Ref NoMS164
TitleJohn McEwen
HistoryJohn McEwen was born in Keltneyburn, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire in 1887. His father was a shepherd and forester on the Garth Castle Estate. McEwen left school at fourteen and after training in forestry on the Earl of Seafield's Cullen Estate, worked at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and the Parks Department in Glasgow. In 1920 he joined the Forestry Commission which was establishing its first forests in north east Scotland and in 1922 he organised the Forestry Commission's Workers Trade Union, now a part of the TGWU. McEwen served as senior inspector at the Forestry Department in Eire before returning to the Home Grown Timber Department of the Board of Trade in 1941. From 1945 until his retirement in 1970 he was self-employed in forestry consultancy and timber valuation with most of his work in Perthshire. In 1961 he became only the second ever working forester to be President of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society which he had joined in 1909. His services to forestry were recognised in 1963 by the award of an OBE and in 1980 he was made a fellow of The Royal Scottish Geographical Society. McEwen's 'Who Owns Scotland?', published in 1977, was the first attempt in over a hundred years to list large estates and their owners. He had produced, along with the local Fabian Society, a pamphlet in the early 1970s, 'The Acreocracy of Perthshire', which detailed the estates in Perthshire. In the late 1980s John McEwen recorded a series of taped recollections of his life with Dr Doris Hatvany, and these formed the basis for a book, 'A Life In Forestry' which was published in 1998. He spent a large part of his life in Perthshire and lived latterly in Blairgowrie. He died in 1992 just two days before his 105th birthday. Published proceedings of the John McEwen Memorial Lectures also form part of the collection. These were begun in September 1993 when the first John McEwen Memorial Lecture on Land Tenure in Scotland was held in Aberfeldy. They were intended as a tribute to McEwen's life and work and developed into a series of annual lectures on land issues.
DescriptionDiaries, 1949-1986; Memorial lectures, 1993-1999; Ordnance Survey maps, 1 inch to 1 mile, 1959 [annotated by John McEwen with land ownership details]; taped recollections [18 cassettes] of McEwen's life, c1988; Papers collected by McEwen including published items, cuttings and correspondence relating to various subjects such as the Fabian Society, Society of Foresters of Great Britain, Society of Consultant Foresters, Scottish Woodland Owners Association, Co-operative Forestry Society (Scotland) Ltd, and The Forestry Commission, 1894-c 1992
Access statusOpen
Access conditionsSome audio material requiring cassette player to access
CopyingReproduction is available subject to preservation requirements, copyright and data protection restrictions. Charges are made for this service. Applications should be made to Archive staff.

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NA14783McEwen; John (1887-1992); forester1887-1992
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