Angus Calder

Angus Calder

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Angus Calder, the son of Ritchie Calder, was born in London on 5th February 1942. After reading English literature at Cambridge University he wrote a doctorate at Sussex University on politics in Britain during the Second World War.

Calder married Jenni Daiches, the daughter of David Daiches, in 1963. The couple had three children.

In 1969 Calder published his book on the Home Front entitled The People's War: Britain 1939-1945. As Ian Campbell pointed out this "was the first substantial work to question conventional wisdom on wartime Britain" The book won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1970.

In 1971 Calder moved to Scotland and became an Open University tutor based in Edinburgh. Over the next few years he published Russia Discovered: Nineteenth-Century Fiction from Pushkin to Chekhov (1976) and Revolutionary Empire (1981). After divorcing his first wife he was briefly married to Kate Kyle. The Myth of the Blitz appeared in 1992.

Calder, who became a reader of cultural studies at the Open University, retired in 1993. In his later years he suffered from alcoholism. Other books by Calder include Revolving Cultures (1994) Time to Kill: Soldier's Experience of War in the West, 1939-45 (1997), Scotland of the Mind (2002), Gods, Mongrels and Demons (2004) and Disasters & Heroes: On War, Memory and Representation (2004).

Angus Calder died of lung cancer on 5th June 2008.

Angus Calder, who has died aged 66 from lung cancer, was an extraordinarily versatile writer - historian, poet and essayist - and a stirring figure on the Scottish scene. He gained prominence with the publication, in 1969, of his first book, The People's War: Britain 1939-1945. A pioneering study of the home front, dispassionate and, at times, ironic when modifying the lingering myths of wartime propaganda, it won the John Llewellyn Rees prize and has remained in print ever since.

Not until 1981 did another major work appear, Revolutionary Empire, a deeply researched account of British imperial expansion that was no-holds-barred tendentious, as was The Myth of the Blitz (1992). Yet both Calder's zeal for wide reading and his way of life worked against the production of more major books, though, in 2004, he produced two fascinating late collections of black humour, Gods, Mongrels and Demons: 101 Brief But Essential Lives and Disasters and Heroes: On War, Memory and Representation. Instead, his breadth of knowledge and intense, if spasmodic, concentration encouraged his positive mastery of the essay.

The drink had led to the break-up of his marriage in 1982. However, in and out of recurrent bouts of drinking followed by spasmodic abstinence, a remarkable number of fine essays appeared. When one thought he was out for the count, he was up again and into print. He edited notable selections of Hugh MacDiarmid, Walter Scott, 19th-century Russian fiction, the poems of Burns and of Robert Louis Stevenson, and, with Paul Addison, Time to Kill: The Soldier's Experience of the War in the West 1939-45. He published verse throughout his life, winning the Eric Gregory Award for poetry in 1967, but brought out his first volume of poems, Waking in Waikato, in 1995. He was co-editor of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature from 1981 to 1987.

The two thrusts of Angus Calder's research and publishing interests were therefore established: well-researched and soundly based histories, and close studies of literary figures from 20th-century Scotland. Among his histories, the magisterial The People's War: Britain 1939-1945 (1969) was the first substantial work to question conventional wisdom on wartime Britain, and won him the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize the year following publication. The revisionist theme continued with Revolutionary Empire (1981) and The Myth of the Blitz (1991).

His literary studies included Revolving Culture: notes from the Scottish Republic (1994), and an edited collection of Hugh MacDiarmid's prose, The Raucle Tongue: selected essays, journalism and interviews (in three volumes, 1997-98) – the latter, like many of his works, collaboratively edited.

These are merely high points: the very extensive bibliography of teaching books, introductions and collections, overlooking his own creative writing and five volumes of poetry, points to the other main thrust of his life, his long involvement with the Open University in Scotland where he inspired and nurtured the careers of a generation.

One other title, Russia Discovered: nineteenth-century fiction from Pushkin to Chekhov (1976) is (as I can testify from using it in university teaching for many years) exemplary of Calder's strong qualities: lucidity of organisation, the ability to connect across barriers of language and background to illuminate text, and a strength in overall construction which is particularly visible in his substantial historical writing. The Myth of the Blitz in particular is able to give a vivid picture of a complex society under stress to a generation born too late to have experienced it.

A particular strength of Calder's writing was his involvement with oral history, recording the experiences of those who had lived through such events as the Blitz and seen it at more uncomfortably close quarters than historians had done. Like all his historical writing, his depiction of London life at this extreme moment was characterised by lucidity: he did not obtrude on events so much as make them vividly alive to the reader.

Angus Calder: Historian who debunked second world war’s myths (Obit.)

It was a damp basement in 1960s London, piled with closely written sheets of thin, crumbling wartime paper. Most people would have found it a forlorn place. Yet for the young Angus Calder, wandering round the room randomly picking out documents, it was an Aladdin’s cave of history. Here was a first-hand account of the London blitz. There were descriptions of what people really felt about rationing, about evacuees, about “Uncle Joe” Stalin.

That dank room contained the hundreds of reports written during the second world war by ordinary men and women for the Mass Observation research group. They had been lying neglected for years. Calder, who has died at 66, was to use them as the basis for his groundbreaking books The People’s War: Britain 1939-1945, published in 1969, and later, in 1991, The Myth of the Blitz. His work challenged the cherished view of a plucky Britain that came smiling through the blitz with people of all classes united by humour, tolerance and the volunteer spirit.

True, Calder found fortitude and courage at all levels of society. Yet as he showed in his vividly written and meticulously researched books, wartime Britain also saw industrial unrest, anti-Semitism, rising crime – the blackout was ideal for thieving – and a growing divide between rich and poor. “The forces of wealth, bureaucracy and privilege,” wrote Calder, who was a passionate socialist, “survived with little inconvenience.” He details, for example, the outrage of middle-class households when asked to take in vermin-infested evacuees from the slums. One rural council even turned away evacuees on the grounds that large houses could not be used because “the servant problem is acute and it would be unfair to billet children on them”.

As well as being a historian, Angus Calder was a poet, critic, essayist and teacher who made a big contribution to literature. Yet The People’s War, written when he was still in his 20s, was the first to give the views of ordinary people and the first to question established myths about the war. It influenced people from Sir David Hare, the playwright, to Gordon Brown, the prime minister, who knew Calder when both were historians and Labour party supporters in Edinburgh.

Angus Calder - History

Cawdor Castle by The Internet Guide to Scotland

The information and data reported in this history were compiled by him from many sources (see below).

  • A daughter Helen married SHAW MACKINTOSH.
  • According to Anderson's "Scottish Nation" during the 1300's, a Thomas, a valiant knight, reportedly the thane of CALDER, was killed fighting on the side of the Cumyn faction against the regent, Andrew de Moravia, with Robert Cumyn and William Cumyn being slain at the same time.
  • Tradition mentions a son, Hutcheon or Hugh CALDER, who in 1452 attended Alexander, earl of Huntly, the King's Lieutenant, in his expedition against the earls of Crawford of Finhaven and Douglas, then in rebellion, and Huntly having routed the forces of these two earls at the battle of Brechin. Hutcheon, too eager in the pursuit, was taken prisoner by the enemy, and brought to Finhaven, whither Crawford had retired. Being alarmed while at supper with the news of Huntly's approach, he fled with such precipitation that Hutcheon and several other prisoners made their escape. Hutcheon carried off the silver cup out of which Crawford drank, and presented it to Huntly at Brechin as a sure evidence of Crawford's flight, for which service (according to the History of the family of Gordon), Huntly, upon his return home, gave him the lands of Asswanly, county of Banff, and George Duke of Gordon gave to his successor a massive silver cup gilded, whereon the history of the transaction was engraved.
  • His second son, Robert, founded the family at Muirtoune in Moray, Scotland and infeft of the land of Aswanly, County of Banff, in 1440. Robert had two sons the younger James CALDER, settled at Elgin, and had a son who appears to have been in business there from 1607 to 1636. His son, Thomas CALDER, purchased in 1639 the lands of Sheriffiniln, near Elgin. He was provost of Elgin in 1665, and in 1669 completed the building of the family mansion there. His eldest son, Sir James CALDER, laird of Muirtoune, was created a baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia, knighted 5 November 1686. By his wife, Grizzel, daughter of Sir Robert Innes, Baronet, of Innes, he had a son, Sir Thomas, the second baronet, and several other children. His grandson, Sir James CALDER, the third baronet, married Alice, daughter of Admiral Robert Hughes, by whom he had two sons, and a daughter, the latter married Admiral Roddam of Roddam, county of Northumberland. He was succeeded by his elder son, Sir Henry CALDER, a major-general in the army, whose son, Sir Henry Roddam CALDER, was the fifth baronet. Sir Robert CALDER (b. 2 Jul 1745, Elgin, Scotland), the second son of Sir Thomas CALDER of Muirton, and uncle of the latter, was a distinguished admiral.
  • A daughter m. JOHN HAY of LOCKLOY.
  • A son, Alexander went, with several other Scots gentlemen, to assist Charles VII, of France against the English, and from him is descended the family of De la Chapagna in Toulouse.

