Sunday 11th April 2021,
Frontiers Magazine

Browsing the "People Past & Present" Category


Courage and determination

The writer Ann Scott-Moncrieff was the subject of one of the One O’Clock Toasts in the 2015 Orkney International Science Festival. As a young reporter for The Orcadian, her account of flying across the Pentland Firth – as the first Orcadian to do so – created a climate of interest in Orkney in the development [...]

March 13, 2016 Gavin Scott Moncrieff People Past & Present Comments Off

James Petrie Chalmers – Pioneer of Vision

He was born in Tankerness and worked at The Orkney Herald, and he went to America in search of opportunity. And when he died in 1912, his funeral in New York was attended by many leading names in the film industry. He had become a leading name himself by creating a weekly magazine that was [...]

February 7, 2016 Moya McDonald People Past & Present Comments Off
Gerald “Gerry” Meyer

Remembering Gerry

The death of Gerald “Gerry” Meyer, former editor of Britain’s first wartime forces newspaper, severed one of the last remaining links between Orkney and the vast garrison stationed in the islands during the Second World War. After The Orkney Blast, Gerry went on to edit The Orcadian, the local newspaper, for 36 years during which [...]

August 20, 2015 Magnus Grimond People Past & Present Comments Off
west coast scotland

A Man of Many Gifts

The writings of T. Ratcliffe Barnett appear from time to time on our pages, through his atmospheric descriptions of travels through Scotland, visiting places like Cromarty, the birthplace of the geologist Hugh Miller. His own story is that of a man with great abilities and warm humanity, as Christine Muir describes. Although I knew that [...]

March 9, 2015 Christine Muir People Past & Present Comments Off
c Balfour from Royal Society in color

Balfour Stewart: Sun, clouds and inspiration

Balfour Stewart (1828-1887) was born in Edinburgh but his father was a younger son of the Stewarts of Brugh in Westray and his mother was a daughter of William Clouston, minister of Stromness and Sandwick. Stewart spent two years at the University of Edinburgh, then left without completing his degree and was apprenticed to his [...]

July 15, 2014 Patricia Long People Past & Present Comments Off

Scotland’s Time Lords

Today we have a comprehensive view of how the Earth works – the modern paradigm of Plate Tectonics. Yet, we forget how recent this model is and to give credit to the many Scots scientists who laid the foundation for this ‘Big Idea’ in science. James Hutton, medic, chemist, farmer and the Father of Modern [...]

July 15, 2014 Stuart Monro People Past & Present Comments Off

Sutherland Simpson: From Saraquoy to Cornell

It used to be said that Orkney’s two main exports were eggs and professors. Our annual egg production peaked in 1957 at 78 million; our per capita production of professors is almost as noteworthy. Scientists almost to a man, they were usually fortunate enough to have had a gifted teacher such as Magnus Spence or [...]

August 6, 2013 Patricia Long People Past & Present Comments Off

John D. Mackay: Man of Letters

The John D. Mackay Memorial Lecture each year commemorates the life and work of a brilliant man and inspiring teacher who opened up fresh horizons in education and in the community. A toast to John D. was given in the 2012 Festival by one of his former pupils, Dr Tom Rendall. John D. Mackay was [...]

July 6, 2013 Tom Rendall People Past & Present Comments Off
Letitia Hargrave

Letitia Hargrave in the Nor’ Wast

In 1837 HBC Chief Trader James Hargrave went Home to Scotland to find a suitable wife. It was the fashionable thing to do. As one old trader said, ‘the novelty of getting Hudson Bay stocked with European Ladys’ meant jaunts ‘with no other view than that of getting spliced to some fair Belinda.’ Letitia MacTavish [...]

March 14, 2013 Morag MacInnes People Past & Present 0
An Imaginary Portrait of Washington Irving

Washington Irving and his Orkney family origins

Washington Irving (1783-1859) was the first American writer to be famous outside America. His two most successful books, Diedrich Knickerbocker’s History of New York 1809 and The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon 1819 are not well known now but their effect on popular culture was wide and long-lasting. The History of New York was a comic [...]

March 8, 2013 Patricia Long People Past & Present Comments Off