Thursday, 22 March 2018

1963 Balintore Gamekeeper Terms and Conditions

Forget your free gym membership, and free medical insurance: if you want the ultimate "terms and conditions" of employment, then may I refer you to the 1963 "letter of offer" sent to engage the Balintore Estate gamekeeper. 

The letter speaks for itself, but I can't resist itemising at least a few of the perks: a terrier allowance; a retriever allowance;  an un-roadworthy Landrover; 2/3 of a suit annually; and free electricity as long as it comes from the water turbine plant at Balintore and not the electrical mains for which the gamekeeper would have to pay personally.

There is anecdotal evidence that the castle's turbine was still operating in the 1980's, but it is great to see from the historical record that it was definitely up and running in the 1960's.

The letter was sent on the 18th Feburuary 1963 to Mr. Neil McLean by R.P. Thorburn, the estate factor, on behalf of Lord Lyell (1939-2017) who only died relatively recently. I got hold of the letter via a friend of Balintore, Jerry Singer, via Mr. McLean's son, who apparently would be very happy for it to appear in the blog. Everyone in the chain has my deep gratitude.

letter page 1: Balintore gamekeeper terms and conditions
letter page 2: Balintore gamekeeper terms and conditions

was speaking to the current Balintore gamekeeper only yesterday. I will have to ask if his terms and conditions still have the same charm. In 1963, Mr. McLean, if it is in any doubt, could not resist this charm onslaught and did accept the position.


  1. I don't think those terms are that unusual even in this day. HMRC seems to acknowledge dogs as an essential tool of the job, and estate tweeds are often provided.

    1. I guess game-keeping is one of those time-warp professions. :-) The Balintore Estate has been subsumed into the Kinnordy Estate, and the latter's tweed is a particularly nice one. I would love a suit in Kinnordy tweed myself, but sadly I am not hardy gamekeeper material.

  2. One of my previous jobs involved supervising stalkers. They get a clothing allowance of around £300 a year. They get a dog allowance. They get a vehicle with a winch on it...manual handling is a bit better than it used to be.
    But love the free electricity!

    1. The word on the street, as you confirm, is that gamekeepers and the ilk still get treated well. I guess it's a two-way street, you have to go out in all weathers, but you are rewarded for your loyalty and local knowledge. It's a profession which often seems to go from father to son, for presumably the same reasons.