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FAMILY TRAGEDY


‘Kessock and the Black Isle’ by J.H.L Kennedy (1904) was in the personal collection of Andrew Paterson.


ANDREW PATERSON was two years old when his father drowned in the Moray Firth. Captain James Paterson was an experienced seaman and a powerful swimmer, who had been invited aboard the Bella to participate in the first of what was to be a series of regattas in the district. The Bella was a craft of 20ft keel, recently built by ships carpenter John Bremner, the principal originator of the regatta.


It had been a gusty afternoon and a sudden squall across the water struck with great violence, casting the boat over on her beam ends. She rapidly filled and went down head foremost. Only two minutes elapsed from the time she was struck till she had disappeared and Paterson was taken down with her. Bremner and the other crewman, George Mackenzie, got hold of an oar each and one of the racing craft bore down rapidly on the two men. Still a mile away, Bremner sunk before he could be rescued. Mackenzie was saved.


Five months later Paterson’s wife gave birth to their daughter, who was called Jamesina and although the Paterson’s had come from a long line of seamen, none of James Paterson’s sons joined the merchant marine.


Advert from the 1914 edition of The Book of Inverness.


moved to 15 Academy Street with a final move to 19 Academy Street in 1905, where it would remain until1980. Paterson had a fine conception of the art of


photography, keeping himself up to date with its scientific progress; the specimens he produced won much praise at exhibitions not only in the Highlands and the south but also abroad, where he was awarded many distinctions. He built up a remarkably fine collection of photographic studies of people distinguished in literature, politics, theatre, science and industry. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal


Photographic Society in London, and details of his entries can be found in the catalogue records of the annual exhibitions of the Society (1870-1915). In 1901 his entry was My Wife. The following year the


entry was of a partially-clad woman, Portrait of a Young Lady, and in the General Professional Photography section he showed Mrs P. In 1903 his entry was Head of a Man. Paterson did not enter an exhibit with the Society again until 1906. His entry was A Portrait (which had a price tag of 42/-). Another six years passed before his 1912 entry, A Highland Roadway. By 1912, Paterson was also experimenting with


moving film, producing one of the earliest cinematic films in Scotland. Mairi: The Romance of a Highland Maiden was a silent black and white film, which ran just over 17 minutes. It was first shown to the public in the Central Hall Picture House, Academy Street, Inverness, on 29th June 1913.


Paterson contributed scenic photographs to many Inverness tourism booklets like these.


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ANDREW CHALMERS


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