12. WILLIAM CALDER - 6th Thane of CAWDOR:
Son of Donald, succeeded in 1442 and d. 1468. William under the name of William de CALDER, was a witness in a charter of confirmation granted by Alexander earl of Ross to Sir Walter Innes, of the lands of Aberkerder, dated 22d February 1438. A precept dated 17 August 1442, by Alexander de Yle, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles infefted William de Calder the thanage of CALDER, Offices of sheriff and constable of Nairn, including lands in Beath, Banchar and the half of Raite and Milk. In 1450 he went with William earl of Douglas, to the Jubilee at Rome. On 6 August 1454, a Royal license was granted to Thane William by letters from King James to fortify the current CAWDOR castle "with walls, moats, and iron portcullis, to furnish it with turrets and other defensive armaments and apparatus, and to appoint constables, janitors and jailors to his castle, providing always that the King and his successors shall have free ingress and egress to and from the castle."

  • A son William, heir to Thaneship, is mentioned among the barons present in parliament in 1469 and 1471, and in 1469 he served upon the assize which convicted Alexander Boyd of high treason. The thanedom and other lands belonging to William were erected into a free barony in his favor in the year 1476 and declared to lie within the shire of Nairn, although they are situated in different shires.
  • A son John became Rector of Duthil and later Precentor and Chantor of Ross. He was a leading Person in the district. John was a churchman but acquired considerable property in Nairn and elsewhere.

13. WILLIAM CALDER - 7th Thane of CAWDOR:
Died in 1503. First married 1458 Margaret (Mariot) Sutherland (daughter of Alexander Sutherland whose wife was daughter of Donald, Lord of the Isles) of the old castle of Dunbeath on the Caithness coast on the Moray Firth. He had five sons - William (the Eldest), John, Andrew, Alexander, and Hutcheon. On 6 November 1467, he purchased the lands of Invermarkie, obtaining a charter from John, Earl of Ross. In 1471 he bought from Andrew Leslie, of Spey with consent of the Bishop of Moray, the Miln of Nairn with loft and pertinents. After the death of Margaret, he married Janet Keith of Inverugie, widow of Alan Kinnaird of Culbin. He received a Crown charter at Edinburgh, 29 May 1476, granting to Him all his lands into one thanage of CAWDOR, the Baronies of Clunies and Beath Belmakeith, half of Rait Moy, Dunmaglass, the two kinikells, Kindess, Invermarkie, Mulchoich, Drummarnie, Ferntosh, and other lands as lie in the shires of Inverness and Forres. He also received permanent hereditary Sheriffship and Keeper of the King's castle at Nairn for himself and his heirs.

  • A son William, who was lame and weak of body gave up his birthright, entirely devoted himself to the service of God, and became the Vicar of Barevan, now CALDER parish.
  • A son John, on 29 April 1488 became male successor to the CAWDOR thanage in place of William.
  • A son Hugh (Hutcheon), Sheriff of Nairn by Crown charter in 1510 including the Constabulary of the King's castle at Nairn, m. the daughter of Laird of Culbin - had no sons, 5 daughters: one daughter Muriel m. John Bayne, Burgess of Elgin, another daughter Janet m. Morrison, Burgess of Nairn. Hugh and his brother Alexander pursued the Campbells of Inverliver for kidnapping Muriel.
  • A son Andrew.
  • A son Alexander of Clunas, youngest, m. Elizabeth Rose on 6 May 1515 at Auldearn. His descendants became tenants of the Hilltown of Raite.
  • The eldest daughter Marjory m. Alexander Fraser of Philorth, "God brother and God sister," by Dispensation from the Pope.
  • Three years later, a second daughter, Marion in 1483 married Hugh (Hutcheon) Allanson MacIntosh, grandson of the Laird of MacIntosh. They were "two-fourths kin" and also required Papal dispensation.
  • A third daughter, Margaret m. William Dallas, a near neighbor and heir to Bathgate.
  • A daughter, Jonet was born and soon died.
  • Several months after Thane John's death, Muriel was born and became sole heir to the CALDER estate.

15. MURIEL CALDER - 9th Thane (Thaness) of CAWDOR:
According to a Charter in 1573, Muriel, then 79 years old, was born in 1494. When John CALDER (last of the CALDER Thanes) died, the thanedom passed to his infant, Muriel. According to Lord CAWDOR (1993), Muriel, the daughter of John and Isobel Rose (of Kilravock Castle) CALDER, inherited the estate and an opulent fortune. Kilravock projected to marry her to his grandson and took her mother and her into his family. Archibald Campbell, 2nd earl of Argyll heard of Kilravock's plan and contrived to bring her into the family of Argyll. He soon found an opportunity of effecting the union. The younger Kilravock in 1492 joined Duncan, Laird of MacIntosh in spoiling the lands of Alexander Urquhart of Cromarty and was criminally prosecuted by Cromarty. Argyll who was Justice General in Scotland got Kilravock assoilzied and discharged with a fine of 800 merks. To obtain this favor Kilravock agreed to deliver Muriel to Argyll. Argyll and Hugh Rose of Kilravock, Muriel's uncle, were appointed tutors dative and ward of her marriage by King James IV by Royal grant on 16 January 1495. Muriel was kept in the House of Kilravock, and Argyll gave a bond of maintenance and friendship to Kilravock on 1 February 1499.

Muriel's paternal grandfather, William CALDER, 7th Thane of CAWDOR, being pursued in criminal process, could not prevent the Earl of Argyll from obtaining from the King the Wardship of Thane William's granddaughter Muriel. Upon being granted wardship and marriage from the Crown, as tradition has it, in the autumn of 1505, the Earl of Argyll (at the time the most influential man in Scotland) sent an expedition of 60 Clansmen under Campbell of Inverliver to abduct the infant Muriel to Inveraray, Argyll under the pretense of educating her in the south. Muriel's uncles, Hugh and Alexander CALDER leading a large force overtook the Campbell party near Dartulich in Strathnairn and a battle ensued, but one of Inverliever's sons escaped with Muriel while the others kept the CALDERS in check.

Muriel was served heir to her father's estate on 3 Mar 1502. In 1510 (tradition says at the age of 12 years old, however, if the 1494 dates are correct she would have been 16 years old) she was married to Sir John Campbell, 3rd son of the 2d Earl of Argyll. Muriel resigned and took out a charter to herself and her husband dated 22 February 1511, erecting all the lands in a free Thanage and Barony of CALDER. In December 1524 they took up residence at CAWDOR Castle.

Muriel's uncles were William CALDER (Vicar of Barevan), Hugh CALDER (sheriff of Nairn), Andrew CALDER, and Alexander CALDER (sheriff of Clunas). They were hostile toward the Campbell intrusion. Hugh CALDER along with his brother, Alexander and their men soon besieged the castle. During the hostility, eight of Inverliver's sons were killed.

Sir John Campbell, husband of Muriel, made numerous acquisitions in 1528, including purchasing from Hugh CALDER the offices of Sheriff and Constable of Nairn.

John CALDER, the Precentor of Ross and uncle to Hugh and Alexander CALDER came to the aid of the CALDERs to assist in maintaining the old family line. William CALDER, the Vicar of Barevan, claimed the lands of Little Urchany and secured, with the assistance of his uncle John CALDER the Precentor (in 1506), the CALDER lands in the burgh of Nairn. He next interceded on behalf of Hugh, the next eldest, whom he destined for his heir. Andrew CALDER was already dead. John induced his nephew William the Vicar to resign his sheriffship in favor of his brother Hugh CALDER of which a Crown charter was granted in 1510. The youngest CALDER, Alexander, remained to be provided for and his uncle John found him a wife in 1515. He also gave him the west half of Easter Brackla.

However, a Crown charter united all the possessions of CAWDOR into one thanage and free barony in favor of Sir John Campbell and Muriel CALDER. Soon the Old CAWDOR (CALDER) line faltered and crumbled away leaving Sir John in possession of CAWDOR Castle and all the lands of the CALDER estate. This gave the Campbell Clan a northern foothold.

Sir John Campbell of CAWDOR, died in the spring 1546, was the direct ancestor to the current Earl of CAWDOR.

Sir John Campbell's widow, Muriel, survived him by almost 30 years. Her eldest son was dead. So upon her death in 1575, the Thanedom passed to her grandson, John Campbell. He later sold part of his estate to Lord Lovat to purchase Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland just below the Firth of Lorn. On February 4, 1591, he was murdered by a neighbor. During 1660 through 1670 the castle was owned by Sir Hugh Campbell. The land remained in possession of his descendants until 1726, when it was purchased by Duncan Campbell of Shawfield.

  • Archibald (eldest son), John of Argyll, Donald of Argyll, Duncan of Highland Boath, Alexander of Fleenasmore & Raite, Katherine (eldest daughter), Janet (youngest, m. Ross of Balnagown).

Article copyright - Bill Caddell based on sources below.
For more information about the Caddells and Calders, email Bill direct at:

He runs a mailing list through ROOTSWEB for the surnames: CADDELL, CADDEL, CADELL, CALDER and variations (CADDLE, CADLE, CADWELL, CAUDELL, CAUDILL, CATTELL, etc.). To subscribe send an email addressed to [email protected]
In the body of the email, type only the word subscribe. Leave the Subject line blank. To post messages to the mailing list to be read by other people, send your message to [email protected]
Information on this and other surname mailings lists is available from Rootsweb.

For more about the story of Muriel Calder, you may be interested in the novel by Kathryn Lynn Davis which encompasses a fictional account of some of her life, particularly the romance with John at Kilchurn Castle. Child of Awe can be bought online as an inexpensive paperback from

The information and data reported in this history were compiled from many sources including the following:


In the mid-seventies, two miles underground, the idea for Calder was born. Our founder, Ian Calder-Potts, was working in the Western Deep Levels mine of South Africa, one of the deepest mines in the world. His experiences there confirmed the need for high pressure pumping equipment that will work safely and reliably in some of the most inhospitable, technically challenging and potentially dangerous environments on Earth.

Ian brought his family to Worcester in the heart of the United Kingdom and set up Calder on Gregory’s Bank Industrial Estate – now a housing estate. Finding potential customers was relatively easy, but finding companies actually prepared to place orders with an unknown supplier proved far more challenging. In a crowded marketplace of 17 competitors (the majority of which were not making a profit), Ian had to find a way to differentiate the company. The traditional market for high pressure pumps was oversubscribed, but this market was the fastest route to generating turnover.

When our first customers discovered that we were true to our word, delivering on our promise of ‘safety and reliability’, with a resultant dramatic drop in their running costs and assured trouble-free continuous operation, we won a few friends. Many more have followed.

As the company grew, we focused on new opportunities, particularly in areas that involved difficult and innovative processes. One new technology that emerged was Cuttings Re-injection (CRI) – the injection of ground-up stone and rock waste material back into a deep oil well – an environmentally sound method for disposing of oil & gas drilling waste.

Building on our success in the energy sector, we sought out applications that had highly demanding industrial and consumer standards. This drove product diversification and the disciplines our team learnt by supplying into such demanding markets that serve us well in all other sectors, ranging from aquaculture to automotive and refining to road maintenance. This diversification was largely responsible for the growth of the company at the start of the new millennium.

In 2009 we established a base in Saudi Arabia with our partner HOEIT to supply our high pressure waterjetting equipment to the emerging markets in the GCC region. Our Middle East market share has grown steadily and we have delivered many hydro jetting machines along with the latest hydro jetting accessories and PPE. All the machines supplied are supported by our Life Cycle Services team who provide training, spares and service support from their base in Al-Khobar, KSA.

Our move to new premises in 2011 was overdue. Gregory’s Bank had served us well, but we outgrew it, and the cluster of buildings didn’t support our increased build schedule. We invested heavily in the new premises as they had been empty for some time and were in a run-down state. The investment included two state-of-the-art test bays with in-house 500 and 1,800 kW VFDs, generators, and a test fluid cooling system.

In 2015 Calder Ltd was purchased by PG Flow Solutions. Both companies had extensive experience in the energy sector, and the cross-company collaboration on projects gave us significant advantages both in terms of the expertise we could offer and the financial benefits that we could pass onto the customer. Following a group re-organisation in 2020, Calder and PG became sister companies along with CFlow under the umbrella of EnFlow.

Since Ian’s retirement, the company has carried on doing what we do best – designing and manufacturing the best machines for the toughest jobs. The ethos on which our company was built remains as important today as it was 40 years ago.

The People's War : Britain 1939-1945

The Second World War was, for Britain, a 'total war' no section of society remained untouched by military conscription, air raids, the shipping crisis and the war economy.

In this comprehensive and engrossing narrative Angus Calder presents not only the great events and leading figures but also the oddities and banalities of daily life on the Home Front, and in particular the parts played by ordinary people: air raid wardens and Home Guards, factory workers and farmers, housewives and pacifists. Above all this revisionist and important work reveals how, in those six years, the British people came closer to discarding their social conventions than at any time since Cromwell's republic.

Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize in 1970, The People’s War draws on oral testimony and a mass of neglected social documentation to question the popularised image of national unity in the fight for victory.

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LibraryThing Review

A beginning to the discussion of life on the home front. North Americans, like myself, can only approach the experience of steady air attack and the day to day grind of the rationing of practically . Читать весь отзыв

LibraryThing Review

An amazing compendium of facts and reports of England's struggle in World war II, organized mostly chronologically, subdivided in such a way that roots of difficulties and obstructions are visited to . Читать весь отзыв


  1. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1982).Back to (1)
  2. Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT).Back to (2)
  3. Angus Calder, The Myth of the Blitz (London, 1991).Back to (3)
  4. Sonya O. Rose, ‘Sex, citizenship, and the nation in World War II Britain’, American Historical Review, 103, 4 (October 1998), 1147–76.Back to (4)
  5. Chloe Ward, ‘Something of the Spirit of Stalingrad’: British women, their Soviet sisters, propaganda and politics in the Second World War’, Twentieth Century British History, 25, 3 (2014), 435–60.Back to (5)
  6. Laura Beers, Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist (Cambridge, MA, 2016), 392–5.Back to (6)
  7. Alan Allport, Demobbed: Coming Home After World War Two (New Haven, CT, 2010) Geoffrey Field, Blood, Sweat, and Toil: Remaking the British Working Class, 1939–1945 (Oxford, 2014) Martin Francis, The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force, 1939–1945 (Oxford, 2009).Back to (7)

The author is happy to accept the review and thanks Laura Beers for her generous assessment of the book.

A Beloved Son- Calder family story

I have recently been in correspondence with Lisa Clifford, who has very kindly allowed me to share the following story and photographs with you. She originally got in touch with me after seeing the grave of Alistar Douglas Calder in the Black Range (Nungarra) Cemetery on the Outback Family History website.

Lisa tells me that she is the youngest grandchild of Neil and Mary Calder, being the 62-year-old daughter of their second youngest daughter, Doris Marion Clifford, who was born in 1921 and died in 2015 at 94 years of age. Lisa’s mother survived her siblings, all of whom lived to old age. Their father Neil Calder was born in Scotland in 1867 and died in Geraldton in 1945 and Mary (nee Priestly) was born in Victoria in 1875 and died in Perth in 1968.

Neil & Mary Jane Calder nee Priestly on their marriage at Mt Jackson WA in 1905.

Westralian Worker – Perth – 22 September 1905, page 1


A very pretty wedding was celebrated in the Miners’ Institute, Mt. Jackson, on Monday, September 4th, the officiating clergyman being the Rev. Mr. Davoren, Church of England Minister, Southern Cross. The contracting parties were Mr. Neil Calder, shift-boss, Mt. Jackson gold mine, and Miss Mary Priestly, proprietress Mt. Jackson boarding house. The bride, who was given away by her brother, looked charming in a very becoming cream silk dress, relieved with twine colored insertion and lace to match, veil and wreath of orange blossoms, carrying a very pretty bouquet of white everlastings. The bridesmaids were the Misses Rosie and Mary Duff, who were dressed in white silk, trimmed with lace and insertion, wearing hats to match.

Above is a very poignant photo of dear little Alistar Douglas Calder in his ‘wee’ kilt. Alistair was the couple’s first child. Born in Perth in November 1905, he died at Birrigrin, Black Range on 2nd March 1907, aged 14 months. The photograph must have been taken not long before he died. He must indeed have been very dear to them as his grave is most impressive, and there is only one other headstone in the cemetery. Alistar’s death certificate shows he died of natural causes. Lisa’s mother understood he may have died from convulsions, however, there were a number of childhood diseases that killed many babies and young children at that time.

Grave of Alistar Douglas Calder -Black Range Cemetery

Immortelle on the grave of Alistar Douglas Calder

Plaque on the grave of Alistar Douglas Calder

Lisa tells me she only recently learned where her grandparents met when researching on Trove and was surprised to read they had a huge community wedding with a 4-tier cake! After leaving Birrigrin, Neil and Mary eventually took up farming in Naraling, WA, where they raised their children in some very challenging rural circumstances. Those circumstances are outlined in the many articles on Trove where her grandfather is mentioned. They show a very civic-minded person, who not only agitated for better conditions for farmers in the Chapman Valley area but was also one of the “Airdens Martyrs” who defended the rights of crofters in Scotland and was imprisoned for 6 weeks in Inverness for doing so. He definitely walked his talk!

Geraldton Guardian and Express 14 November 1945, page 5


After an illness extending over only a few weeks, the death occurred at the St. John of God Hospital at Geraldton on Sunday afternoon last of Mr. Neil Calder, who was an extremely popular farmer at Naraling. The deceased gentleman, who was seventy-nine years of age, was born at Bonar Bridge in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and had a varied and interesting career as a sailor, miner, athlete, and farmer. He went to sea at the early age of thirteen years, and after four years of adventure, he spent about eight years working on gold and silver mines in America. He then returned to his native highlands, in which poor crofters. were being evicted in wholesale style. As a young man, the late Mr. Calder took a prominent part in leading an agitation against those ruthless land-grabbers, and mainly through his efforts, the Highland Land League was formed and still exists.

He then decided to go to Australia and landed at Albany in 1892, and being attracted by the gold boom at that time he walked from Northam to Kalgoorlie with seven other young men. From the goldfields town he then walked to Lake Way (now Wilnna), and sometime later he returned to Kalgoorlie, in which town he became quite a popular figure. Being a fluent speaker of the Gaelic and a lover of bagpipe music, he started a branch of the Caledonian Society, of which he was elected chief. After being appointed as manager of the Berrigan Gold Mines, he was married at Mt. Jackson in 1905 to Miss Mary Priesley of Victoria. Six years later he took up land at Naraling, and he very successfully farmed this property on the Bowes Estate. In the field of athletics the late Mr. Calder, during his eight years in America, annexed many prizes in long-distance pedestrian events, and at Maryborough Victoria, he won the shot-putting championship. Whilst at Kalgoorlie he also won the drill driving championship of the goldfields.

During his residence at Naraling, he displayed an active interest in the affairs of the Primary Producers’ Association, and at one period of his life in the district, he was a member of the Upper Chapman Road Board. In addition to a bereaved widow, the late Sir. Calder is survived by a family of seven comprising two sons and five daughters, and also five grandchildren. The youngest son (William) is at present serving with the A.I.F. in New Guinea, and the youngest daughter (Doris) is a member of the W.A.A.A.F. and is now on leave from Queensland. The funeral took place yesterday.


