1 February 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Monty Mackenzie died at Eastbourne1

David practically living at Bowhill.2 The boy George3 seriously ill with pneumonia: cardiac trouble + Otitis.4 The Duchess also ill.5 Dav. has never once suggested that I should go. This I feel very much but say nothing. Today it was showery + very wet up Yarrow. Motored in town (14), Faldonside (Maycock6 + Mrs Dees7) and then to Broadmeadows (Inches8 servant9), Mount Benger Cottages + Henderland where I found James Mitchell rather better + able to be out.10 Shook hands with Alex Scott (Ladhope) whom I haven’t seen for years.11 He was down at the funeral of Mrs Scott of Deloraine’s son.12 Had to go down, after getting home, to Green Square in pouring rain.13

1 Montague Allan Ord ‘Monty’ Mackenzie (1854-1923), merchant, husband of Frances Gordon Ord ‘Fanny’ Mackenzie née Rennie (1864-1948), the daughter of the Reverend James Rennie and Catherine Stewart ‘Kate’ Rennie née Muir (1829-1915), Dr Muir’s sister.

2 David Charteris ‘Dav.’ Graham (1889-1963), M.B., Ch.B., medical practitioner and Dr Muir’s business partner.

3 David was attending Lord George Francis John Montagu Douglas Scott (1911-1999), youngest child of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch (see also diary entry for 28 January 2023).

4 Otitis Media is inflammation or infection located in the middle ear.

5 Lady Margaret Alice ‘Molly’ Montagu Douglas Scott née Bridgeman (1872-1954), Duchess of Buccleuch, Lord George’s mother.

6 Assume George James Maycock (1877-1957), butler, later poultry farmer, born 1877, Ryton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire, sometime a domestic butler at Yair and later a poultry farmer, died at Crieff Cottage Hospital, Perthshire.

7 Edith Mary Boileau Dees née Henderson (1872-1948), daughter of the Reverend Canon Dr. James Henderson and Jane Lowrey, born 7 April 1872, the Vicarage, Ancroft, Northumberland, died 8 March 1948, She had married, 1898, Robert Irwin Dees, also originally from Northumberland, and they later moved to Faldonside, Galashiels.

8 John William Gibson Inch (1866-1939), farmer, was at Broadmeadows Farm in the 1921 Census at which time his servant was Barbara Brown aged 17 (see footnote 9). He was born at Dunbar, East Lothian and died at Pathhead, Midlothian.

9 Barbara Inglis Brown (1904-1993), born Stobo, Peeblesshire and died at Dalkeith, Midlothian.

10 Henderland, Megget, north of St Mary’s Loch, grid reference NGR NT232,233, where Dr Muir had been attending the Mitchell family since late 1921.

11 There is an Alexander Scott (about 1845-), grocer, at High Buckholmside, Galashiels in the 1921 Valuation Roll and at Ladhope in the 1921 Census but the connection with the Scotts of Deloraine, if there is one, is not obvious.

12 The funeral was presumably that of John Scott (1872-1923), retired farmer, who died at ‘Lorraine’, Scott’s Place, Selkirk. Born 1 May 1872 at West Deloraine, Kirkhope, he was the son of John Scott, farmer, and Jane Scott née Thomson, married 29 June 1871 at Yarrow. Jane Scott had taken on the farm when her husband died in 1900 and is recorded as “farmer” at Deloraine Farm in the 1901 Census.

13 Dr Muir may have been visiting in connection with a baby that had been born unexpectedly at 8 Green Square, Selkirk on 22 January 1923.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

31 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Dull + mild but more wind + some rain in afternoon. After making half a dozen calls I cycled to Holydean Moor with hope of seeing something of the hounds which met at Kippilaw1 + I had a splendid view. I first saw them coming over between Prieston + Eastfield : then they made as if for Bowden Moor but turned round by Holydean + back across the St Boswells road to Kippilaw : then by Eastfield + Prieston to Houdshall : back again by Prieston + then towards Clarilaw. I left my bike at the [hunting ?] gate 4 miles from here + the hounds passed close by me. Jack2 was out + Sam Steel3 + a big field. Douglas Paton4 recognised me + shook hands. Mrs Kennedy5 was here at lunch + Kennedy6 looked in. I was at a meeting of the War Memorial Comttee to hand over the memorial to the Town Council.7

1 Kippilaw, NT548,286 (Kippilaw Mains is just to the north), Prieston, NT545,305, Eastfield, NT540,289 Holydean, NT537,302, Houdshall, NT516,279, and Clarilaw, NT553,275.

