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Iain Smith is the author of the new book on The Nicolson Institute.

A new book marking 150 years since The Nicolson Institute opened its doors got its launch at the Stornoway school last night (Wednesday November 29).

The Nicolson Institute - The History of an Island School by Iain Smith with Joan Forrest tells the story of how the school has changed education in Lewis and the Western Isles since Alexander Nicolson and his four brothers set aside money towards its founding.

Almost 200 photographs from the school's history are included in the book, which also draws on letters, school magazines, meeting records, accounts from staff, and a manuscript by Angus Nicolson for a work noting the school's centenary which was never published.

The Nicolson Institute - The History of an Island School is on sale now from Acair Books.

Speaking at the launch, the authors thanked those who had helped with the completion of the book and spoke about the pivotal role of WJ Gibson, rector from 1894 to 1925. Letters from former students noted Mr Gibson as the man who set strict education standards in The Nicolson Institute, as well as his connection to those students fighting in World War I or emigrating aboard the Metagama. 

Also addressing the launch were Dr Frances Murray and Tom Clarke.

Ms Murray, a former rector, noted how the school had touched her own life across five different stages, and how she still said 'we' when discussing it.

She was followed by retired long-serving teacher Mr Clarke, who amused old Nicolsonians with a series of anecdotes, including tales of what happened in the staff rooms, how teaching on Francis Street meant you did less work, and what was really written on notes pupils were asked to take to the office.

Current student Innes Begg performed at both the start and end of the launch.

The launch event was bookended by two two piping performances by current Nicolson student Innes Begg. 

With the book now officially on sale, a second launch event will be held tonight (Thursday November 30) at Clan Macquarrie in Borve, starting at 7.30pm.

This will be followed by an event at Partick Burgh Halls on Monday December 4, also starting at 7.30pm.

The Nicolson Institute - The History of an Island School is available from Acair books for £20. Royalties from the book will go back to the school.