118475: Iolaire Disaster Fund: volumes and papers

The Iolaire Disaster Fund was set up to assist the families who had lost fathers, sons and husbands on HMY Iolaire when it sank at the Beasts of Holm, Lewis. The Iolaire Disaster Fund Committee registered under the War Charities Act and was formed on 7th January 1919. Those who lost family made an application to the fund and a committee decided how much of a payment should be made.

Donations were received from individuals and organisations around the world. A total of £29,116 was raised in the course of 1919. The first donation registered was for £1,000 from Lord Leverhulme, owner of Lewis and Harris. Fundraising activities included a Highland Concert held in Edinburgh, addressed by the Secretary of State for Scotland, and collections made in cinemas in Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

The Disaster Fund supported 201 families with the last payments being made in January 1938, by which time all the affected children had reached the age of eighteen.

The administrative records of the Disaster Fund were passed to the care of Stornoway Town Council and subsequently to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar where they were held securely in the Council offices. The applications were in the care of Museum nan Eilean until 2012.

The Iolaire Disaster Fund papers are now held by Tasglann nan Eilean (Hebridean Archives). Further details of the collection and how it can be accessed are provided below:

  • Accession number: A2012/018
  • Date range: 1919-1938
  • Extent and format: 12 volumes, 2 bundles of papers. Paper records.
  • Scope and content: Administrative records 1919-1938; applications forms for assistance from the fund 1919; letter books 1919-1932; secretary’s correspondence 1925-1938; loose correspondence 1928-1938; financial records 1918-1938.
  • System of arrangement: Arranged within series. Within series, records are arranged chronologically.
  • Finding aids: A digital and manual item level list is available in the Tasaglann nan Eilean searchroom. A separate spreadsheet relating to the applications may be searched on behalf of researchers by Tasglann nan Eilean staff.
  • Language of material: English.
  • Conditions governing reproduction: Reproduction requests are subject to preservation requirements.
  • Conditions governing access: Details available upon application to Tasglann nan Eilean.



Record Type:
Source Type:
Archival collection
Record Maintained by: