18685: Donald Macdonald, Doctor

Donald (1891-1961) or Dolly Doctor as he was more commonly known, was born in Stornoway, the eldest son of John Macdonald of Carishader, Uig, and Annie Gillies of Shawbost.

Donald was educated at the Nicolson Insitute in Stornoway and graduated Master of Arts at Aberdeen University. After teaching for a while he returned to university; he took the diplomas of Licence of the Royal College of Physicians and Licence of the Royal College of Surgeons at Glasgow and graduated Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Edinburgh, obtaining the medal in medicine and being third in his class in surgery.

In 1919, whilst a graduate, Donald met Emily Lever Paul, a niece of Viscount Leverhume, at Uig Lodge where they were guests. The couple was married in 1923 at Leverhulme’s home in Hampstead, London. They settled in London where Donald worked in general practice in Stoke Newington and later as a West End specialist, until his retirement in 1946.

Upon Donald and Emily’s marriage, Leverhulme had given the couple the estate of Uig where they spent their holidays, at first in Uig Lodge and latterly in a house which they had built at Gisla, called Gisla Lodge. However, the cost of running the whole estate proved to be too much for the couple. Donald passed the tenancy of 6 Carishader to his cousin Angus John Macdonald.

After his retirement to Gisla, Donald started his research into the local history, traditions and archaeology of Lewis. Despite suffering from severe osteoarthritis, he was extremely active in the social and cultural life of the island, and contributed numerous articles to the Stornoway Gazette. His collection of stories was published in 1967 as Tales and traditions of the Lews, a guide to the history and legends of the area, having been compiled by his widow Emily. He took and collected many photographs of Hebrideans and their environments. He also collected obsolescent implements and artefacts for a museum which he hoped to establish in a translocated blackhouse in the grounds of Lews Castle in Stornoway. For this purpose he set up the Lewis and Harris Folk Museum Society of which the Procurator Fiscal, Colin Scott Mackenzie, became Chairperson and Secretary. Funds were raised by the public exhibitions of his photographs, displayed via magic lantern projections.

Subsequent to Donald’s death in 1961 his collection and photographs were transferred to the care of the Lewis and Harris Folk Museum Society. The photographs were permanently loaned to Museum nan Eilean; a selection of them were published as Dolly Doctor : pictures of bygone island life.

Uig Historical Society archive contains papers kindly donated by Dr Macdonald’s niece. The papers reflect Donald’s wide range of interests; researchers should note that as of 2021 they were uncatalogued.

Record Type:
Also Known As:
Dolly Doctor
Date Of Birth:
14 Sep 1891
Date of Death:
Sep 1961
Brothers Keeper Reference:
CEBL 2931
Record Maintained by: