A Glimpse of Peru
Winter Exhibition 2010: A Glimpse of Peru in the 1930s; Keepsakes of a Stromness Family
Arthur Arcus, born in Lerwick, Shetland in 1881 joined the Merchant Navy as a steward at the age of 14. After seeing the world, and working his way up to Chief Steward he decided it was time for a change.
He and a business partner set up a restaurant in New York and ran it for a time. After that he decided to take up the position of manager at the staff restaurant of the International Petroleum Company, Talara, Peru. The restaurant was for the white workers only.
He had married Stromness girl, Sarah Pottinger of Hillside road and in 1930, she went out to join him. They settled and raised a family of two sons. John recounts happy childhood memories of hot weather, and local carnivals.
Arthur Arcus retired in 1946 and returned to Stromness with his family. They traveled home across the Atlantic in a converted troop ship, which is remembered as “very exciting to a young boy” by John Arcus.
Arthur Arcus died in 1952 and his son John W Arcus generously donated his father’s collection to Stromness Museum.
These wonderful examples of local Peruvian artwork, textiles, silverwork and other crafts were carefully put into crates and made the voyage home to Stromness on a converted troop ship.
Oil on canvas portrait of a Peruvian woman: