About the Archive - Mun an Tasglainn
Who was Angus Macleod?
Born in the then populous and overwhelmingly Gaelic-speaking but now almost deserted rural settlement of Calbost, Angus left school at 14. During his long life he was a crofter, seaman, Harris Tweed manufacturer, founder of the Scottish Crofting Union, and the driving force behind the memorials to the heroes of the Land Struggle. His passion was the history and culture of his people, many years before this became fashionable, and his collections of stories, objects, and recordings are a remarkable record of one man's vision and a most valuable resource for future generations.
What topics does the Archive cover?
It reflects Angus's encyclopaedic interest in crofting, fishing, genealogy, place-names, settlement history, the Clearances, the Land Struggle, ceilidh-house stories, and every facet of social, religious, and economic life which contributed to the rich Gaelic-speaking environment in which he was brought up. While much of the material is about South Lochs, the themes covered are of much wider relevance.
Who is the Archive for?
For everyone with an interest in the history and culture of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, whether as a resident, visitor, or researcher. The Archive simultaneously embodies the values and beliefs of a distinctive but rapidly changing way of life, while offering a unique resource for education and research in schools, colleges, and Universities. This website gives access to large parts of the Archive, making it available to all.
Type of material in the Archive. The Archive collection includes manuscripts, books, maps and charts, oral history records, videos, recordings of traditional music, and old photographs of island life. Much of the material is in Gaelic. The Calbost Collection of physical artefacts collected by Angus Macleod does not form part of the Archive and is currently on loan to the Museum in Stornoway.
Topics. The material in the Archive relates to a variety of subjects such as crofting history, genealogy, fishing, the tweed industry, local place-names, settlement history (including township records, the Clearances and Land Struggle), ceilidh-house stories, and every aspect of the social, religious and economic life of rural communities in Lewis during the 19th and 20th centuries. A catalogue of the Archive has been prepared.
Access. The Archive has been catalogued and made available for reference and research at the Ravenspoint Centre, Kershader, South Lochs, Lewis, where there is also a shop, Café, and hostel run by the local community. Visitors to the Archive and Ravenspoint Centre are welcome (phone 01851 880236). This website will widen access to the Archive significantly, making it available for reference and research throughout the world. This website has significantly widened access to the Archive. It is used by schools, colleges and universities as well as for private research.
Organisational Arrangements. The Archive is owned by Angus Macleod's family, who have asked Comunn Eachdraidh na Pairc (the local historical society for Pairc) and The Islands Book Trust to oversee the conservation of and public access to the Archive. Funding for the project so far has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (the Western Isles Council), and HIE Innse Gall (formerly Western Isles Enterprise). The various stages of the project have created several full-time and part-time posts based at the Ravenspoint Centre, and there is substantial involvement by the local community on a voluntary basis, including a significant number of Gaelic speakers. The Archive project has also published several books and prepared exhibitions based on the Archive, arranged Gaelic story-telling evenings and other events, and organises an annual Angus Macleod memorial lecture.