Isle Of Lewis

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Christmas Looking up to Stornoway town from Cromwell St, Isle Of Lewis, Scotland, UK

Christmas Looking up to Stornoway town from Cromwell St, Isle Of Lewis, Scotland, UK
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Murdo Maclean and sons is Stornoway's premier department store. A kind of Outer Hebrides Jenners or Kendals, not yet swallowed up by the House of Fraser.

Locals tell me that a trip there was an experience as a child, maybe getting whipped up to the 1st floor for school shoes, sunday best or uniform. I have certainly taken a few shots of it over the years, its a Stornoway icon, (almost as famous as butchers Macleod & MacleodsBlack Pudding or Irn Bru Sausages).

As you walk in there is bric-a-brac downstairs with soft furnishings at the rear. Upstairs are the wearables, shoes, clothes etc. I am told that they stock some quite posh stuff too. I did spot some people sporting Tommy Hilfiger tops in The Thai Cafe, although that might have been from a stall on Inverness Market. They did have mainland accents!

An on-line review I read said "There’s a nice selection of Posh womens hats and bags (Think weddings and church) and a range of womens wear and underwear which is mostly suited to the more mature lady but sometimes you can find a great modern “young person” piece".

Here's a shameless plug for them
Murdo Maclean & Sons Ltd
25 Cromwell Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2DD,
Tel: 01851 703416, Fax: 01851 706362

Stornoway was originally a Viking settlement its said and developed around its well sheltered natural harbour. Reflecting this, the name Stornoway itself is derived from 'Stjórnavágr', an Old Norse word for 'steering bay'.

Medieval development of the town was spurred by the construction of the original castle in the High Middle Ages by the Nicolson (or MacNicol) family, themselves of Viking descent. Infighting between rival clans continued throughout the Late Middle Ages and resisted an attempt by the then King of Scotland James VI to colonise Lewis in 1597.

The castle was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell's forces in the aftermath of his Scottish campaign in the mid 17th century, and the ownership of Stornoway - and by extension, Lewis - passed from the MacKenzies of Kintail through the Seaforth family and Sir James Matheson (and his descendants) to William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme. Lord Leverhulme finally gifted the town's parish to the Stornoway Trust, whose ownership remains to this day.

Thanks to BenFD for commenting:

The town hall clock of Stornoway
Chimes its message everyday
Heaven can't be far away
From lovely Stornoway.

I don't know if that rhyme reflects the Christian values of Lewis, but people do take the Sabbath seriously. Only recently were Sunday newspapers available, Sunday boat sailings and flights were resisted.

The Christian religion has deep roots in the Western Isles, but owing mainly to the different allegiances of the clans in the past, the people in the northern islands (Lewis, Harris, North Uist) have historically been predominantly Protestant, and those of the southern islands (Benbecula, South Uist, Barra) predominantly Roman Catholic. There are also small Episcopalian congregations in Lewis, though many of their members originate outside the island.

It has also generally been considered unacceptable for people to appear in church improperly dressed, although this is slowly changing. Violations of this nature might include the failure by women to wear a hat, or trousers being worn instead of a skirt, or the wearing of informal clothing such as jeans. In December 2005 the local council refused to conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples wishing to register under the Civil Partnerships Act 2004.

(c) Hotpix / HotpixUK Tony Smith - WDCC