Thursday 14 July 2016

William P. L. Thomson

William P. L. Thomson, OBE, MA, M.Univ., Dip.Ed., FSA Scot.

It was with great sadness that we learned of Willie Thomson's death last week.

A former rector of Kirkwall Grammar School and greatly respected author of many books on Orkney's  history, Mr Thomson was a regular researcher here at the archive and we hold all of his works in the Orkney Room.

His books include The History of Orkney (1987) which was revised in 2001, The Little General and the Rousay Crofters (1981), Kelp-making in Orkney (1983), Orkney: Land and People (2008), and Orkney Crofters in Crisis (2013). There is a small display of these in the Orkney Room today.

We also hold some of his essays and lectures in the archive as well as a recorded interview which covers the kelp-making process.

We have turned to his tomes time and time again when answering enquiries on Orcadian history. Mr Thomson was always a pleasure to speak to and we will miss him very much.

His funeral is today.


  1. He made an immense contribution to Orkney history and will be greatly missed, not least by his family.

  2. Indeed he did and indeed he will.


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