Shetland Links

Perhaps the most interesting outcome of my ‘things to do when I have time’ is the outcome of my request for a Shetland fiddler to play a slow air I wrote in a style which was beyond me. I am absolutely thrilled with the response – the outcome of which can be seen at 


As noted on my Newsflash page I am also offering to send out free copies of the following;

 FROM SHETLAND TO KEEL SQUARE A study of British maritime and island life during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries By Keith Gregson

55,000 words and 155 pp with illustrations

It may be of interest for a number of reasons. In terms of an overview it examines a microcosm of maritime life in an English port (Sunderland) over a period of time covering ship masters, builders, owners and brokers. It also gives a detailed insight into the island (Shetland) lives of a group of fishermen, crofters and knitters – families which gave up their sons to lives in the mainland maritime trade.

History often records the deeds of the good, the great and the high and mighty specifically by name leaving the rest of social history to anonymous miners, weavers, seamen etc. etc. If this work goes a little way to amending this approach then all well and good. It also contains an appendix which provides food for thought about the origins of the word mackem. The book should be of use and interest to local, family and social historians.

Research for this book goes back to the early 1970s so the result can be aptly called a lifetime’s work. It has been read from cover to cover by another with firm Shetland links and roots who is now heavily involved in historical and genealogical matters in Lancashire and she has kindly written; 

‘I have been very absorbed over the holiday reading your excellent ‘Shetland to Keel Square’ book. The whole book is such an achievement, such detail and all interesting’.

Prior to the pandemic it was £10 which went to a local charity. I am now happy to send it gratis as an e-mail attachment to people who have time to read it and help with further research. I am also opening a page called Burra Isle Families – please go there if interested in families from Burra Isle and in particular Pottingers, Inksters, Ewensons and (H) Umphray.