Alexander Littlejohn's Legacy to Aberdeen University: The Ultimate Sporting Trophy?

Alexander Littlejohn's Legacy to Aberdeen University: The Ultimate Sporting Trophy?

This is a past event

Note: The Littlejohn Album and Trophy will be on display from 4.30 to 5.15pm, prior to the start of the talk.

Alexander Littlejohn (who eventually styled himself ‘of Invercharron’), a Londoner of Scottish origins, donated the Littlejohn Shinty Trophy to the University of Aberdeen for competition between the universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, St Andrews and Edinburgh in 1905. The actual trophy is modelled on the famous Warwick Vase, a fourth-century Etruscan sculptured container which had been found in 1770 in a lake in Pontinello, Italy.

The trophy features in the centre of the cover page of the Littlejohn Album, a truly magnificent illuminated manuscript held by the University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections, which was produced partly as a Trust Deed covering the trophy’s ownership. A facsimile copy of the Album is held by the Gaelic Society Inverness in the local library. The three other ancient Universities also hold facsimile copies and Dr MacLennan recently re-patriated the Glasgow University copy which had gone ‘missing’ some years ago. The Littlejohn Album was executed by the artists of a London company, Messrs Waterlow and Sons of London Wall. The attractive borders were supplied by reverend D. Joass of Golspie, from early Ross-shire monuments at Rosemarkie. Amongst the most valuable of the Littlejohn Album’s contents is the historical exposition of shinty and its Gaelic vocabulary by the famous scholar Alexander MacBain of Inverness.

Hugh Dan MacLennan, a Gaelic-speaker born and brought up in Caol in Lochaber, has had a remarkably successful career in Gaelic and English media as a sports broadcaster, presenter, and journalist, and was involved in the establishment of both BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC Alba. Dr MacLennan has lectured internationally in Australia, Canada, and the USA, as well as at the Royal Geographical Society and to various other historical organisations on various aspects of Highland emigration and sport. He has published numerous research articles on the history of shinty and was a researcher on the BBC series na h-Eilthirich (the Emigrants). He organised an exhibition on Scotland’s sporting trophies at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow in 2014. He has also organised an exhibition on the history of shinty at Hampden. He was previously Secretary of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. In November 1998, Hugh Dan MacLennan graduated with a PhD from the University of Aberdeen and twenty-five years later, in November 2023 (immediately preceding this talk), he will accept an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Aberdeen.

Hugh Dan MacLennan
Hosted by
Elphinstone Institute
The Sir Duncan Rice Library, Lower Ground Floor, Seminar Room