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About

About
I’m the first History Ph.D. Graduate of the University of the Highlands and Islands. I was supervised at the UHI Centre for History by Professors Jim Hunter, the pre-eminent crofting historian, and Marjory Harper of the University of Aberdeen and the most important contemporary researcher and writer of nineteenth and twentieth century Scottish emigration.

My dissertation examined land settlement in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Raasay during the period 1919 to 1939.
My main interests and research are in:
  • Land settlement schemes - the creation of new crofts and the enlargement of existing ones. These began around 1900 but came to a virtual halt in the 1930s. Only a few schemes have been implemented since.
  • Attempts to recover from or reverse the detrimental impacts of the Highland Clearances, especially in the Hebrides.
  • Contemporary community land ownership initiatives in the Highlands and Islands, particularly schemes in the Outer Hebrides.
With my wife Shirley I’ve been a regular visitor for many years to the Hebrides in order to help carry out my research. This has allowed me to get to know something of the islands and their communities as they are today and to better reflect on what they were like when land settlement schemes were being developed on the ground in the early part of the twentieth century. This has also provided me with the opportunity to meet and talk to a number of local people with a knowledge of and interest in crofting history, land settlement or community ownership.

Bob Chambers