The Canadian Pacific liner, SS 'Metagama', has a particular place – even today – in the memory of the people of the Isle of Lewis. On Saturday 21st April 1923 it carried away 260 of its young people sailing to a new life in Canada. On that day Stornoway was crowded with friends, family and neighbours from all over the islands to say goodbye to their loved ones. Journalists and photographers from the national press covered the event. The young emigrants marched in a farewell procession through the town with the pipe band at their head. Psalms were sung on the pier as the SS 'Metagama' departed. In 1923 and 1924 over 1,000 young islanders would depart on emigrant ships seeking better opportunities elsewhere.
The artist, Oswald F. Pennington also enjoyed a distinguished career at sea in naval service during the two world wars and as an officer with the Canadian Pacific line, including time on the SS 'Metagama' itself in 1921. This painting shows the boat leaving Liverpool that year on its normal North Atlantic duties two years before it was chartered as an emigrant ship.
Where to see this painting?
Museum nan Eilean
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