Dr Sheila Douglas (nee Patrick) was a well-known activist and champion of Scotland's traditional culture. She was a folk club organiser, ballad singer, song maker, writer, and storyteller, and was active in the TMSA (Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland) for many years.
Sheila was born in Yorkshire and the family moved to Renfrew when she was almost five years old. Her mother was of Yorkshire heritage and her father was a marine engineer who was originally from Dalry in Ayrshire.
Sheila studied for a degree at the University of Glasgow in the early 1950s, after which she gained a qualification in teaching. She later studied for a PhD at Stirling University.
After moving to Scone in 1959, Sheila began singing at the Perth Folk club, and eventually ran it for six years. She was influenced by the artists who performed there, including Ewan McColl, the Stewarts of Blair, and Matt McGinn. She also sang at other folk clubs across Scotland.
Over the following years she won singing and song writing competitions, organised concerts and festivals, published the Scone Ceilidh Songbook and founded the Scottish Folk Song Directory. She was heavily involved in the TMSA and had several roles within the organisation, including that of Chairperson for five years.
Sheila wrote songs on a wide variety of subjects such as the war in Vietnam, politicians, parking fines, and the breathalyser. Her book of songs was published under the title ‘Lines Upon the Water’.
There are 55 recordings of Sheila on the website as a contributor, which were recorded by the School of Scottish Studies between 1970 and 1993. There are an additional 100 tracks in which she is in the role of fieldworker for the School.