RD Lobban and MB Lobban, authors

Robert Dalziel Lobban and Margaret Buchanan [Maighread Dhòmhnallach] Lobban and their books

Today (3 Oct 2021) I received notice from Michael Gellatly (Guild Newswatch Project) of the passing of Margaret Buchanan Lobban. The Herald (19 Aug 2021) announcement reads thus:

LOBBAN – MARGARET BUCHANAN (nee MacDONALD). (Edinburgh, formerly of the Isle of Lismore).   Margaret Buchanan Lobban (Mairead) died peacefully at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 11th August 2021.  Beloved mother of Mairead and Seumas, dear sister to Lachlan and an enduring inspiration to her grandchildren, Ailsa and James, their mother Kate, Margaret’s extended family and very many friends.  Church service at Grayfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, on Thursday 26th August at 2.30 pm and graveside service at the Isle of Lismore Parish Church on Friday 27th August at noon.

Sydney Lobban, George Lobban and I have assembled some information about this couple, who are in the George 1778=Elspet Skene branch of the Marnoch Area Lobbans.

Robert Dalziel Lobban (1925–1986) was born in Greenock East, Renfrew to William Lobban and Annie Sinclair.  He married Margaret in 1953 and by 1960 they were living in Edinburgh, where  Robert earned a Ph.D. in 1969 with a dissertation on migration of Highlanders into Lowland Scotland (downloadable from the link in the bibliography below). He was the first to show the importance of the Highland migration in infusing Highland culture into Scottish culture.

On p. 348 he described the gap in knowledge: “…there seems little reason to doubt that the movement of large numbers of people into Greenock and other towns and cities of the Lowlands throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries must have had a considerable impact on Lowland society. Rather surprisingly, however, the whole question of the specific contributions made by the Highlanders and the Highland migrants to the development of the Lowlands and of modern Scotland has been largely ignored by historians and modern commentators. [Some writers]… have discussed the part played by the Irish immigrants in the life and development of Scotland and of Britain in modern times, but no similar analysis of the contributions  made by the Highland migrants has appeared….”

In the Abstract he summarized his conclusions: “The Highland migrants in Greenock and other parts of the Lowlands, it is asserted, had a very considerable impact and influence on the development of the Scottish economy and on the social and cultural life and institutions of the Lowland communities. The Highlanders, too, it seems, were a most important element in the population of the Central Lowlands of Scotland in modern times. By their presence in large numbers in the Lowlands they facilitated the transference into the national consciousness of the traditions and myths of their Highland background, thereby helping to preserve a sense of identity among modern Scots and to prevent their assimilation into other cultures.”

Subsequent writers such as MacKenzie (1985, p. 5) have focused instead on his conclusion that, unlike the Irish, who maintained a separate identity, the Highlanders became thoroughly assimilated into the Lowland culture. There’s a sociology debate there that I had better not delve into further!

He wrote at least eleven short textbooks on a variety of historical subjects; the list, as far as I can find it on the web, is reproduced below.

R.D. Lobban. 1976. Doctors (Past-to-Present series).
R.D. Lobban. 1973. Farming (Past-to-Present series).

Margaret Buchanan MacDonald (1930–2021) was born in Irvine, Ayrshire but at age 2 the family moved to her mother’s  native island, Lismore, Firth of Lorn, near Port Appin on the mainland. She collected  Gaelic tunes and verse and  published a book called  Lachann Dubh a’ Chrògain (Lachlan Livingstone and his Grandsons): Bards of Mull and Lismore (New Iona Press,  2004).  The description at that link says, “Margaret Lobban’s fascinating book on the Bards of Mull and Lismore is not just a work of painstaking scholarship but a complete labour of love.  The bards are her great grandfather Lachlan Livingstone, known as Lachann Dubh, (Black Lachie), her two uncles John and Lachlan MacDonald, and her father James MacDonald. … Printed in Gaelic and English with words and music at the back, this is a book for everyone interested in the everyday history, culture and beauty of the area. It will fill a gap in the Gaelic archive and provide material for Gaelic singers everywhere while serving as an entrée to the songs for newcomers.   The accompanying CD has recordings of many of the songs sung by Margaret, her brother Lachlan and others.”  Mairead’s great-grandfather was born in Croggan, Isle of Mull in 1819 and died there in 1901. His obituary in the Oban Times noted that “He possessed the true Bardic repartee which he could could easily clothe in incisive language” after years at sea and as Piper to the Maclaines of Lochbuie, whom he served all his life as the last of the official bards. The book is out of print, but the publisher, E. Mairi MacArthur, informed me that a few copies may be available from the Gaelic Books Council in Glasgow.

M.B. Lobban. 2004. Bards of Mull and Lismore.

Books by Robert Dalziel Lobban

1968. Nelson’s Navy and the French Wars. Hardcover, 64 pages, published by University of London Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-340-07337-7, ISBN: 0-340-07337-3

1968 . The Elizabethans. Hardcover, 64 pages, published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-0-340-07148-9, ISBN: 0-340-07148-6

1969. Trade Unions: A Short History (Sources of History). paperback, 64 pages, published 1969 by Macmillan. ISBN-13: 978-0-333-04409-4, ISBN: 0-333-04409-6

1969. Migration of Highlanders into Lowland Scotland ca 1750-1890: with particular reference to Greenock. University of Edinburgh. [This was his Ph.D. Dissertation.]

1970. The Clansmen. Hardcover, 64 pages, published 1970 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-0-340-11992-1, ISBN: 0-340-11992-6

1971. People of Israel. (Spotlight on history) Hardcover, 64 Pages, published by Hodder Arnold. ISBN-13: 978-0-340-11966-2, ISBN: 0-340-11966-7

1973.  Farming. (Past-into-Present Series) Hardcover, 96 pages, published by Batsford Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-0-7134-1784-5, ISBN: 0-7134-1784-6

1975.  Employment. (Past-into-Present Series) Paperback, 96 pages, published by Batsford
ISBN-13: 978-0-7134-2951-0, ISBN: 0-7134-2951-8

1976. Scotland (Past-into-Present Series). Hardcover, 76 pages, published by Harpercollins Distribution Services. ISBN-13: 978-0-7134-2834-6, ISBN: 0-7134-2834-1

1976. Doctors. (Past-into-Present Series). Hardcover, 96 pages, published 1976 by B.T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-0-7134-3135-3, ISBN: 0-7134-3135-0

1976. The Police. (Past-into-Present Series) Paperback, 96 pages, published by Batsford
ISBN-13: 978-0-7134-3194-0, ISBN: 0-7134-3194-6

1980. Edinburgh and the Medical Revolution (Cambridge Introduction to World History Series). Paperback, 48 pages, published by Cambridge University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-521-22028-6, ISBN: 0-521-22028-9


Page by Chris S. Lobban, Sydney Lobban and Gordon Lobban, published 2 Oct. 2021, updated 9 Nov.