Stephen Branley

Stephen Branley

Posted on 07/04/2013


Photo taken on June 24, 2006


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Keywords

monument
Lord Leverhulme
Gress
Steve Branley
Isle of Lewis
Coll
Western Isles
WWI
Black&White
Scotland
B&W
Land Raider Memorial


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Land Raider Memorial - Gress

Land Raider Memorial - Gress
This is the last of my series on the land raider memorials. The design for this site at Gress posed very different problems from the other two and required more discussion with the local committee and several amendments were made to the original design.

The site selected was a flat sandy area by the river Gress below a main road and adjacent to the Tolsta bridge. The bridge was the focus of the conflict of 1919 between the landowner, Lord Leverhume and the ex-servicemen. His plans for integrating industrialisation with a crofting community struggling to maintain its traditional way of life.

After their return from the horrors of WWI, ex-service men were denied crofting land promised by the government. Their condition increased the tensions within the community and highlighted the problems of land usage.

In March 1919, some of the biggest land raids took place at the farms of Gress & Upper Coll. Land raiding continued throughout Lewis until 1921. The government eventually kept their promise and the people won the right to the land.

The central structure is symbolic of Lord Leverhulme’s attempt to fracture the crofting community, the earth works (not seen) represent the form of trenches and waves, symbols of pledges given to the ex-servicemen that they would be settled on the land after the Great War.

Designed by artist Will Maclean and constructed by local stonemason, James Crawford.

The 3 images in this set were used in a catalogue of artist Will Maclean works, 1970-2010, at the Fleming Gallery, London, February 2011.

Jean, Rhisiart Hincks have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Rhisiart Hincks
Rhisiart Hincks
A striking structure. I hadn't heard of it before.
4 years ago.
Stephen Branley has replied to Rhisiart Hincks
Thanks Rhisiart, all three memorials dedicated to the land raiders, (Balallan, Gress & Aignish) were well thought out and well constructed too.....
4 years ago. Edited 4 years ago.
Jean
Jean
Magnificant memorial and beautifully photographed. I've only seen the memorial in Knoydart.
4 years ago.
Stephen Branley has replied to Jean
Thank you Jean. For a a small island it does have its fair share of memorials....
4 years ago.