Christopher Sandison of Eshaness (1781-1870) Diarist in an age of Social Change
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Christopher Sandison (1781-1870) lived in the Shetland community of Eshaness. During the last fifty years of his life he lived at Tangwick and his surviving diary covers 37½ years of that time. This diary, rich in material though it is, forms the source material rather than the substance of this book. Nevertheless, it is a unique day-to-day account of the life of a native Shetlander including as it does details of the weather, of daily events, family life and all that touched Christopher most closely. The years at Tangwick were by far the most creative ones for this remarkable man. Not only did he teach generations of children and young people at his school, but he had a wide variety of other roles in the community including Kirk Elder, Clerk to the Kirk Session, factor to the Cheyne Brothers and to Gifford of Busta, Postmaster, Registrar or Birth and Deaths, and Clerk to the Parochial Board, the Heritors and the Fishermen’s Fund. Ronald Sandison spent his early childhood in Shetland, but the family then moved to London and visits thereafter confined to summer holidays. In 1940 he qualified in medicine at King’s College Hospital, thereafter spending the war years in the Royal Air Force. After the war he trained in psychiatry and psychotherapy, in a number of settings. This included working in Shetland and Aberdeen between 1975 and 1982. This part-time work opened the way for a full-time psychiatrist to be appointed in Shetland. For the next ten years he worked in London, and now lives in Herefordshire where he has devoted his time to writing and some medical work. He has published a large number of articles and papers in medical journals and books. Among recent contributions to the medical literature are the Presence of God in the Group (1993); Working with Schizophrenics (1994), and Consciousness in the 20th Century (1995).