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Material relating to Hugh Marwick

Identifier: Coll-1272

Scope and Contents

At E2010.24 there is an autograph letter signed from Marwick to Professor Bruce Dickins, placed and dated as Alton (Kirkwall), 26 January 1965. The letter was written around 3-4 months before his death and is autobiographical. The content is largely reminiscenses about his time at Edinburgh University. He writes, 'There are now so few of my old-time friends surviving that I feel very lonely [and] to hear from any of them is a rare pleasure. Do you know – of my friends of my Univ. days I don’t know of any one left!' He goes on to tell about his lodgings in Edinburgh and how he shared with three Orcadians: R.C. Wallace (later Principal of Queen’s University, Ontario); J.A. Gunn (later Director of the Nuffield Institute of Medical Research, Oxford); and, Gunn's younger brother J.W.C. Gunn (later Professor of Pharmacology at Cape Town). Apparently the lodgings 'all found were 16 shillings a week'. The small collection also includes some note and letter fragments, and offprints of three articles by Marwick: 'The ‘Old Man’ in Place-Names', Saga och Sed, (1959); 'An Old Celtic Loan-word in Orkney Place-Names', Namn och Bygd, Vol. 48 (1960); and, review of F.T. Wainwright’s 'The Northern Isles', Scottish Studies, Vol. 7, pt 1 (1963).


  • Creation: 1959-1965


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but some material closed. Please contact repository for details about access to the collection in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

Hugh Marwick was born on 30 November 1881 on Rousay, Orkney Islands. He went to school at Sourin on Rousay. In 1900 he studied to be a teacher at the Free Church Training College for Teachers in Aberdeen, after which he was appointed to the primary school at Newbattle, near Dalkeith, in Midlothian. Evening study followed to enable him to attain the necessary qualifications to study at Edinburgh University, where he first matriculated in 1905. He was awarded the degree of M.A. in 1909, with First Class Honours in English.

After graduation Marwick obtained a post as Chief English Master at the Grammar School in Burnley, Lancashire where he met his wife Jane Barritt. They were married in 1914 just after he had been appointed headmaster of the Burgh (now known as the Grammar) School in Kirkwall. During his time as headmaster of the Burgh School, he completed his D.Litt. (Edinburgh). His thesis presented in 1926 was on the original form of 'The Orkney Norn', and this would serve as the basis for a book.

After fifteen years as a headmaster, Marwick was appointed Executive Officer to the Orkney Education Committee - in effect, Director of Education, and it was for his services to education in Orkney that he was admitted Companion of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1938. Marwick retired at the age of sixty-five in 1946.

Dr Marwick was one of the founders of the Orkney Antiquarian Society in 1922 and was its Secretary for 17 years, during which he contributed papers to its Proceedings. He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1965. In addition to a large number of papers for the Orkney Antiquarian Society, he also contributed papers - mainly about finds in Orkney - to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. His published works include The Orkney Norn (1929), and posthumously Orkney Farm-Names (1952).

Dr Hugh Marwick died in Kirkwall on 21 May 1965.


1 folder

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Item purchased June 2010. Accession no: E2010.24.

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.

Material relating to Dr. Hugh Marwick (1881-1965)
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379