Wednesday, 11 May 2011

How things are in the Lews

On 5 July 1867, the Glasgow Herald published an article with the above title. It touches on several aspects on life in the island. I copy the opening lines - things appear to have changed little, it would seem. Further parts of the article are being copied on the Pentland Road blog, showing that this was most definitely written 144 years ago.

You would scarcely believe what a primitive state of things is to be found lingering in this most northerly of the Hebrides. Of course, I don’t refer to Stornoway, which is a great centre of civilisation here, and is believe by the natives to stand precisely in the centre of the universe. In point of fact, it is a thriving little place, very much like any other Scotch town of its size. The houses are much the same as in the South, though building is very expensive here, the stone, wood, lime, everything almost, having to be brought by sea. The people are enterprising, intelligent and hospitable; the merchants trade and over-trade in a style that leaves nothing to be desired but money; and captivating young ladies exhibit the latest fashions in the streets and in the beautiful grounds that surround the Castle where dwell Sir James and Lady Matheson, the Emperor and Empress of the Lews, who generously leave the grounds open to all.

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