5 May 1920 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A very disappointing change to rain. I had intended cycling to Duns. Walked to Ettrickhaugh Road, Bannerfield + Curror Street. Left by the 2.40 + got to Duns at 5.2. Was met at the station by Mrs Frier Robson1 + Lilly Adams2 + taken to the house of James Miller3, Town Clerk, son of Mr Miller, formerly teacher here [Selkirk]. Mrs Cowell4 (an Oswald + niece of Mrs Crawford) was there + we had tea. Miller was in Edinburgh. The concert in aid of Roy. Infrmy. [Royal Infirmary] was in Volunteer Hall. Recited ‘The Locum’5, ‘Idealist’6, ‘Pill’7 + ‘Sergt Henderson’8. The singing was pretty good + a party gave ‘Her Rest Cure’9. Lilly Adams being one of the nurses. Miller came in the middle of this performance. Spoke to William Campbell. Had supper at Miller’s + a crack about old Selkirk.

1 Lizzie Blanche Fenton, wife of William Frier Robson of Duns, they had married at Edinburgh in 1888

2 Not identified

3 James Millar (1861-1935), solicitor and town clerk of Duns, son of James Millar (c.1862-), schoolmaster, and Isabella Kirkwood Millar née Harbottle (his death record states Tullis), married 1859, Dunfermline Burgh; James Millar senior was teacher at the Burgh School, Selkirk – though his children were born at Largo, Fife when he was previously a teacher at Lundin Mill School, Largo

4 Mary Oswald (c.1879-), daughter of James Oswald and Margaret Crawford had married Huntly Gordon H Cowell (1877-1971), dental surgeon, at Morningside, 1904; her husband was based at Montrose [1920 Valuation Roll] so presumably Mary was visiting

5 Not identified

6 ‘The Idealist’ by R W Service (“Oh you who have daring deeds to tell! | And you who have felt Ambition’s spell!”)

7 ‘Pill & Bottle’ is unidentified but had been a regular item in Dr Muir’s recital repertoire since at least 1916

8 Not identified

9 This is not the first time ‘The Rest Cure’ (a one act play by Gertrude E Jennings (1877-1957), actress and playwright, published London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1914) had been performed in Selkirk because Dr Muir reports a performance on 2 January 1915 at a Café chantant in aid of the funds of the Wilder House Hospital; in the Southern Reporter it is called ‘The Rest Cure’ but the Editor is confident that this is not what Dr Muir has written here

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/23, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1920]

Published by


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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