OBITUARY : Sir Maitland Mackie

Maitland Mackie was the eldest of the three remarkable sons of Dr Maitland Mackie, a farmer in Aberdeenshire. His younger brother was John (later Lord) Mackie, MP for Enfield, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture in the Wilson government and later Chairman of the Forestry Commission. His youngest brother George, Lord Mackie of Benshie, is a Liberal spokesman and for 20 years was chairman of Caithness Glass, and much else.

The Mackie family are tremendous innovators and Maitland was their patriarch. Last year there was a gathering of 165 of the 203 direct descendants of his grandfather at the Mackie home at Westertown. Maitland himself was an innovator in excelsis, in not one but two different spheres - agriculture and education.

He was the first Scottish farmer to make silage and pioneered techniques for its storage. He was the first to develop loose housing for dairy cows and the first man north of the Tay to acquire a combine harvester.

As a governor of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture from 1968 to 1982, he was a driving force in promoting experiments to increase agricultural output in inclement conditions and harsh climates. His lifelong involvement with the Rowett Research Institute helped to produce resources for distinguished research on wool and other products.

From 1965 to 1982 Mackie as chairman of the Aberdeen District Milk Marketing Board had an influence in the development of that board's activities throughout Britain. His interest in the proper marketing of milk may have arisen from his own experience as a teenager of knocking doors in Aberdeen and Huntly in order to get regular customers.

Mackie was also an educational innovator. In 1961 he spent a fortnight on board the ship school Dunera on an educational cruise to Bergen, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Amsterdam when I was director of studies on the British India ship. Late into the night he would discuss ways in which ever more mature 14- and 15-year-old pupils could fill the last year at school and staying on could be made worthwhile. Work experience in the embryo North Sea oil industry on-shore, farm life for urban youngsters, courses in building techniques - all these ideas and more flowed from Mackie's fertile mind and were implemented at the behest of the education committee of which he was chairman.

He was not only an ideas man but a doer. I asked him during a very uncomfortable voyage across the North Sea to address 700 children, many of whom were seasick, on farming. He turned out to be a spellbinder.

His 15 years as chairman of the Aberdeenshire Education Committee were marred but not blemished in the end by a terrible long-running row which the Scottish and the national press simply could not resist. Mackie's farm was supposedly identified as being the source of dirty milk which had been given to schoolchildren in their morning break. This was pretty scurrilous stuff. In the event, after lots of mud had stuck, it became clear that Mackie and his farm were innocent.

Maitland Mackie was born on the family farm at North Ythsie, Tarves, in Aberdeenshire, still in the possession of his family. After Aberdeen Grammar School he graduated BSc in Agriculture at Aberdeen University, where his inspiration was the famous Sir John Boyd Orr, an international inspiration for many of those who were to work in Rome and elsewhere for the Food and Agricultural Organisation. Mackie farmed at Westertown, Rothienorman.

In 1935 he married Isobel Ross, a teacher in the village of Daviot, and was able to celebrate his silver wedding after an outstandingly happy marriage before she died in 1960. In 1963 he embarked on a second outstandingly happy marriage with the Texan Pauline Turner, who died three years ago. In his autobiography, A Lucky Chap (1993), written in conjunction with his nephew, the author and journalist Charlie Allen, he describes movingly what a vital part these two thoroughly nice women played in his life.

He was first elected a member of Aberdeenshire County Council in 1951 and remained until the establishment of Grampian Regional Council in 1975. He was the first chairman of the North East of Scotland Development Authority from 1969 to 1975. I think that the parties which he and Pauline threw for oil industry dignitaries had a great deal to do with the fact that Aberdeen and not Dundee became the capital of the British North Sea oil industry. His public interests were wide-ranging and he was a very influential member, along with Menzies Campbell QC, now MP, of the Committee on the Scottish Licensing Law under the chairmanship of Dr Christopher Clayson which reported in August 1973. I am told that Mackie was chiefly responsible for the recommendation that the seller's criminal responsibility should extend to taking due care to ensure that no sale is made to a person under 18 or that liquor is not consumed by such a person in a bar.

Tam Dalyell

Maitland Mackie, farmer, politician and educationist: born North Ythsie, Aberdeenshire 16 February 1912; CBE 1965; Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire 1975-87; Kt 1982; married 1935 Isobel Ross (died 1960; two sons, four daughters), 1963 Pauline Turner (died 1993); died Westertown, Aberdeenshire 18 June 1996.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Dynamics CRM Developer (C#, .NET, Dynamics CRM 2011/2013)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...

Web Developer (C#, ASP.NET, AJAX, JavaScript, MVC, HTML)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...

C# R&D .NET Developer-Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET,MVC

£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...

C# Developer (Web, HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET, JS, Visual Studios)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor