Lucas archive gifted to Historical Society

More than half a century of Western Isles images are now in the hands of the Stornoway Historical Society with a view to them forming a publicly-accessible collection.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:30 pm
Bill Lucas with Malcolm MacDonald, Catherine Marion MacLeod, Ken Galloway and Anna Tucker from Stornoway Historical Society
Bill Lucas with Malcolm MacDonald, Catherine Marion MacLeod, Ken Galloway and Anna Tucker from Stornoway Historical Society

Bill Lucas, who first came to Lewis in 1956 as a reporter on the Stornoway Gazette, has gifted his entire archive to the Society.

He said this week: “It’s 50 years of news stories, photographs, negatives, transparencies, recordings when I was the BBC’s voice of the Hebrides for a wee while before they moved here!”.

Now approaching his 88th birthday, Bill started his newspaper career with his home town’s Hamilton Advertiser where he spent five years before being employed by the Gazette, then edited by James Shaw Grant. After three years, he moved to the Scotsman but returned in 1961 and maintained a flourishing freelance agency until retiring in 2010.

He covered all the big events throughout this period for national media and sat through innumerable council meetings, court cases and public inquiries. In 2008, some of Bill’s experiences and fascinating “best stories” were detailed in his book, “Dateline Stornoway”.

The photographic collection covers all aspects of Hebridean life over this long period and includes at least 3000 images. This has posed a massive – but very welcome – challenge for the Stornoway Historical Society whose volunteers are now busily engaged in cataloguing the collection and dividing it into categories.

Malcolm MacDonald, chair of the society, said: “This is the most remarkable collection we have ever received. We are overwhelmed with gratitude to Bill for giving us the opportunity to sort the images and eventually make them available to the public at large. They will create a tremendous amount of interest”.

In the meantime, the Gazette’s Archive page will run one of Bill’s pictures each week, starting with this issue (see page 25).

We have also agreed with the Society that they will provide a page of their own material each month and we would be pleased to offer the same facility to other Comuinn Eachdraidh throughout the islands. Email [email protected]