30 December 1918 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir of Selkirk

Great Coalition Victory as Asquith and his followers squashed1. Letter from Patrick2.
Another very disagreeable day with some sleet & snow the latter lying on the higher hill tops. I had sick parade at 7.30. 5 men & 2 to discharge. Called for Murdoch who has had an excellent night3. Took the car to Bleachfield Road, Tower Street, W[est] Port, Glebe Terrace, Riverside &c & then up to Deuchar Mill (when I took the stitches out of Lizzie’s wound), Mount Benger, Annelshope (tea) & Ettrickshaws. Got back about 4 & saw some cases in Hill Street & Backrow & Castle Street. Crowd of people at night. Dined at 7.30 by myself Helen being at Elmpark where D [David] went after dinner for a couple of hours. Major Durnford there4. Got home at 10.30 & got message by ‘Phone (Mrs Bryson brought it as they couldn’t get on to Thorncroft) to Mrs Tait, Lewenshope Hope. Motored to Old Lewenshope where Amos walked with me till we met Tait about half way. It was a dirty walk but fortunately it was fair.

1 The General Election held 14 December 1918, but not counted until 28th to allow soldiers’ votes from overseas to be counted, was notable for several reasons. It was a sweeping victory for the coalition (and also for Sinn Féin) but a notable defeat for H H Asquith. As a result of the Representation of the People Act 1918 all men over 21 and women aged 30 or over were entitled to vote. It was also the first election to be held on a single day. It was the election in which Labour first overtook the Liberals in Wales and the last election before the secession of Irish Counties to form the Irish Free State. Under Éamon de Valera the Sinn Féin elected members refused to take seats in the House of Commons, instead joining the Irish revolutionary assembly Dáil Éireann, which was to convene on 21 January 1919 marking the beginning of the Irish War of Independence. Finally, Sinn Féin candidate Constance Markiewicz née Gore-Booth (1868-1927) made the election notable when she became the first woman to be elected to the British parliament though, in common with her colleagues, she refused to take her seat

2 Patrick Rodger Stewart ‘Pat’ Muir (1879-1961), Dr Muir’s only son, living in New Zealand since 1902

3 The editors assume that this is George Murdoch (about 1842-1919); hall keeper, previously police constable, of Victoria Hall, Scott’s Place, Selkirk

4 Major Norman Stanley M Durnford, Agnes Harper’s new husband

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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