The Falconer Museum’s collection of Hugh Falconer’s letters are mostly concerned with aspects of his scientific research and thought. But a number of the most remarkable letters in the collection concern Falconer’s time in India (beginning in 1829) when he writes with vivid frankness revealing “…the pressures and strains of remote postings under an insensitive bureaucracy.”
The letters were most likely donated to the Museum by Falconer’s niece, Lady Grace Prestwich. It was Lady Prestwich who organized the collection and prepared typescripts of some of the letters, possibly in preparation for a biography of Falconer which remained incomplete at the time of her death.

Hugh Falconer Letters on display in the Falconer Room

A disclaimer: the Victorian period was a time of exploration, discovery and the inevitable collision of Western values with ancient cultures. Hugh Falconer’s letters are an accurate reflection of the man and the times he lived in. Many passages may not be considered as “politically correct” as similar letters from our own era might be, however their value as historical records and a window into a past era speaks for itself. The views expressed in Hugh Falconer’s letters are strictly his own and do not reflect the views of the Moray Council Museums Service and the Friends of the Falconer Museum.
PDFs of the letters can be viewed by clicking on the following links:-

Many of Falconer’s letters in the collection are written on nearly transparent “flimsy” paper. In the style of the era, often letter and envelope were all on one sheet. After more than 150 years the ink has worked its way through both sides of the thin paper.

An Example of Hugh Falconers Handwriting Original letter 1843 – example

Letter from H. Falconer to his father, written from his camp “…near Muzaffarabad between Cashmeer and the Indus. Sept. 17, 1837”

Falconer 316_Sept _17_1837_p1and2

Falconer 316_Sept _17_1837_p3

Falconer 316_Sept _17_1837_p4example

Letter from H. Falconer to his father and mother,“…Cashmeer, Feb. 15th, 1838”

Falconer 317_Feb _15_1838_p1

Falconer 317_Feb _15_1838_p2

Letters from H. Falconer to J. Prestwich

Falconer 318_May _9_1858_p1&2

Falconer 320_Oct_5_1858