The Angus Macleod Archive
Angus Macleod was born in the then populous and overwhelmingly Gaelic-speaking but now almost deserted rural settlement of Calbost. He left school at 14 and 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. (See also his biography.) 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.
The Archive collection includes Angus Macleod’s 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 material 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.
The Archive is for everyone with an interest in the history and culture of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, whether as a resident, visitor, or researcher. It 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.
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. It has been catalogued and made available for reference and research at the Ravenspoint Centre in Kershader, where there is also a shop, tea-room, and hostel run by the local community. Visitors to the Archive and Ravenspoint Centre are welcome (phone 01851 880737 or 880236). A large quantity of material has also been digitised and is freely available online at the Angus Macleod Archive website.
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.