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A School in South Uist: Reminiscences of a Hebridean Schoolmaster, 1890-1913 [Paperback]

F.G. Rea
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 1997
These are the memoirs of a teacher from England who became headmaster of Garrynemonie School in South Uist in the 1890s. At that time, the Hebrides were as remote and forbidding to mainlanders as the Antarctic is in the late-1990s. In the 1890s this island was one of the poorest districts in the Outer Hebrides. Roads were no more than rough tracks. Gaelic was the majority language, although children had to learn their lessons in English and few allowances were made for bilingual teaching. Epidemics were frequent and the school had to close its doors because of outbreaks of smallpox, whooping-cough, scarlet fever, mumps and measels. Rea's memoirs show how he strove to meet these difficulties. His pupils recall him as a sincere, hard-working man and an excellent teacher. This work reveals his powers of observation and his interest in the unfamiliar scenes and events he witnessed and recorded.

Frequently Bought Together

A School in South Uist: Reminiscences of a Hebridean Schoolmaster, 1890-1913 + Stories from South Uist + The Furrow Behind Me: The Autobiography of a Hebridean Crofter
Price For All Three: 25.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd; New Ed edition (1 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1874744874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1874744870
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Frederick Rea came from the Midlands of England to South Uist in 1889, when he caused a sensation, becoming not only the first Englishman to be appointed headmaster, but also the first Catholic to be awarded the post since the Reformation.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A step back in time. 16 April 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being familiar with South Uist and having an interest in historical/factual books I bought and read this book not really knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a gentle and relaxing journey into life in the Outer Isles 100 years ago. The story benefits by being told by an 'outsider' - the day-to-day happenings are recounted with an innocence and simplicity which a historian/professional observer would be hard-pressed to present. I'm not sure whether the pleasure I received from reading the book was enhanced by being able to picture in my mind's eye the landscape being described by the author, but I suspect it was. Having said that, I am sure that anyone with an interest in history/Uist would enjoy this book. It is certainly very easy to read - ideal for reading in the sun, on the passenger deck of the Cal-Mac Ferry en route to Uist and Barra (or by your bedside as you dream of the long silver beaches and machair). Lovely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly entertaining! 4 Sep 2008
Rea came to South Uist as head teacher at Garrynamonie School at a time when the roads were little more than faint tracks across the land. There was no public transportation, so pupils were frequently absent, and the remote area was among the poorest in the Outer Hebrides. The island, with its curious characters and folk-tales, slowly casts its spell on Rea, and he seems to exist in a state of constant wonder at its regional oddities - the quirky customs, rituals and superstitions, the dismal weather, the thick fogs and ferocious, face-searing snowstorms. The book is filled with local curiosities: the 'child-lifting' wind, his bare-footed servant, who appears and vanishes as if by magic, the wonderful description of 'lifting the peats'. The prose is restrained, filled with anecdotes and soaked with his love of the island, like he finally found his place in the world. When Rea returns to England, he leaves his heart in South Uist, among the people and places he has grown to love. Accounts of the Western Isles run to thousands of pages, but this is by far the most intimate and most readable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A School in South Uist 5 Oct 2013
By Sally
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wonderful evocation of life on South Uist at the turn of the 20th century. Brings it all to life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another book on the Uists 26 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really good read. Loved it. Read before I visit the island. Will definitely think back to the way things were.
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