My Scottish Common People – The history of a Scottish family
George Smith

My Scottish Common People is the account of a family history which could stand for a history of the Scottish working class over the last four hundred years. George Smith has tracked eight paternal and maternal lines of forebears, common people who lived in Angus, Inverness-shire, Perthshire, Fifeshire, Orkney and Dundee. They include jute mechanics, seamstresses, handloom weavers, smallholders, farm hands, and fishing families, and finally the not-so-common author’s father, a shipyard joiner who became a trade union leader, TUC president and knight of the realm who will be familiar to many in the Labour Movement.
This book tells of the life events of ordinary people and their pursuit of livelihoods. Included are: members of a congregation that quit the Church of Scotland over a point of principle in 1733, a thirteen-year-old fisherman who joined the naval militia during the Napoleonic war, a politically active shoe clicker who supported a Proletarian Sunday School, a stone mason who helped to build Stevenson lighthouses, an Orkney ploughman and family who migrated to Dundee for a better life, a poor agricultural labourer given free oatmeal and cash from the the Church of Scotland, a widowed mother who survived as a seamstress. All are representative, including, and perhaps especially, a handloom weaver, later soldier, who was in a mutiny in 1794.
Published: May 2018
Extent: 234 pages
Paperback: £9.00
ISBN: 9-781912-419234



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George Smith was born in Dundee and moved to England as a child. He has since visited Scotland many times. He was educated at Nottingham University, Garnett College, the London School of Economics and the Institute of Education, London University which awarded him a doctorate. For most of his working life he was a lecturer in social studies and contributed to academic publications. He was a magistrate for nine years. In retirement he has furthered his long-held interest in family history through research and published articles. A volunteer, he is an adviser for Citizens Advice. He lives in Worcestershire.
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