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

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Booksellers of Stornoway

Here are the records from the 1841-1901 censuses whose occupation suggests that they were selling books:


1861
John Mackenzie, 27, Garrabost (Visitor), b. Stornoway

1871
Alexander Macpherson, 53, Druggist and Bookseller, 33 Kenneth St, b. Gairloch, Ross-shire
Donald Mcaulay, 18, Shopman (Druggist and Bookseller),Apprentice, b. Uig, ross-shire
Alexander Mckenzie, 14, Shopman (Druggist and Bookseller), Apprentice, b. Ardnamurchan, Argyle

1881
Alexander McPherson, 63, Druggist and Book Seller, 48, Point St, b. Gairloch

Finlay Mcleod, 44, Book Seller, b. Barvas

1891 – None found

1901
George Macleod, 14, Shop Assistant (Bookseller), 23 Scotland St, b. Stornoway
(Catherine A Mackay, 19, Saleswoman (Books), 31 Church St, b. Stornoway) Her husband, Alexander was a Shoe and Boot Maker, so I think it more-likely she was selling Boots!)

Whilst I was composing this brief list, I was reminded as to why I hadn't produced it previously:
the possibility of the woods 'Book' and 'Boot' being mistaken for one-another.

However, the lack of any 'Boot Sellers' in the records leads me to have a little bit of confidence that these people were indeed selling books. I do have rather more confidence in the records for the households of Alexander Macpherson in 1871 and 1881 for it was quite usual at the time for Druggists to sell books, stationery and similar goods.

Nevertheless, we can see that bookshops were few and far between in Stornoway even at the dawn of the twentieth century, a time when there were only another eight booksellers in the whole of Ross and Cromarty and only one in Inverness-shire outside of Inverness itself, which had fourteen. Glasgow had over one hundred.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment