The Making of MacBrayne


More than a few books have been written about the Scottish coastal shipping firm of David MacBrayne who, in various iterations, have enjoyed a monopoly spanning three centuries of shipping services to the West Highlands of Scotland but, as far as I am aware, this is the first book which forms a corporate history. How David MacBrayne managed to gain a monopoly and considerable Royal Mail subsidies is well worth reading!

However, this is an exceptionally readable book and far from 'dry' as it details the characters amongst the firm's servants, and the populations it served. At 504 pages it is also a heavy book (2.36 kgs). The size means that there are 723 illustrations, of which around 200 or so in colour. Given that MacBraynes operated some of the most beautiful coastal steamers in Britain, including the legendary paddle steamers 'Columba' and 'Iona', and the turbine steamers 'St. Columba' and 'King George V', these pictures are a feast of delights, as is the whole book. The archive pictures from the 19th century especially, also show a way of life long gone.

Not surprisingly hard backed, and highly recommended. Also, despite the high price, definitely worth it.