A School in South Uist - Reminiscences of a Hebridean School Master 1890–1913
A fascinating portrait of life as an educator on a remote, rugged Scottish island at the turn of the twentieth century. These are the memoirs of a teacher from England who became headmaster of Garrynemonie School in South Uist in the 1890s. At that time, the Hebrides were as remote and forbidding to mainlanders as the Antarctic is today, and this particular island was one of the poorest districts in the Outer Hebrides. Roads were no more than rough tracks. Gaelic was the majority language, although children had to learn their lessons in English and few allowances were made for bilingual teaching. Epidemics were frequent, and the school had to close its doors because of outbreaks of smallpox, whooping cough, scarlet fever, mumps, and measles. F.G. Rea’s memoirs show how he strove to meet these difficulties—his pupils would recall him as a sincere, hard-working man and an excellent teacher. This work reveals his powers of observation and his interest in the unfamiliar scenes and events he witnessed and recorded, as well as providing a close-up view of this corner of the world in history.