21 October 1920 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Threatened Railway Strike1

Letter from Guy2

This has been a most perfect autumn day: calm, warm, sunny but harzy [?]. The weather cock pointed E but there wasn’t a breath of wind. After seeing half a doz. town cases. I left at 12 +, calling for Miss Hall3, Heathpark, cycled to Maxton, Fairnington, Nisbet, Ancrum + home by Ancrum Craig + Belses Moor, a run of 38 ½ miles4. It was a perfect day for the open + I took it quite easy. Took my tea at the edge of what I think is Upper Nisbet Moor between Rutherford + Roxburgh5. I had only once been past Fairnington before + that was coming the other way, and only once on the road from Ancrum to Belses Moor.

1 The National Archives’ website states that “In the summer of 1920 the economic boom collapsed. As prices and unemployment rose further, industrial strife became more likely. The unions planned a revival of the pre-war Triple Alliance between mining, transport and railway workers. The miners began a strike for higher wages in October 1920, with railwaymen and transport workers threatening supportive action. The government passed an Emergency Powers Bill to ensure essential services and negotiated a temporary six-month increase in wages.” Emergency Powers Bill 1920 accessed 2020.10.02

2 Gavin Struthers ‘Guy’ Muir (1846-1927), Dr Muir’s brother

3 Janet Hall (c.1846-1930), spinster, proprietor of a house at 3 Heath Park, Selkirk, 1920 Valuation Roll

4 Dr Muir has travelled from Maxton, grid reference NGR NT613,301, via Fairnington NT644,280, the western edge of Roxburgh at NT697,305, along the east bank of the River Teviot (and alongside the railway before Nine Wells), and on through Nisbet, NT673,257, Ancrum, NT628,245, Ancrum Craig, NT599,236 and Belses Muir, NT580,238

5 It is difficult to be sure from the description but Dr Muir’s likeliest route was along the unclassified road through Big Wood at NT661,294 with Upper Nisbet Moor (centred around NT667,284) to his south but if he had his tea between Rutherford and Roxburgh it is more likely that by then he was on Roxburgh Moor (NT676,296)

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

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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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