Nursery Cottage, Stornoway

I mentioned before that I find the history of individual buildings and the people who called them ‘Home’ particularly interesting and, having happened upon Nursery Cottage in my look at Customs Officers, I thought I’d explore further:

Alexander Macrae, 74, Gardener and Forester, b. Fodderty
Mary Macrae, 66, Wife, b. Lerwick, Shetland
John Macrae, 27, Out Door Office Of Customs, Son, b. Stornoway
Caroline L Macrae, 25, Housekeeper, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Andrew L Maclean, 5, Grandson, b. Stornoway

Alexander Macrae, 86, Head Nurseryman, b. Fodderty
John Macrae, 37, Officer House Customs, Son, b. Stornoway
Caroline Lewis Macrae, 35, Housekeeper, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Mary Jane Maclean, 28, General Servant, Grand-daughter, b. Stornoway
John Maclean, 21, Joiner, Grandson, b. Stornoway
Andrew Lothian Maclean, 15, Scholar, Grandson, b. Stornoway

James Cambridge, 51, Pensioner RN Machine Knitter, b. Ireland
Christy Ann Cambridge, 49, Wife, b. Stornoway
Mary Agnes Cambridge, 23, Milliner, Daughter, b. Buckie, Banffshire
Marion Macdonald, 23, General Servant Domestic, b. Uig, Ross-shire

Roderick Macrae, 35, Forester, b. Dingwall
Maggie Macrae, 27, Wife, b. Uig, Ross-shire
Catherine Macrae, 6, Scholar, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Duncan Niel Macrae, 4, Son, b.Stornoway
Alexina Macrae, 1, Daughter

I do not know the precise location of Nursery Cottage, nor whether it still remains albeit with another name, but it appears to have been somewhere within the grounds of Lews Castle.
Alexander Macrae can be found back in 1861 at Gardener’s House No 1, but whether that became ‘Nursery Cottage’ or not I cannot say.

One, at least, of the Macrae’s daughters gave them three grandchildren with the name Maclean but tracing their story is beyond the scope of this particular piece.

Following them, in 1891, we meet the Cambridge family headed by the retired Royal Navy gentleman James. If ‘Machine Knitter’ is correct, and the presence of nearly 100 such people in Scotland in 1891 makes it seem likely, then he is unique in the censuses of Lewis and Harris in recording that particular occupation. I do wonder whether he had been disabled in the course of duty and this was a way for him to supplement his pension and remain active alongside his hat-making daughter?

The final family, that of Forester Roderick Macrae, sees a return to that role just as it had been right at the start when an earlier mainland-born Macrae had been the first householder at Nursery Cottage.

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