The Japan Society of Scotland presents a talk on Colin McVean:  Scots engineer who helped modernise Japan – recording now available

Published on May 20, 2023

Not only was Colin Alexander McVean one of the Scots who contributed to the modernisation of Japan in the 19th century, he knew and respected Henry Scharbau, and invited Scharbau to come to Japan and join his team of foreign experts.  Henry Scharbau accepted, and eventually returned from his travels with a set of four illustrated travel diaries — The Skaill House Journals — which present a very human side to the surveying expeditions of the time, supplementing the official records which tend to be more matter of fact and dry.

Colin Houston, McVean’s great-grandson, joined art expert Joe Earle to tell the first chapter of The Skaill House Journals story at the Pier Arts Centre in October 2021.  Here he tells another side of the story of his family’s time in Japan.  Part of that is how his great-grandmother entertained the wives of many high-profile Japanese officials, and how they shared tips on many aspects of being a good wife with each other! 

WHEN:          7pm Wednesday  –  7th June 2023

WHERE:        University of Edinburgh, 50 George Square, Room:  Project Room 1.06 and online (Zoom)

Recording now available online here.