Alastair Chisholm and his photographer grandfather Archie


An important day looms for Thirsty Books with the publication of Michael Cope’s The Photographs of Archie Chisholm on December 10th. Archie Chisholm’s grandson, Alastair, who passed away on Christmas Day 2010, was a tireless supporter of this publisher’s work and much more than that – he was described by my children as my ‘only friend’, a designation which may have caused my sole other friend at the time to be a little put out.

Alastair is pictured here quite a few years before I met him. He was a teacher, historian, handyman and accomplished artist – celebrated in the small world of Scottish literary magazines for providing the cover art for most of the 8 titles of Deliberately Thirsty (1998 to 2001).

The man we came to know as ‘The Chisholm’ will feature in future blogs but it’s his research into his grandfather’s photography that’s of topical interest. It’s likely that Alastair was the first in recent times to recognise the extent and importance of Archie Chisholm’s archive of photographs dating from his tenure as Procurator Fiscal in Lochmaddy, North Uist from 1881 to 1913.

His research kick-started the project that his brother –in –law Michel Cope went on to painstakingly complete. The result is an exceptional social record of the Hebrides over a 30 year period of great change – and, of course, a fitting tribute to our good friend Alastair.

Buy The Photographs of Archie Chisholm at our online bookshop

Sam Bradley