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TITLE
Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Jim Hunter
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_03_JIM_HUNTER_Q_04
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Jim Hunter
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41022
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
humanaspect

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Jim Hunter answers the question:

'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?'

'I told the story today, for instance, touching on emigration, the story of Effie MacLeod who left Skye in the summer of 18-, in August 1802, on a ship called the 'Duke of Kent'. And she had with her, her little boy who was just one year old at the time. And people who were there - there was an observer, a man called Edward Fraser was actually a witness to the departure of the 'Duke of Kent' from Loch Bracadale in Skye and he, he wrote about it in a manuscript that he intended to publish but never was published, but the manuscript survives - and he comments how the ship was in a deplorable state, as a lot of emigrant ships often were, and that indeed that he and others who'd been on board didn't think that the ship would actually get to the other side of the Atlantic.

So Effie set out with hundreds of other passengers on that ship heading for Wilmington in North Carolina, and what Fraser wrote about the ship was indeed almost the case. It was very stormy; they, it took three months. The, the voyage across the Atlantic from, from this side to the American side always took a long, or nearly always took a long time, because they were going against the prevailing wind, whereas a sailing ship would sail from America to Britain relatively quickly because it, we'd have the wind behind it. Going the other direction often took a long time. But this was an exceptionally long time - three months - and somewhere out in the ocean Effie MacLeod's second child was born, a little boy who she named Kent, after the ship, but he only lived for a day or two and then he died and was buried at sea.

And I think, you know, that's a very- You know, often people writing about emigration deal in statistics, and facts and figures, and so on, and I think stories like that are important because it does bring out the human dimension, and it does give you some small insight into what it was like. And it must have, for her, been just absolutely awful; there she was, heading for this faraway country of which she knew next to nothing, with a small child already. Then, obviously being heavily pregnant, even when she left, and putting up with all the seasickness and illness that would occur on the ship, and then the baby being born, and then the baby dying. And, you know, it's, it's - I think it really brings home just how awful it must have been for many of these people.'


BIOGRAPHY

Professor James Hunter CBE FRSE is director of the Dornoch-based UHI Centre for History, UHI being the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands. The author of eleven books on Highlands and Islands themes, he has also been active in the public life of the region. In the mid-1980s he became the first director of the Scottish Crofters Union, now the Scottish Crofting Foundation. More recently he was chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the north of Scotland's development agency. In the course of a varied career, Jim has also been a journalist and broadcaster. He is presently a board member of Scottish Natural Heritage and chairs SNH's Scientific Advisory Committee.

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Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Jim Hunter

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; humanaspect;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Jim Hunter answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?' <br /> <br /> 'I told the story today, for instance, touching on emigration, the story of Effie MacLeod who left Skye in the summer of 18-, in August 1802, on a ship called the 'Duke of Kent'. And she had with her, her little boy who was just one year old at the time. And people who were there - there was an observer, a man called Edward Fraser was actually a witness to the departure of the 'Duke of Kent' from Loch Bracadale in Skye and he, he wrote about it in a manuscript that he intended to publish but never was published, but the manuscript survives - and he comments how the ship was in a deplorable state, as a lot of emigrant ships often were, and that indeed that he and others who'd been on board didn't think that the ship would actually get to the other side of the Atlantic. <br /> <br /> So Effie set out with hundreds of other passengers on that ship heading for Wilmington in North Carolina, and what Fraser wrote about the ship was indeed almost the case. It was very stormy; they, it took three months. The, the voyage across the Atlantic from, from this side to the American side always took a long, or nearly always took a long time, because they were going against the prevailing wind, whereas a sailing ship would sail from America to Britain relatively quickly because it, we'd have the wind behind it. Going the other direction often took a long time. But this was an exceptionally long time - three months - and somewhere out in the ocean Effie MacLeod's second child was born, a little boy who she named Kent, after the ship, but he only lived for a day or two and then he died and was buried at sea. <br /> <br /> And I think, you know, that's a very- You know, often people writing about emigration deal in statistics, and facts and figures, and so on, and I think stories like that are important because it does bring out the human dimension, and it does give you some small insight into what it was like. And it must have, for her, been just absolutely awful; there she was, heading for this faraway country of which she knew next to nothing, with a small child already. Then, obviously being heavily pregnant, even when she left, and putting up with all the seasickness and illness that would occur on the ship, and then the baby being born, and then the baby dying. And, you know, it's, it's - I think it really brings home just how awful it must have been for many of these people.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Professor James Hunter CBE FRSE is director of the Dornoch-based UHI Centre for History, UHI being the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands. The author of eleven books on Highlands and Islands themes, he has also been active in the public life of the region. In the mid-1980s he became the first director of the Scottish Crofters Union, now the Scottish Crofting Foundation. More recently he was chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the north of Scotland's development agency. In the course of a varied career, Jim has also been a journalist and broadcaster. He is presently a board member of Scottish Natural Heritage and chairs SNH's Scientific Advisory Committee.