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Kirkwall councillors
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Kirkwall councillors

Date approx.
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Picture added on 15 January 2009
Comments:
Another excellent photo, Clare. I hope there are more to come. This dates from the late thirties, I'd say. The Provost, in ermine and chain of office, is John M. Slater. He held the office from 1925 to 1940. Next him, in the wig, is W. J. Heddle, Town Clerk from 1902 to 1945. Flanking them, in robes, are the Bailies, who I think must be P. McCullie on the left and H. Garrioch on the right. To the left of Bailie McCullie is Dean of Guild P. C. Flett and to the right of Bailie Garrioch is Treasurer Robert Slater. Third, fourth and fifth from the left in the back row are, I think, Councillors A. G. Spence, Alexander Leask (rector of Kirkwall Grammar School) and Albert Maxwell. There were four other councillors. The other men must be officials. The councillors may be T. M. Foubister, J. Groundwater, J. A. Ballantyne and Charles Archibald. Anyone know who the bust is of? And what those contraptions in the alcoves are? Looking down on it all, from the gilt oval frame, is Sheriff Thoms in his uniform as Vice-Admiral of Orkney and Shetland. The portrait was presented to the town in 1918 by John A. Traill W.S. and hung in the town hall "in remembrance of Sheriff Thoms' munificent bequest for the restoration of St Magnus Cathedral". Such remembrance cannot have lasted long. In the 1980s the portrait was discovered damaged and filthy under the town hall stage and is now stored in Tankerness House. It would be nice if it could be restored and hung somewhere appropriate, like the St Magnus Centre, for the Cathedral might have been in poor shape if it wasn't for him.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 21 January 2009
The bust looks as though it might be of Gladstone, but it's difficult to tell.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 23 January 2009
Yes, certainly, Albert Maxwell is definitely 5th from the left in the back row. He was my Great-uncle - and I have many more photos!
Added by Clare on 27 January 2009
This photograph, taken by William S. Thomson, Kirkwall, was published in "The Orcadian" for Thursday 2nd March 1939, the first in a series of Orkney public bodies. The names are given as: seated, left to right, Councillor John A. Ballantyne; Dean of Guild Peter C. Flett, O.B.E.; Bailie Peter McCullie; Mr William J. Heddle, solicitor, Town Clerk; Provost John M. Slater; Bailie Harry Garrioch; Treasurer Robert Slater; Councillor James Groundwater; standing, left to right, Mr Henry Smith, Town Clerk Depute; Mr James D. Brass, Burgh Chamberlain; Councillor Archibald G. Spence; Councillor Alex. Leask, M.A.; Councillor Albert J. G. Maxwell; Councillor Charles Archibald, M.A.; Mr David Oddie, Burgh Surveyor; and Mr Robert F. Walls, Electricity Department Manager. I found an obituary of Charles Archibald in "The Orcadian" of 1st September 1955. He was 82 when he died. A native of Elgin, he taught in Kirkwall in the early years of the century before moving to London. He retired to Kirkwall in 1934 and lived in Glaitness Road. He liked to wear knickerbockers and in summer a Panama hat. When walking down the street he was usually preceded by his black and white dog, "who always appeared," said The Orcadian, "to have as independent an outlook on life as his master."
Added by Paul Sutherland on 13 April 2010
Further to my comment of 23 January 2009, the bust is indeed of Gladstone. I found a picture of it tonight among items from the Orkney Museum on artuk.org when looking for something else. A quick search on the British Newspaper Archive site disclosed a 1912 report in the Orcadian on the bust being moved from its original niche which stated it had been presented to the town by Gladstone himself. Unfortunately the website doesn't have the 1883 papers with the report of Gladstone's visit. An article by Ernest Marwick however says Gladstone presented a bust of himself to the Rev David Webster of the U.P.(Paterson) Kirk. That may the the same one, unless of course the "Grand Old Man" carried a suitcase full of them round on his travels and dished them out like sweeties.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 30 July 2020
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Kirkwall

Print of cathedralThe Cathedral in The Peerie SeaFormer Orkney Arts TheatreWindwicksStaff of the Orkney Herald in the 1890sPeace family member?London Zoo seal-acquisition project #17London Zoo seal-acquisition project #16London Zoo seal-acquisition project #6Arts Theatre entrance no more!