Kalgoorlie Western Argus – 25 November 1902, page 19

Back – Hector McKenzie – James Davidson. – James Harper – John Davidson.
Middle – Robert Harper Past Chief – Joseph Skurry Chieftain – Neil Calder Chief – Andrew Hogg Chieftain – Dugald Mcleod Secretary – Robert Crichton Treasurer –

Front -Angus Matheson – Thomas Jas McAllan
Photo by J. J. Dwyer

Revolving Culture: Notes from the Scottish Republic

Echoing Beatrice Webb—that “people in the labor movement could be divided between `As'—`anarchists'—and `Bs'—`bureaucrats'”—Angus Calder wonders if historians too might not similarly be classified, between “preservers of continuity” and those who “idolise intransigents” (p. 29). In that case, Calder himself should be classified as a `C': a contrarian. Identifying strongly with the community of non-English English writers (such as C.L.R. James) and also with the working-class Lawrence, Calder is an articulate, wise, and trenchant observer of Scotland and its place in the world.

A boring first chapter, offering a potted and unremarkable history of Scotland, made me devalue this book and begin reading it too late in my Edinburgh stay to do it justice. This is a pity both ways: the beginning is sure to lose the author some of the readers who would most benefit from his analyses, while the greater loss is mine, because Calder is a sharp mind who has been in the midst of much recent Scottish literary culture. The rest of the book is a collection of essays from the 1990s that cover Scotland's political and literary faces.

Once we move past that initial history, we find that even on standard historical matters Calder has the capacity to surprise. He doesn't at all seem to mind the fraudulent nature of Macpherson's Ossian works, and he contextualizes the likes of Walter Scott and Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun to endow their much-analyzed actions in a fresh, warmly sympathetic light. He is naturally strong on literature, and his character sketch of Naomi Mitchison is especially memorable. Indeed, the book's very subtitle— Notes from a Scottish Republic —sets an expectation, but Calder is too smart to trap himself in cliche at the same time, he doesn't hesitate to reach into Scots for a particularly appropriate word, giving the book a curiously bilingual feel.

Overall, this is a collection with depth and texture, and it rewards multiple readings.

Calder Case

The Calder case (1973) — named for politician and Nisga’a chief Frank Calder, who brought the case before the courts — reviewed the existence of Aboriginal title (i.e., ownership) claimed over lands historically occupied by the Nisga’a peoples of northwestern British Columbia. While the case was lost, the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling nevertheless recognized for the first time that Aboriginal title has a place in Canadian law. The Calder case (also known as Calder et al. v. Attorney General of British Columbia) is considered the foundation for the Nisga’a Treaty in 2000 — the first modern land claim in British Columbia that gave the Nisga’a people self-government.

British Columbia cabinet minister Frank Calder talking to the media in Ottawa on 8 February 1973.


White settlement in British Columbia throughout the 1800s and early 1900s pushed many Indigenous peoples, including the Nisga’a, off of their traditional territories and onto reserves, without, in most cases, their consent or a treaty offering them goods or money in return for access to their lands. The Nisga’a therefore claimed that their rights to traditional lands — which had been established by the Royal Proclamation in 1763 — had been ignored.

In 1887, Nisga’a chiefs took their demands for rights recognition to the premier of British Columbia in Victoria. Unimpressed by the outcome of the meeting, the Nisga’a formed their first land committee in 1890 to resolve the ongoing dispute. The Nisga’a Land Committee’s first action was in 1913, when it petitioned the Privy Council in England, asking it to negotiate a treaty with the Nisga’a, award them self-government and find a resolution to the dispute over land title. Despite their efforts, the Privy Council never heard their petition.

Born in 1915, shortly after the Nisga’a Land Committee had submitted their demands to the Privy Council,Frank Calder— the son of a Nisga’a hereditary chief — grew up hearing about the disputes over Aboriginal title. However, Indigenous peoples’ right to organize politically about these disputes and to hire legal counsel to resolve land claims was prohibited in 1927 by the Government of Canada. It was therefore illegal for the Nisga’a to pursue their claim. This did not stop them, however. Calder, in particular, became important to the resolution of this issue.

After going to school, first to the Coqualeetza Residential School, and later to go the University of British Columbia (where he became the first Status Indian to go to that university), Calder went into politics. He also became the first Indigenous person elected to the BC legislature in 1949. It was shortly after his election that Calder began working towards reopening his people’s land claim dispute with the province.

