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Iain Finlay Maciver

Iain Finlay Maciver

Iain Finlay, born 1943, was the eldest son of John Angus and Marion Mary nee Maclean, Stornoway.

The following is an obituary from 'The Scotsman' dated Mon 18 Jun 2007;

Iain Finlay Maciver was the son of the headmaster of the Nicolson Primary School. After school days in Lewis, he went to Aberdeen University, where he obtained a first-class degree in history. He then moved to Edinburgh to work on an M.Phil dissertation.

In August 1968, Iain joined the manuscripts department of the National Library of Scotland, where he was to spend the whole of his professional life. It was early in a period of expansion for the department and for the library, and Iain's interest in the history of the Church of Scotland, and in social history generally, contributed much to this development. As one of the department's modern historians (and after the death of Ian Rae its only one), he became particularly interested in modern political papers, persuading a number of active politicians to place their papers in the library, and in the records of trade unionism. In collaboration with Ian MacDougall of the Scottish Labour History Society, he made the library the pre-eminent repository in Scotland for the study of the social aspects of Scotland's industrial past. This did not prevent him from taking an interest in other historical matters, and his knowledge, for example, of 19th-century agriculture, from the papers of the Earls of Minto, and of the Peninsular Wars from those of Lord Lynedoch, was wide-ranging and of great value to scholars using the library's manuscript resources. Though he was not a Gaelic expert, his background ensured he was involved with the acquisition and management of Gaelic material. He also shared in the wider management of the library, and in particular followed a departmental tradition in being for many years a branch officer of the First Division Association.

In 1971 he married Lesley Stewart, who was then working in the printed books department of the library. They settled in Balerno, where they brought up their four children, and where Iain became a great supporter of the Scouts and of Balerno parish church. He was an elder at Balerno for more than 30 years, a form of public service which gave him particular happiness, and in 1984 published The Church and the People, 1826 to 1984, a history to celebrate the centenary of the present Balerno parish church.

In 1998 he became head of the manuscripts division in what had recently become the department of special collections, and in a period of retrenchment and reorganisation maintained the gentle cheerfulness, which had always been so characteristic of his attitude to everything he did. This was shown remarkably in his taking early retirement to facilitate the position of other colleagues.

It is sad that his time to enjoy retirement was so short. The church packed to the door on the day of his memorial service was a tribute to the attractiveness of his personality and to the esteem in which he was held by all who knew him.


Title: Iain Finlay Maciver
Record Type: People
Date of Birth: 12-11-1943
Date of Death: 05-03-2007
Occupation: Librarian
Sex: Male
Bk Reference: CEBL 3577
Record Maintained By: CEBL
Subject Id: 53818