2 John ‘Jack’ Roberts junior (1876-1966), mill owner and Provost of Selkirk, and Dr Muir’s son-in-law.

3 Samuel ‘Sam’ Strang Steel (1882-1961), 1st Baronet, M.P., J.P., T.D., Lord Lieutenant of Selkirk 1948-1958.

4 Perhaps Edwin Douglas Paton (1866-1931), farmer, of Braehead, St Boswells. Born Tillycoultry, Clackmannanshire he was staying at Ashkirk, Selkirkshire in the 1901 Census.

5 Mary Balfour Kennedy née Alison (1889-1978).

6 William Nicol Watson Kennedy (1888-1961), O.B.E., M.D., D.P.E., medical officer of health and school medical officer for Selkirkshire circa 1921 but by June 1921 recorded in a similar role in Croydon, Surrey (1921 Census taken 19 June 1921).

7 Selkirk War Memorial, corner of Ettrick Terrace and The Valley,
Selkirk appears to have had a more than usually complicated, even messy, inception. On 15 February 1919 it was resolved that the Town + County councils should appoint a committee. On 4 April 1919 Dr Muir noted that he had attended a meeting of War Memorial Committee in Town Hall at which 3 sub committees were formed and on 9 September 1921 he noted that there had been meetings of the Special Committee of which he had no notice. After various comings and goings it was finally unveiled on 3 December 1921 by Robert Munro (1868-1955), 1st Baron Alness, GBE, PC, QC, DL, Scottish lawyer, judge and Liberal politician, Secretary for Scotland 1916-1922 after which Dr Muir noted that he “was disappointed that Munro had no local allusion in his speech“ and that “The Duke + other nobs were there”.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

30 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Still remarkably mild but there was a good deal of agreeable rain. Helen1 pulled in the garden, Yellow jessamine, winter aconite, hepatica, snow drops and primula.2 Mrs Mack3 has a slight touch of flu. Saw her twice. Gave Chlor[oform] at the Home for a boy with osteo myelitis of his femur.4 Saw about a dozen town cases. One a Mrs Nicholson, Ettrick Terrace, very mad.5 Good many accounts being paid.

1 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper.

2 Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis, also Liverwort, Kidneywort or Pennywort), Snow Drops (Galanthus) and Primula.

3 Agnes Mackintosh née Watson, formerly Harper (1859-1946), of Elm Park, Selkirk.

4 Osteomyelitis is a bone infection.

5 Mrs Nicholson probably refers to Isabella Nicholson née Smith (1886-1966), married 1812 at Galashiels and living at Ettrick Terrace, 1921 Census.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

29 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Winter aconite1 in full bloom and snow drops out round the Rowan Tree

Delicious day with some showers but quite fresh. Very mild dull calm. Began to drizzle after midday + continued till evening. Did a list of 11 walking + motored cycled to Whitmuir.2 Got the first of the drizzle coming back. Mrs Neil all right. Paid accounts in afternoon. Before D.C.A.3 as Notary I filled an affidavit in connection with Napier’s Sequestration.4 Romanes + Munro5 intimate an early dividend. Had to go to Nether Whitlaw6 for Dav.7 at 5.45. He is kept a lot at Bowhill with the illness of the Duke’s boy.8

1 Eranthis hyemalis is Winter Aconite, also commonly known as Winter Hellebore.

2 Dr Muir had been attending Christina Neil née Scott of Whitmuir who had given birth to a daughter on 16 January 1923.

3 David Carnegie Alexander, ‘Carnegie Alexander’ or ‘D.C.A.’ (1856-1928), solicitor. The son of David Carnegie Alexander (about 1820-1881), solicitor, and Margaret Scott Alexander née Anderson, he married 1899, Edinburgh, Jane Florence Turnbull [1899, 685/2 181, St Andrew (Edinburgh)], and died 30 Jan 1928, aged 71, at Heatherliehill, Selkirk, usual residence Thirladean, Selkirk.

4 The Editor cannot find a reference to a Sequestration involving Napier in 1922 or 1923.

5 The partnership of Messrs Charles S Romanes, C.A. and Charles J Munro, C.A. had been formed in 1884. Sometime of 46 Hanover Street and 50 Frederick Street, Edinburgh the firm acquired a reputation for insolvency work [source: Walker, S 2018, ‘War and organizational disruption in professional service firms’, Journal of Professions and Organization, vol. 5, joy008, pp. 206-229. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpo/joy008%5D.

