We are pleased to announce the winner of the WHS Leah Leneman Essay Prize for 2016 is Theresa Mackay (pictured below), who recently completed an MLitt in Highlands and Islands History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, supervised by Dr Elizabeth Ritchie. The competition again saw strong competition and we would like to thank the applicants for providing an interesting range of essays for the judges to consider.
Theresa won with an accomplished essay entitled: ‘Women at work: Innkeeping in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 1790-1840’.
The judges write: This is a very finished piece of work which was professionally presented and clearly written. It draws on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including private correspondence, travel memoirs, guidebooks, newspaper advertisements and even archaeological excavations. It is well illustrated with maps, paintings and photographs and provides some good quotations from the innkeepers’ guests, which helps us to ‘get inside’ this potentially difficult topic. As the author points out, less is known about the rural world, and this sits well with work on urban women and to some extent may inspire further work in the area. The case is well made for the importance of female innkeepers as entrepreneurs who laid the foundations for the tourism industry in the Highlands and Islands after 1840. On balance, this is an entertaining and instructive essay, and fully merits the award of the Essay Prize.
We would like to congratulate Theresa for her interesting and thought-provoking work, and hope to see her essay published in due course.
We are delighted that Theresa’s research has already recently featured on the BBC news website – ‘The ‘tough, entrepreneurial women’ who ran Highland inns‘.
In the Scotsman:
and on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour (at around 34:45 minutes in):
Great coverage for Theresa’s work and for Women’s History Scotland!
WHS members might like to know that several previous Leah Leneman prize essays have been published in the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies.
The next competition will be in 2018, with a deadline in December.