Oh yes. I remember Lord Leverhulme being here and the expectations he had to carry out lots of developments in the island of Lewis and eh ... and unfortunately, he did not get his way. The people of Stornoway went against him. And he was building roads and things like that and he was giving work to people, and when he realised that they were against him in what he planned to do, he left Lewis and went to Harris. And round about the 20s, the beginning of the 20s, ’22 or thereabouts, there were people who had no land who were given land. Townships which were owned by the tacks in Lewis, owned by the tacksmen, they were broken up – such as Galson, Dalmore and Dalbeg, Linshader, Reef, Ardroil and these places, were broken up and given to people as land and they built homes on them. These villages are still villages and Lord Leverhulme, he went to Harris. And he was of the mind to advance a lot of things there, and he was starting to develop things there and people working for him. And he was going to build an abattoir where they would kill whales and people were working there. Unfortunately when he was away on holiday or on some sort of business, he died suddenly and everything came to a halt. And people were left in situations which were quite difficult as regards jobs and earnings in the years after that. Not many people had a steady job, as you might say, and it was on state money such as the ‘dole’ that many of the families were reared at that time. And in 1939 as you know, the war broke out then and things were really difficult as regards that. There were many of those in the Naval Reserve, all of them be they old or young, if they had signed up to be there and had had some training, they were all called away and there were not many people left except old people and children. And difficult news arriving often. When the minister and a church elder were seen going to a home where someone was away, it was certain as it were that it was bad news they were delivering to the home, and that is what it would be and there was a lot of that. These were difficult times, fearful from day to day as what tomorrow would bring. And it took a lot of the youth away from the island but they kept going as it were, trying to keep the home going in the hope that those who were parted from them would return from the dreadful conflict that was taking place. They were as you might say living in hope, and there were some who lost that hope and that was very difficult, but there were others and it was good that they returned.

  • Marion MacLeod (Mor Bhrù)
Friday 19th February 2010