6 Nether Whitlaw, Lindean area, Galashiels, grid reference NGR NT513,296, where John Millar was tenant occupier of the farm and house, 1923 Valuation Roll VR011700009-/422, Selkirk County, page 422 of 605.

7 David Charteris ‘Dav.’ Graham (1889-1963), M.B., Ch.B., medical practitioner and Dr Muir’s business partner.

8 David was attending Lord George Francis John Montagu Douglas Scott (1911-1999), youngest child of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch (see also diary entry for 1 February 2023).

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

28 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Same dull fresh windy weather but wind not so strong and N.W. Saw a few town cases walking + went to forenoon service. First time at church this year. Went also in evening. Rev. G. Lawson preaching.1 I have great difficulty in hearing. Felt very “rasped” by Mellalieu’s voluntaries.2 Helen3 + I supped at Wellwood.4 Jock improving5.

1 The Reverend George Lawson (1859-1937), M.A., Church of Scotland minister, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire, at Selkirk from about 1902 to about 1930.

2 William Norman Mellalieu (1887-1952), music teacher and organist at Selkirk.

3 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper.

4 Wellwood, Ettrick Terrace, Selkirk, home of Dr Muir’s second daughter Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir and her family.

5 John ‘Jock’ Roberts (1904-1950), one of Dr Muir’s grandsons.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

27 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A dull sunless day with strong westerly wind : quite dry. The roads are absolutely dried like March + I saw a car going up to Smedheugh1 raising a cloud of dust. I cycled to Pinegrove + Curror Street, Forest Road + went up by the Loan to Whitmuir.2 From there I went by the drove road to Greenhill height3 to look out for the hounds which met at Riddell4 but saw no sign. Came down to Hartwoodburn + home by Mill Street.5 Was not out after returning at 1.40. Lot of people in at night.6

1 Smedheugh, Selkirk, opposite Gala Rid, grid reference NGR NT490,279.

2 Dr Muir appears to have run along Ettrick Terrace to Pinegrove, descended Curror Street and returned via Forest Road from where he would have crossed Market Place to run up Kirk Wynd, South Port and the Loan, emerging opposite Ladylands.

3 The Drove Road ran south out of Whitmuir (emerging from the end of the road at NT492,266) and then south east between Ladywood Edge and Greenhill Heights (area north of Greenhill, now Dryden Greenhill, NT482,248) before turning more or less due west at which point it apparently becomes lost in the area of Greendemains (Greendemmings on the six inch Ordnance Survey) and Haremoss, not far from the old Selkirk / Ashkirk toll bar, approximately NT467,248. The route may be nicely plotted on Ordnance Survey six inch Roxburghshire Sheet XIII (with parts of Selkirkshire XI), published 1863.

4 The Riddell estate is due east of where Dr Muir had stopped.

5 Dr Muir has cut south of Selkirk on his return, through Hartwoodburn, NT470,267, and up Mill Street to the Green into Market Place (probably the easiest gradient back into the town centre for elderly cyclists as the Editor knows from experience).

6 Dr Muir has had a lot of people in for the medical practice’s consultation hour in the evening. In his 30 October 1922 diary Dr Muir noted “People in at night from 6 till 7.30.”

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

26 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Still dry + not quite so windy. Lovely sunrise. Roads very good. Between here + Henderland1 the only muddy bit was the stretch between the hedges past ‘Manitoba’.2 Had another letter from Miss Barclay with a typewritten copy of a letter she has sent to the University Court.3 She must really be cracked. Motored to Curror Street, Viewfield (Peter), Black Andrew Cottage, Henderland, Mount Benger, Ettrickhaugh Road + Mill Street + after lunch to Hospital, Dunsdale, Hartwoodburn + Whitmuir.4 Jack5 looked in in the evening.

1 Henderland, Megget, north of St Mary’s Loch, grid reference NGR NT232,233, where Dr Muir had been attending the Mitchell family since late 1921.

2 In his diary entry for 15 March 1919 Dr Muir referred to Sandy Coltherd’s house at Harehead as Manitoba. It is otherwise unidentified but must surely refer to a property on the heavily wooded stretch of road on the east bank of the Yarrow Water opposite the Bowhill estate.

3 Miss Barclay is unidentified and the Editor does not recall a similar reference previously.

4 Dr Muir has done an extensive series of visits far west into Selkirkshire and then a shorter series ending up to the east of the town.

