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.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
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

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?