From Cottage to Palace

Again, an article from the Boston Evening Transcript but this one appeared on the 14th of August 1902 and was taken from the London Daily Mail newspaper.
Please take time to read it and also, perhaps, to compare and contrast the image it portrays of Harris & Lewis with that which I have attempted to present via this blog…


An Advert for THE "HARRIS CLOTH"

Should you be sitting to read your copy of the Boston Evening Transcript on Wednesday the 26th of April 1899, your eye might alight upon the sub-heading ‘AHEAD OF ALL’ and to the second entry:

THE “HARRIS CLOTH” is spun and woven in the homes of the fishermen on the estates of the Countess of Dunmore, in the island of Harris. W.Hebrides.Scotland. In all colors for gentlemen’s spring wear at MESSENGER & JONES, 388 Washington street. Specially imported.

(Original here. from which you can see that the paper, celebrating its 70th year, cost 3 Cents.)

It is worth noting that, despite her having died some 13 years earlier, it was still the Countess of Dunmore whose name was linked to the origin of this “Harris Cloth” and it would be another decade before the ‘Orb’ trademark was established for Harris Tweed.

Burial at Sea in the 19thC

In connection with my quest to discover where my ancestor Malcolm Kerr (1822-1898) might have been laid to rest I contacted the  National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to see what is known regarding the rules & regulations for burials at sea pertaining at the time.

The Births and Deaths Act, 1836 (which set up the system of civil registration in England and Wales), the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1874 and the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 gave instructions to Captains on how to register the actual death, but contained absolutely nothing dealing with the circumstances, such as the minimum depth of water or distance from the shore, under which such a burial could be undertaken.

My initial astonishment at the lack of any such legislation existing at that time has been tempered somewhat by the reflection that many souls were lost overboard (or in wrecks) close to land and yet their bodies were never given-up by the sea.
With that knowledge and experience perhaps it was felt unnecessary to specify a depth of water or a distance from the shore? It would appear to have been a matter of discretion as to whether to perform a burial at sea or to take the body ashore for burial, just so long as the actual death aboard the vessel was correctly recorded.

It also means that, whilst not proven, Malcolm could indeed have been buried at the spot where he died in the Horseshoe Bay of the Sound of Kerrera…

Note: I am extremely grateful to the Information Assistant at the Museum’s Library for his diligent research into this topic.

Upturned Boats

These examples of boats being given a second lease of life as sheds in Lindisfarne led me to seek further examples. It was brought to my attention that the Peggotty family in Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’ lived in such a structure in Great Yarmouth as shown on this book jacket .
Further South down the East Coast of England I found these in Whitstable and Gravesend, Kent .

On the West Coast of mainland Scotland, however, it was considered bad luck to re-use parts from old vessels and the only Scottish examples that I’ve been able to discover are these from Stronsay, Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles .

If you know of other examples, whether of whole hulls or perhaps just a spar used as a roof-timber, then please drop me a line…

Yachtsmen of Harris

I happened upon these men by chance when extending my family tree and finding that John Maclean (a Nephew of the Wife of my 1st Cousin 4 times removed!) had been a ‘Yacht’s Man’ in 1891.
Exploring this unusual occupation produced the following records:
(John Mcleod, 52, Yachtsman (Unemployed), 4 Nelson St, Greenock West, Renfrewshire, b. Harris)
John Gillies, 39, Yachtsman, Strond, b. Harris
John Maclean, 23, Yacht’s Man, Strond, b. Harris
William Macleod, 40, Yacht’s Man, Strond, b. Harris
Norman Paterson, 20, Yacht’s Man, Strond, b. Harris
Alexander Paterson, 18, Yacht’s Man, Strond, b. Harris
John Morrison, 30, Yachtsman, Scaplay no 36, b. Harris
John Mackay, Sailor’s Yachtsman, Obbe, b. Harris
Kenneth Morrison, 21, Yacht Caretaker, Kentulavig, b. Harris
Malcolm Campbell, 25, Yachtsman, Bernera, b. Bernera, Inverness-shire
Alexander Macdonald, 30, Yachtsman, Bernera, b. Harris
John Mclean, 29, Yachtsman, Bernera, b. Bernera, Inverness-shire
John Paterson, 28, Yachtsman, Bernera, b. Bernera, Inverness-shire
(John Campbell, 54, Yachtsman, Kirkpark Cottage, Row, Dunbartonshire, b. Harris)
(John Mcleod, 72, Yachtsman (Retired), 85 Roxburgh St, Greenock West, Renfrewshire, b. Harris)
In all cases, these men were living with their families at the time of the census so it is not the case that a visiting yacht happened to be present at the time.
The two clusters of Yachtsmen, in Strond in 1891 and on Bernera a decade later, are therefore all the more intriguing and I am tempted to consider that in each case a local resident may have been the employer of these men?
What is known is that in later years Sir T.O.M. Sopwith extensively employed Hearachs on both his steam and sailing yachts (I understand that the Skipper of Endeavour II was from Direcleit?) and in doing so was following a precedent set at least 50 years earlier.