Margaret Isobel Smith/ Peggy Flett 19-12-1918 - 7-7-2015
as promised, although more briefly than planned.
"In those days Stornoway in the summer months was a busy bustling town. The harbour was crammed with herring drifters, the sea front lined with curers’ yards, and the smoke from the kippering sheds sending its aromatic presence far out to sea. The population must have increased four fold at least with the influx of curers, coopers and fishworkers."
For a time her upbringing and that of her older sister and younger brother was, by her account:
'somewhat Edwardian with a nursemaid in attendance and a constant insistence on “manners” and decorum. We wore “best clothes” for Sunday and paraded solemnly to Sunday School in flannel coats – button boots, and black velour hats in winter and patent leather shoes and Panama hats in summer – and always our “collections” tucked into our gloves.'
|Featuring John Maclean, towards bottom right|
|Stornoway from the air 1932|
Although her intelligence enabled her to benefit from her education in the prestigious Nicolson Institute, schooldays were not always happy at a time when most teachers still ruled by terror. Peggy's own 80+-year-old memories included still-resented incidents of bullying, unfairness, and victimisation, not usually of herself but of more vulnerable and worse-off pupils.
There were always compensations, and she was good at making the most of them. Membership of the recently re-formed Stornoway Girl Guides meant a lot to her, providing an escape from the chores and child-minding she was expected to spend so much of her time on at home.
|Stornoway Guides, 1930s.|
Peggy is the middle one of the three on the extreme right.
Instead her first employment was with the local Labour Exchange, the Burroo (Bureau of Employment), something of a growth sector in the 1930s. The story of how she heard about the job is told by Calum Smith in 'Around the Peat-Fire'.
|A path in the Castle \Grounds|
|Looking back at Stornoway from Holm, 2017|
|The present-day town: sites of change and continuity.|