch Tabert 1857 – FWL Thomas
(Sound of Harris 1857 – Otter)
I made reference previously to the fact that these two areas were being surveyed simultaneously.
Sound of Harris to Aird Bhreidhnis, including Lochs Tarbert & Resort 1860 – FWL Thomas
This chart is especially interesting as it shows the Shop, School, Mill and Inn in An-t-Obb, putting the Inn at foot of road to Rodel which contradicts with the position shown on an earlier map. I recommend comparing the chart with Google Street view to spot which buildings remain, and those built during the intervening 150 years!
Monachs etc 1860 - Otter
Hebrides or Western Isles 1865 – Otter, FWL Thomas
The last chart in the collection that is attributed to FWL Thomas and the 1871 census shows that he had retired six years after this chart's publication.

I hope that this brief summary gives an impression of the extent of the work that was being performed around the Western Isles by these men but the best way of appreciating their dedication and craftsmanship is to look at the charts online, which can be done by clicking the link provided.

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