Tuesday, 15 November 2011

In the Poor House

I happened across an entry in the 1901 census for Stornoway for the inmates of the Combination Poor House. This was built in 1894-6 on the Coulregrein Road, nowadays Westview Terrace, in Stornoway. It was used in 1904 to house some of the survivors from the sinking of SS Norge at Rockall in June that year. About 700 passengers drowned; 9 died after coming ashore in Lewis and lie buried in Sandwick Cemetery.
The building could accommodate 66 inmates, but was found to have 72 beds in 1946. Coulregrein House no longer exists (source workhouses.org.uk).

The 1901 census entry (which I have summarised here) has been analysed by my friend and fellow researcher Direcleit, and I refer to his post from 2010. I am highlighting four people, for whom I could trace further information with a degree of certainty.

Donald Macmaster Cattanach (46)
Married to : Jacobina Cattanach
Born: Kingussie
Occupation: Governor of Poor House
Location: Lewis Combination Poor House
In 1891 he was governor of the Combmaker Poor House in Lerwick, Shetland

Jacobina Cattanach (48)
Wife of above
Born: Glasgow
Occupation: Matron of Poor House
In 1891 she was matron of the Combmaker Poor House in Lerwick, Shetland

Jane A Gowans (34)
Born: Pitlochry
Occupation: Former school mistress

Jane Anne Gowans died on 21 August 1915 at Pierce Central, British Columbia, Canada at the age of 48

Inmate Angus Maciver (40)
Born: Uig, Ross-shire
Occupation: Formerly shoemaker

Angus appears in the 1891 census as a shoemaker at Callanish, which is in the parish of Uig, Ross-shire. At the time, he is married to Christina. In the 1901 census, Christina is shown as remaining at 8 Callanish, a shoemaker’s wife, but the head of the household. She is looking after five young children: Donald (9), Neil (8), Maggie (6), Johanna (3) and John (1).

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