Clestrain mantel returns to its hearth!

30 April 2023

Frankie and Pearl Sinclair came to the Hall of Clestrain on one of our open days. They said they had a fireplace in their house in Stromness, which came from The Hall. They offered that if we got a replacement mantle for them, they’d give their Clestrain one to us.

I’m not certain that John Rae warmed his palms by a blaze beneath this actual piece of carpentry. It looks a little later than his era, however it is a marker in the very chequered history of John Rae’s family home.

Here is Donnie Grieve, a great stalwart of The Men’s Shed. He’s posing, too, with Paul Graves, showing the rescued fire surround.

Here we have Frankie and Pearl Sinclair, proudly possessing their beautifully crafted replacement. This was the result of dedicated and patient work of George Cruikshank, who persevered through the traumas and trials of COVID 19. His sincere devotion to this project has seen it through over a tedious period of the COVID years.

For The John Rae Society, this is a wonderful achievement within our community. Frankie and Pearl are delighted, so too is The Men’s Shed, having such a positive outcome. This fireplace will be an important exhibit and relic of Orkney’s past at Clestrain.

The fire surround arrived at John Rae’s home
If anyone else has a story to tell, anecdote or item connected to John Rae, do please let us know.

Shortly there will be much more news from JRS. Do keep your eyes on the headlines. If you would like to join our vibrant society, or even become a Trustee, do please get in touch.”
– President of The John Rae Society, Andrew Appleby