5 John ‘Jack’ Roberts junior (1876-1966), mill owner and Provost of Selkirk, and Dr Muir’s son-in-law.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

25 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Very strong W.N.W. gale but quite dry + no frost. Very clear. I only saw one town case viz. old John Hamilton, Backrow1 who has been at the Infirmary + operated on successfully for cataract but took double pneumonia + nearly croaked. Cycled to Whitmuir, found the work against the wind coming back very hard.2 Pollok called for a crack.3 He doesn’t love Crichton!4 Went to “Burns nicht” at the Episcopal Hall. Tonge5 asked me to take the place of Canon Perry6 We had Haggis + Lemonade! I recited “Death + Dr Hornbook”.7 There was some good singing.

1 John Hamilton (about 1849-1927), retired grocer (1921 Census states “gardener, retired”), widower of Mary Scott.

2 Presumably to attend Christina Neil née Scott of Whitmuir who had given birth to a daughter on 16 January 1923.

3 John Pollok (1858-1938), Town Clerk and Procurator Fiscal, Selkirk.

4 Presumably Baillie William Crichton (about 1854-1934), printer, publisher and at this time Provost of Selkirk [death, 1934 778 / 65 Selkirk].

5 Possibly the Very Reverend George Preston Tonge (1877-1942), at this time Assistant Supervisor to the Mission for Seamen.

6 Bishop the Reverend Canon William Perry (1869-1948), Professor and Principal of the Episcopal Theological College, Coates Hall, Edinburgh.

7 Death and Dr Hornbook, A Story, 1785 by Robert Burns which finishes “But just as he began to tell, | The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell | Some wee short hour ayont the twal’, | Which rais’d us baith: | I took the way that pleas’d mysel’, | And sae did Death.” See also Purdie, David, 2014, Dr Hornbook – And Death [online] The Bottle Imp, Issue 15, Medicine and Scottish Literature. Available from: https://www.thebottleimp.org.uk/2014/06/dr-hornbook-and-death/ [Accessed 24 January 2023].

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

24 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

No frost but the same snell1 W. wind + a fair amount of sunshine. I am having less + less to do. I cycled to Raeburn Meadow, Hospital, Sloethornbank2, Ettrickhaugh Road, Green Square3 + Glebe Terrace + then motored to Whitmuir4 “Did Peter”.5 Lunched on porridge. Went along at 3 + 4 to the Town Hall where I thought there was to be a meeting of the Red X [Cross] but there was no sign. Finished the quarter’s account. Helen6 went to Edinburgh with Mrs Mack7 for a few days.

1 Snell, adj., adv., 4. of weather: biting, keen, piercing, bitter, severe. [Dictionar o the Scots Leid].

2 Sloethornbank, Selkirk, looking down over St Mary’s Mill from Ettrick Terrace and shown as Sloethorn Bank on the Ordnance Survey 25 inch Selkirkshire sheet XII.1, published 1899.

3 A baby had been born unexpectedly at 8 Green Square, Selkirk on 22 January 1923.

4 Presumably to attend Christina Neil née Scott of Whitmuir who had given birth to a daughter on 16 January 1923.

5 The Editor is not familiar with this expression, which Dr Muir is using repeatedly at this time.

6 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper.

7 Agnes Mackintosh née Watson, formerly Harper (1859-1946), of Elm Park, Selkirk.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

23 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A little frost : keen drying W. wind : a few drops of rain once. Cycled to Dovecot, Curror Street, Hospital, Sloethornbank + Ettrickhaugh Road : then out to Whitmuir.1 Banked mileage allowance £92. 18. 9. and drew £120 the final (or almost) instalment of my share for 1921-22. Helen2 paid the books. Jamie Douglas, Muthag Street died rather suddenly.3 I finished making out the quarter’s accounts. Jack4 looked in. He has been sent home for a rest as he is feeling his head.

1 Presumably to attend Christina Neil née Scott of Whitmuir who had given birth to a daughter on 16 January 1923.

2 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper.

3 James Douglas (1856-1923), woollen millman (retired), died 23 January 1923, aged 66, at 34 Muthag Street, Selkirk, of Diabetes Mellitis, death certified by D Charteris Graham M.B., Ch.B. He was the widower of Euphemia Bell (1857-1915).

4 John ‘Jack’ Roberts junior (1876-1966), mill owner and Dr Muir’s son-in-law.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]