The Ship Chandler of Stornoway

It is Sunday, 31st March 1901 and we are at Craiglor(?) Villa, Stornoway, the home of Charles Morrison, the 62 year-old Ships Chandler from Dornoch, Sutherland.

It would have been lovely to have met Mr Morrison in his Chandlery for ,alongside Ironmongers, these are my favourite type of shop but this afternoon the whole town is quiet save for the gentle lapping of the waves.

Christina, Charles’ Dornoch-born wife, and their three remaining Stornowegian children are all relaxing in this substantial Stornoway home. Maggie Ann, 33, is a Music Teacher and sits quietly sifting through some sheet music newly arrived from the mainland. Georgina Gerrie(?), her 31 year-old sister, is a Teacher of Painting and is sketching this serene Sunday scene.

Son James H, 26, a Bank Clerk and 21 year-old boarding Shop Assistant Donald Munro give the outward appearance of earnestly discussing the local retail economy, but with a particular emphasis on the latest fashionable attire of the single ladies of the town.

And what of Charles?, He is asleep in his favourite chair, dreaming of those foreign shores that can only be attained thanks to the manifest contents of his now-extensive emporium…

Note: A decade earlier the family were at 61 Cromwell Street and comprised Charles, a General Merchant, wife Christina, Margaret Ann, Teacher of Music, Georgina G, Teacher of Drawing and C, Charles M, a Clerk, John R and James H, who were Draper’s Salesman, Matthew G, a Scholar and also living with them was their General Servant, Mary Campbell. 61 Cromwell Street today appears to be the central doorway in the 1886 building that houses ‘Hebridean Jewellery’ and ‘Ceol’. It is by any measure, a most substantial residence!

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