In 1955, Calder served as president of the newly created Nisga’a Tribal Council — a modern version of the old Nisga’a Land Committee. It was no longer illegal for Indigenous peoples to organize politically and to pursue land claims, but the process wasn’t any easier. In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s White Paper denied the concept that Indigenous people had inherent rights, including land title rights, and attempted to eliminate any special status for Indians. While the White Paper ultimately failed due to the strong opposition of many Indigenous peoples, the Nisga’a continued their fight in the courts.

Calder asked lawyer Thomas Berger to represent his people in a court case against the provincial government about the land question. In 1967, the Calder case was launched, and went to trial two years later.

Court Case and Ruling

In the Calder case, the Nisga’a Tribal Council asked the Supreme Court of British Columbia to recognize that their title to lands in and around the Nass River Valley had “never been lawfully extinguished.” The case was dismissed at trial. The Nisga’a Tribal Council then took the case to the Court of Appeal of British Columbia, but that court dismissed it as well.

The next course of action was to take their case to the Supreme Court of Canada. On 31 January 1973, the court released its judgement. Six out of seven judges ruled that Aboriginal title existed in Canadian law. However, six of the judges were split evenly on the validity of the Nisga’a claim: three argued that Nisga’a title had been extinguished by land laws made before British Columbia entered Confederation the other three disagreed, declaring that the right was never extinguished (i.e., surrendered) by statute or treaty, which is what the Nisga’a had argued. The seventh judge, Justice Pigeon, tipped the balance against the Nisga’a on a procedural point — that the Nisga’a had failed to obtain permission to sue the Government of British Columbia from the attorney general. Therefore, the Nisga’a lost based on a technicality, but the case served as a catalyst for change, concerning the recognition of Indigenous rights in Canadian law.

Outcomes and Significance

The Calder case had some important implications on Canadian law. The most significant outcome was the Supreme Court’s recognition of Aboriginal title as a legal right based on occupation of traditional territories. The Supreme Court’s ruling was contrary to the 1969 White Paper and earlier rulings by the British Columbia Court.

As a result of the Calder case, the federal government released a policy on comprehensive land claims in August 1973 and started negotiation with the Nisga’a Tribal Council in 1976. In 1989, the two parties signed a framework agreement that outlined the process, topics and scope of the negotiations. The BC government joined the negotiations in 1990 and signed a new framework agreement with the federal government and the Nisga’a Tribal Council. Negotiations continued, and in 1996, the three parties announced they had come to an agreement-in-principle—the second-last step in the modern treaty process. For the next two years, the three parties negotiated a final agreement, which became the Nisga’a Treaty. It was approved and signed on 27 April 1999. However, it wasn’t until after British Columbia and the federal government passed legislation to ratify the treaty in the spring of 2000 that the Nisga’a achieved self-government. The deal put the nation in control of about 2,000 km 2 of their ancestral territory. The Nisga’a Treaty is the first modern-day treaty in BC, and it served as a model for many First Nations seeking self-government and modern treaties in Canada.

Calder also influenced the inclusion of Aboriginal rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Court cases about Aboriginal rights that followed Calder were similarly influenced by the 1973 judgement. In R. v. Van der Peet (1996), the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the “special” and “constitutional status” of the Indigenous peoples in Canada. The 1997 Delgamuukw v. British Columbia case further explored the definition, content and extent of Aboriginal title, first brought up in the Calder case.

Alexander Calder

Sculptor, world renowned for his stabiles and mobiles begun in the 1930 s. Calder’s vision was broad and groundbreaking, and his output was prodigious—ranging from small figurines to large, architecturally related sculptures, from whimsical toys to stage sets.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995 )

Alexander Calder was born in Philadelphia in 1898 , the son of the distinguished academic sculptor A. Stirling Calder. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he turned to art, attending the Art Students League in New York City. There he took classes with George Luks, Guy Pène du Bois, Boardman Robinson, and John Sloan and subsequently he established himself as an illustrator and caricaturist in New York.

While in Paris in 1926 , he took up sculpture. After working on wood pieces, he began to make circus figures composed of twisted wire, wheels, string, and cloth. His miniature circus captured the attention of the avant-garde in Paris, where he met and was influenced by a number of artists.

Impressed by the work of Juan Miró, Jean Arp, and Fernand Léger, he created his first abstract stabiles in 1930 . These works also owe much to the rectilinear designs of Piet Mondrian. From these early works and his interest in movement, Calder developed handcranked, motorized, and then wind-powered constructions that were dubbed ​ “ mobiles” by the French artist Marcel Duchamp. These sculptures, usually painted in bold basic colors, turn, bob, and rotate, in a constantly changing relationship to the space around them.

National Museum of American Art ( CD-ROM ) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996 )

Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection

In eighty-eight striking paintings and sculptures, Crosscurrents captures modernism as it moved from early abstractions by O’Keeffe, to Picasso and Pollock in midcentury, to pop riffs on contemporary culture by Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, and Tom Wesselmann—all illustrating the com

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