About the Book
Part family memoir, part historical detective work, this publication is loosely based on the author’s research into his own ancestry. James McAnna discovers long forgotten stories about the former mining town of Shotts, Lanarkshire. Prior to the erection of Shotts Iron Works in 1802, the local population lived in isolated cottages and hamlets. As the foundry and its associated industry grew, people from far and wide were attracted to the area in search of work. Among their number were families from the small Hebridean island of Ulva (including John Black, ancestor of the author). What started as a genealogical search for the author’s Shotts ancestry, ended with the discovery of long-forgotten ties which once existed between Ulva and Shotts. Read why this tiny island was cleared of most of its population in the 19th century. Find out the island’s connection with the island of Staffa (site of the famous natural phenomenon known as ‘Fingal’s Cave’). Who exactly was Ranald MacDonald of Staffa and what was his connection with Ulva and Shotts? The rise in Celtic Romanticism (largely created by Sir Walter Scott – a friend of Ranald MacDonald of Staffa and himself a visitor to Ulva) took place while the Highlands (and Ulva) were being cleared of its population and old traditions. Establishment images of Scotland (notably the King’s visit to Edinburgh in 1822, and accounts of wealthy tourists going to Staffa) were in stark contrast to the grim realities of life in newly industrialised towns (such as Shotts) at the time.
Richly illustrated with maps, prints, and old photographs.
Recommended reading for anyone interested in
Scottish history and the nature of Scottish identity
Jim McAnna grew up in Dykehead, Shotts, a town in Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was educated at St.Patrick’s Primary, Shotts, and Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell. He graduated BSc. Hons in Psychology from University of Glasgow. He has been a computer consultant, having worked for several blue chip companies, where he specialized in corporate computer networks. He enjoys travelling and hopes to win the lottery one day! “Once a Shotts Man Always a Shotts man!”