Celebrating a century of the Scottish Land Settlement Act


20 September 2019
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A celebration of the 1919 Land Settlement (Scotland) Act - which transformed Highland land ownership will take place at a centenary event between 26 and 28 September 2019 at Kinloch on the Isle of Lewis.

A celebration of the 1919 Land Settlement (Scotland) Act - which transformed Highland land ownership will take place at a centenary event between 26 and 28 September 2019 at Kinloch on the Isle of Lewis. 

The conference is being organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands Centre for History in collaboration with the Centre for Scotland’s Land Futures and the Historical Geography Research Group

The 1919 Land Settlement Act

Dr Iain Robertson, Reader at the university’s Centre for History, talked about the Act's current relevance today: 'Despite its wide-reaching significance, the 1919 Land Settlement (Scotland) Act is neither as well-known nor celebrated as other key pieces of land legislation, such as the 1886 crofters act and the 2003 Land Reform (Scotland) Act. 

'By marking its centenary, we have a great one-off opportunity to bring together academia with the local community to celebrate both the huge impact the Act had on Highland land and society and its legacy. We celebrate also the fact that the Act was part of a global impetus aimed at the restoration of a sense of balance in social relations around land and its ownership.'

The importance of the Act

The 1919 act led directly to the creation of new crofting townships and the revival of existing ones across the Highlands and Islands. It created the conditions for the community buyout movement and part of its legacy today is the ongoing transformation of Highland landownership. 

Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Jim Hunter, is the keynote speaker at the opening dinner on Thursday 26 September. He said: 'I’m very pleased to be involved in this commemoration of a hard-fought-for piece of legislation that brought people back to many places left deserted by the clearances. Now that the community land movement’s looking to get repeopling going again, not least in places like Ulva, it’s all the more important that we learn lessons from what was brought about so successfully in 1919 and in the years that followed.'

Event details

The conference will include international experts from Tempere University in Finland, Curtin University in Australia, the University of British Columbia and Canada discussing international perspectives on land settlement. The event will embrace both contemporary perspectives on land issues and consider the legacy of the 1919 Act.

The event will also feature a second keynote by Professor Ewen Cameron (University of Edinburgh) and contributions from the local community and artists.  Field trips to West Harris with the West Harris Trust and the South Lochs are being offered. 

Registration is open to book a place at the full conference, field trips or individual sessions on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August click here.

 QUICK LINK: An expert guide to land ownership in the Highlands after World War One

A’ comharrachadh 100 bliadhna de dh’achd tuineachaidh fearann na h-Alba

Thèid comharrachadh den Achd Tuineachaidh Fearann (Alba) 1919 a chumail aig tachartas ceud bliadhna eadar 26 agus 28 Sultain 2019 ann a Ceann Loch ann an Eilean Leòdhais. Tha a’ cho-labhairt ga cur air dòigh le Ionad Eachdraidh Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean ann an co-obrachadh le Ionad Fearann Teachdail na h-Alba agus Buidheann Rannsachaidh Cruinn-eòlas Eachdraidheil

Bhruidhinn an Dr Iain Robasdan, Leughadair aig Ionad Eachdraidh an oilthighe, mu choiomchaidh ’s a tha e an-diugh: “A dh’aindeoin cho cudromach ’s a tha e, chan eil an AchdTuineachaidh Fearann (Alba) 1919 cho aithnichte no air a comharrachadh mar a tha prìomh phìosan de reachdas fearainn eile, leithid Achd nan Croitearan 1886 agus an Achd Ath-leasachaidh Fearann (Alba) 2003.

“Le bhith a’ comharrachadh ceud bliadhna, tha cothrom sònraichte againn an saoghalacadaimigeach a thoirt còmhla ris a’ choimhearsnachd ionadail gus a’ bhuaidh mhòr a bh’ aig an Achd air fearann agus comann-sòisealta na Gàidhealtachd agus a dìleab a chomharrachadh. Thasinn cuideachd a’ comharrachadh gun robh an Achd mar phàirt de bhrosnachadh cruinneil a bhaag amas air mothachadh air cothromachadh fhaighinn air ais ann an dàimhean sòisealtatimcheall air fearann agus a shealbh.”

Mar thoradh air achd 1919 chaidh bailtean-fearainn ùra a chruthachadh agus ath-bheothachadh a dhèanamh air an fheadhainn a th’ ann air feadh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean. Chruthaich e na cumhaichean airson gluasad air ceannach coimhearsnachd agus is e cruth-atharrachadh leantainneach air seilbh fearainn na Gàidhealtachd, pàirt den dìleab aige an-diugh.

Is e an t-Àrd-ollamh Emeritus Eachdraidh aig Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean, Jim Hunter, am prìomh neach-labhairt aig an dìnnear fosglaidh air Diardaoin 26 Sultain. Thuirt e “Tha mi glè thoilichte a bhith an sàs anns a’ chomharradh seo de reachdas don deach sabaid gu cruaidh agus a thug daoine air ais gu mòran àiteachan air am fàgail bàn aig na fuadaichean. A-nis seach gu bheil an gluasad fearainn coimhearsnachd a’ feuchainn ri daoine a thoirt a-steach a-rithist, gu h-àraidh ann an àiteachan mar Ulbha, tha e nas cudromaiche gum bi sinn ag ionnsachadh leasanan bho na chaidh a thoirt gu buil cho soirbheachail ann an 1919 agus anns na bliadhnaichean a lean.” 

Bidh a’ cho-labhairt a’ toirt a-steach eòlaichean eadar-nàiseanta bho Oilthigh Tempere san Fhionnlainn, Oilthigh Curtin ann an Astràilia, Oilthigh British Columbia agus Canada a’ beachdachadh air seallaidhean eadar-nàiseanta air tuineachadh fearainn. Gabhaidh an tachartas a-steach an dà shealladh co-aimsireil air cùisean fearainn agus beachdaichidh e air dìleab Achd 1919. Bidh an tachartas cuideachd a’ toirt a-steach dàrna prìomh òraid leis an Ollamh Eòghann Camshron (Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann) agus tabhartasan bhon choimhearsnachd ionadail agus luchd-ealain. Thathas a’ tabhann tursan-raoin do Thaobh Siar na Hearadh le Urras Taobh Siar na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch.

Tha clàradh fosgailte gus àite a ghlèidheadh aig a’ cho-labhairt iomlan, tursan achaidh no seiseanan fa leth air Dihaoine 27 agus Disathairne 28 Lùnastal, tadhail air: UHI.

(Report and image courtesy of the University of the Highlands & Islands)