Archivistís last visit


 

17 March 2006

 

ON Friday 15th March the Comann Eachdraidh Lios MÚr had the pleasure of welcoming Murdo MacDonald, Argyll and Buteís archivist, to talk about the MacCaigs of Oban who originated from Lismore. They were an extremely interesting, eccentric family, whom Murdo described as 'the family with the Midas touch'. Each member made her or his mark on the world but John Stewart MacCaig is the most famous as he built MacCaig's Tower in Oban.

John Stewart was very much a committee man having been on, amongst others, the Poor Relief Body, various School Boards and the Town Council, eventually becoming Chief Magistrate which was the then equivalent of Provost. He even stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1885. He was also an entrepreneur with many business interests in Oban: he bought the North Pier and built the Columba Hotel which he then sold to the Town Council for over £16,000 - a princely sum in those days. But the project for which he is most famous is, of course, MacCaigs Tower which was not only to be a grand memorial to his own family but also to provide work for local artisans. The work was never finished as the family and the Town Council successfully contested it.

Donald Black and Murdo MacDonald

The talk was followed by many interesting questions from the audience some
of whom were descendants of the MacCaigs. Donald Black, Chairman of Comann Eachdraidh (pictured left) gave the vote of thanks which had a tone of sadness as Murdo is retiring at the end of the month. The Comann Eachdraidh will miss him and his extensive knowledge of the history of the area.

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