Reading Room, Scarinish

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‘READING ROOM — The reading room kindly erected by the Duke of Argyll is a great boon to the island. It is exceedingly neat and handsome, and will be most useful for those waiting the steamers, who have hitherto had to endure much wet and cold in former years. There are quite e number of papers and serials in the reading room, and friends are expected to send more. The editor of the Strand Magazine sent several books; some were sent also by Mr Campbell, Inverness, and others.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser – Saturday 24 September 1892, p. 6)

1891: Tiree cattle show’s contribution to building a reading room and waiting rooms at Scarnish £45 13s. This was erected in 1892 by P. and R. Fleming of Glasgow at a cost of £102 2s’ (Factory Act Books, An Iodhlann cat. no. 1998.151.1)

It was divided internally by a partition. The east end contained shelving and was used as a Reading Room. Coates of Paisley donated books. The west end was the waiting room. After the Gott Bay pier opened in 1915, it was no longer used for this purpose, but as one of the few public rooms on the island it came to be used for weddings and ceilidhs, once as a shelter for shipwrecked sailors, an office for the Caledonian Construction Company who were building roads on the island during the Second World War, home for the pier master, a dentist’s surgery, and a polling station. It is now home to An Iodhlann, Tiree’s historical centre.

‘NOTES.—Mr Watson, photographer, Edinburgh, has presented the Tiree Reading Room with two fine pictures beautifully framed, viz.— “Oituar Scarinish agas Cleite Ruaig” and “Tra Bhaigh agus Eilean nan Shiliag.” They are very valuable pictures, and Mr Watson has already got a medal for them. Mr Watson, one of the masters in the Merchants School, Queen Street, Edinburgh, is taking holidays in the island at present. He is staying at the Baugh Manse.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 4 August 1894, p. 6)

‘READING ROOM.—The Committee beg to acknowledge, with thanks, a number of illustrated papers, viz., “The Sphere,” received occasionally from an unknown donor, with a postmark of Liverpool, also a number of magazines from Lady Victoria Campbell, Miss Goodrich Freer, and Miss R. M. Laudon. Contributions of this type are highly acceptable. It is hoped that those interested in the Reading-room will do what they can in this way.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 8 March 1902, p. 6)

Mr Jas. [James] Coats, jun, of Ferguslie House, Paisley, has presented the Tiree Reading-room, Scarinish, with a very handsome contribution of useful books. The committee feel exceedingly grateful for this valuable gift, which will be found most useful during the winter months in a lonely island like Tiree, where there is no access to other libraries. Besides the books, Mr Coats has also kindly given book-cases.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 5 September 1903, p. 6)

‘His Grace the Duke of Argyll has presented to the reading room, Tiree, the following books :—“Organic Evolution”; “Irish Nationalism”; “The Unity of Nature”; “Our Responsibilities for Turkey”; “Guido and Lita”; “Burdens of Belief”; “Rome”; “Crofts and Farms in the Hebrides”; “ A Gift Book for the Home.” Of all of these volumes, the late Duke was the author.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 6 May 1905, p. 6)

‘Parish Council.—A meeting of the Parish Council was held on Saturday last within the Reading-Room of Scarinish Library for the purpose of judging of applications, numbering over a dozen, for the medical officership rendered vacant by the death of Dr. Alex. Buchanan. Ratepayers and all concerned are anxious that the post now vacant for a period of almost six months be filled with the minimum of delay. Dr. Campbell, assistant to Dr. Currie, Oban, is giving temporary supply, and his services are much appreciated by all classes of the community.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 16 September 1911, p. 6)

‘SCHOOL BOARD— A special meeting of the School Board was held in Scarinish Reading Room on Saturday last, Mr H. McDiarmid, chairman of the Board, presiding.’ (Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 17 August 1912, p. 6)

See KING C. The Rise and Decline of Village Reading Rooms. Rural History.
2009; 20(2):163-186.

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