Down the Years

This picture of Mission House, Maraig, Isle of Harris, from 1932 was contributed by Christina Macdonald. ''If you would like to submit an old picture to our nostalgia feature please get in touch at:
This picture of Mission House, Maraig, Isle of Harris, from 1932 was contributed by Christina Macdonald. ''If you would like to submit an old picture to our nostalgia feature please get in touch at:


In the Stornoway Gazette’s pages of April 9, 1937, we detailed a dilemma over feu-duties.

At the time the Finance Committee of Stornoway Town Council were deciding at their monthly meeting to recommend the Town Council to advance the wages of the Burgh workmen from 10d an hour to 1s an hour.

It was also recommended future shorter working hours be worked during the winter months.

In the event of the Town Council approving the recommendation the increase would take place forthwith.

The Committee had before them during the discussion the rates of pay and conditions of work in Buckie, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Dingwall, Fort William and Wick - ample material, as Provost Smith remarked to guide them in keeping a fair balance between the rate payers on one hand and the workers on the other.

Provost Smith pointed out that although he wages in some of the burghs seemed to be considerably higher than in Stornoway they must remember that in these districts, at certain times of the year, the workmen had a good deal of broken time.

Replying to a question by Councillor Gunn as to whether the workmen in Stornoway did not also suffer from broken time, the Burgh Surveyor said the Burgh workmen in Stornoway never had any broken time and worked the same hours in both summer and winter.


As the Lewis and Harris football season got underway in 1967 the Gazette asked the question: Would Aths be too strong?

This was something the other sides in the league were pondering on the eve of the 1967 football season we wrote.

Stornoway Athletic had been so strong in recent years that some were anticipating that would do equally well in 1967. However from few reports it was claimed that a few of the teams in this year’s league would provide more opposition than in 1966 - a year earlier.

Whether Aths would ‘walk home’ or not the first fixtures were due to be played on the forthcoming Friday. Aths were scheduled to play town rivals United. 1966 challengers, Back and Lochs were at home to Rovers and Builder’s respectively.

An interesting result to keep an eye on, said the Gazette, was in the match between Harris and School. They reminded us School were the only team to claim a victory over Aths in 1966.

As far as pitches went it was reported that Goathill would host more than its fair share of games. When the six teams using Goathill as a home ground are playing each other, one game will be at Goathill and the return either at Back or Lochs.

This would mean that each of the six teams would have five of their normal home games at these venues and no team would have an advantage.


The grant of £20,000 which the DHSS had suggested to the Comhairle as the figure they might receive for the introduction of the 1988 housing benefit reform would only be enough to pay for a ‘Mickey Mouse’ computer service - reported the Gazette on April 11, 1987.

This was the view of Councillor Malcolm Macfarlane of Goathill when members were discussing a progress report about the new housing benefit system at the Housing Benefit Review Sub-Committee.

Although the provisional grant figure from the DHSS was £20,000 the Council estimated that the cost of the preparatory work would be £173,000 and it was stated that improvement grants and house loans would have to be curtailed if the Council were forced to meet the additional costs.

“It seems to me,” said Councillor MacFarlane , “that the DHSS are calling the tune and we are paying the price.”

He added: “Their offer of £20,000 wouldn’t cover half the computer software charges.”

Councillor MacFarlane said it was a classic example of ‘highly qualified, highly paid incompetence’ by the DHSS to say that allocation would be £20,000 and then invite the Comhairle to submit an estimate of probable costs.