Friday 20 June 2014

View from inside Maeshowe, 1900.

Photo and letter taken from the Magnus Spence collection.
Orkney Archive Reference: D32/2/2

 Magnus Spence was born around 1853 in Birsay, the son of Magnus Spence, a schoolmaster and his wife Ann. He also became a schoolmaster and spent his teaching career in Stenness and latterly Deerness schools. In addition to his being a much acclaimed educationalist, he was a gifted amateur geologist, botanist, meteorologist, zoologist and antiquarian. He published many papers reflecting these wide interests but remains best known in Orkney for his 'Flora Orcadensis', published by David Spence, Kirkwall, 1914. He died in 1919.

The letter is from A.L. Lewis, Highbury Hill, London.

For more information on the 'Barnstone' which is supposed to be the subject of the snap, see here.

Saturday 14 June 2014

WE HAVE THE ANSWER TO YOUR EVERY QUESTION. (on Orcadian local history.) (covered by a Fereday project.) (That's a smashing blouse you've got on.)

How has passenger travel across the Pentland Firth changed over the years?

Why did horses leave the land??

What was it like to live on Copinsay???

How have people in Orkney been affected by the changes in domestic fuel????

How has Highland Park changed over the years and, whilst we're on the subject, what is the story behind those elaborate gates at the Highland Park distillery???!!?

The answers to these questions and more can be found in this year's crop of Fereday Prize entries.

Nothing will lessen our esteem for this collection. A fantastic historical source which we turn to time and time again.

The thirteen year old authors of these papers may not be professional historians but they are often the only written source we hold on very specific, local topics. Past years have given us projects on early swimming in Orkney, the air ambulance, shops in the Hope, Dentistry in Orkney the histories of Woolworths, Argo's bakery and the Finstown post office as well as countless investigations into  individual lives and homes in Orkney.

The work's copyright, of course, resides with the author. We can let visitors see the projects but they cannot copy them without permission. The projects have been so successful that we now send out permissions forms to the pupils as soon as they hand in their pieces. If you have done a Fereday or know someone who has done one or just want to feel involved, please print out, fill out and send out this form.