ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Craig Dunain

On my way back from visiting Joanne I passed through Inverness and thought it only natural to visit Craig Dunain, the psychiatric hospital where Angus MacPhee has passed 50 years, and where he had made his woven garments. I knew, as Esther and Helen had visited just over  a year ago (see the blog for October 2010), that the place was in a state of development but I still wasn't quite prepared for what I found. 

The gardens were fenced off - all part of the hard hat zone - so I couldn't really see much of the place where Angus had worked. But incredible to think how short a time has passed since this was the main mental hospital for the whole of the Highland Region. Now it's well on the way to being swanky housing - apartments and penthouses for the successful people of Inverness. There's already a smart reception unit for prospective purchasers. 

Yet, in 1961 there were 1,051 people in Craig Dunain Hospital, almost 0.4% of the Highland population. Angus entered Craig Dunain on the 31st December 1946, and left there early in 1996. This statistic and much more about Angus MacPhee and the circumstances that surround his life are to be found in Roger Hutchinson's new book - The Silent Weaver, now published and in your local bookshop (or in Amazon. of course). Much to be recommended at £8.99 and published by Birlinn. 

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