Home » “Our Forgotten Food Riots” – Evening lecture by Prof. James Hunter

“Our Forgotten Food Riots” – Evening lecture by Prof. James Hunter

Wine reception and book-signing at IMAG, before Prof. Hunter talks about his latest book at Inverness Town House

James Hunter is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), and the first director of the prestigious UHI Centre for History. Professor Hunter is the author of thirteen books about the Highlands and Islands, and has also been active in the public life of the region for many years.  To celebrate the launch of his latest work, Insurrection: Scotland’s Famine Winter (published by Birlinn Ltd.), Inverness Museum and Art Gallery is delighted to host Prof. Hunter at the Inverness Town House, where he will be delivering an evening lecture followed by a Q&A session chaired by Dr. David Worthington, Head of the Centre for History at UHI.  Prior to this, enjoy refreshments at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, and take the chance to peruse our current exhibition.  Some of the archive materials used by Prof. Hunter during his research will be on display, kindly supplied by the Highland Archive Centre (High Life Highland).

Jim Hunter’s talk will touch on the dramatic and often moving stories told in his new book. When Scotland’s 1846 potato crop was wiped out by blight, the country was plunged into crisis. In the Hebrides and the West Highlands a huge relief effort came too late to prevent starvation and death. Further east, towns and villages like Inverness, Beauly, Avoch, Cromarty, Dingwall and Invergordon rose up in protest at the cost of the oatmeal, which had replaced potatoes as people’s basic foodstuff. The soaring price of oatmeal was blamed on the export of grain by farmers and landlords cashing in on even higher prices further afield.  As a bitter winter gripped and families feared the same fate as those affected by famine in Ireland, grain carts were seized, ships boarded, harbours blockaded, a jail forced open and the military confronted. The army fired on one set of rioters. Savage sentences were imposed on others. But thousands-strong crowds also gained key concessions.  Above all, they won cheaper food.

Prof. Hunter, one of Scotland’s most prolific historians, weaves meticulous research and contemporary eye witness testimonies to create a compelling account of Scotland’s hunger winter and the country’s forgotten food riots.

£12.00 per person. To book call 01349 781730, email [email protected] or call into IMAG reception.  (Bookings confirmed on receipt of payment).

Wednesday 16 October
Wine Reception, Archival Documents Display and Book-signing –  IMAG: 5.30pm
Lecture and Q&A Session  –  Inverness Town House: 7pm

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