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Central Board of Management for Highland Relief

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Central Board of Management for Highland Relief

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The Central Board of Management for Highland Relief was formed in February 1847, based around three existing Relief Committees: that of the Free Church of Scotland, and separate committees in Edinburgh (established December 1846) and Glasgow (established January 1847). Of the earlier committees, the Free Church's Destitution Committee, which existed from November 1846 to February 1847, carried out some notable work. The Highland Relief Board was essentially an independent charitable body, but the government took great interest in its affairs, especially via Sir Charles Trevelyan (1807-1886), who was Assistant Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Edward Pine Coffin (1784-1862), and Sir John McNeill (1795-1883), who was Chairman of the Board of Supervision. The government was, however, more of an enabling body, the administration being left to the Board.

The Central Board of Management had 117 members, including church figures, landowners, provosts of major towns in Scotland and others. The Board's task was to relieve Highland destitution, using funds subscribed voluntarily for that purpose; many thousands of pounds were raised. Funds were received from all over the UK, and abroad. The Central Board had two Sections: Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Sections had Local Committees who distributed meal, but those Committees were replaced when famine continued into 1848 by inspectors and relief officers. This was more bureaucratic, but the intention was that recipients of meal were to provide work in return. Landowners were expected to provide subsistence to those dwelling on their properties, and those who received it were to pay or work for it. Many intended recipients of relief were unhappy about the conditions imposed upon them, however.

The Board's activities ceased in 1850, but famine continued until at least 1855.
[Source: Scottish Archive Network]


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