2 February 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Dense fog the whole day but no rain of course no drying either. N.E. [wind] slight. Pottered round the town. David at Bowhill seeing the Duke1. Ah me!! How are the mighty fallen!!2 Did clerical work in afternoon. Helen + Nancy3 were doing the Girl Guide work. Mrs Mack, Nancy + Barbara4 came to high tea at 6 (which I was prevented going by a crowd of panels5) + went to ‘Mr We’6 at the Picture House. Got a Dumfries paper, presumably from Kate McD, with a very appreciative notice of her husband7.

1 John Charles Montagu Douglas Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch (1864-1935)

2 This is not the first time that Dr Muir has expressed sorrow at being overlooked on account of his age: on 4 September 1916 he wrote “Got a terrible shock from a letter of Mrs Dunlop’s announcing that she has been ill & had called in another medical man as ‘we thought we would rather have a younger man’.” and in a memorandum to Mrs Dunlop “I am unconscious of any signs or sensations of Senility. It certainly cannot be physical for I cycled 81½ miles the day before yesterday & was quite fit at the end. Without boasting, I don’t believe there is another medical man in the Border Counties who can do the same thing.” [Heritage Hub SBA/657/19/47]

3 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963) and Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir (1878-1948), Dr Muir’s third daughter/sometime housekeeper and second daughter respectively

4 Agnes Mackintosh née Watson, formerly Harper (1859-1946), of Elm Park, Selkirk and Andrina Henderson ‘Barbara’ Roberts, later Twhigg (1902-1996), Nancy’s eldest daughter

5 Panel patients refers to those for whom the National Insurance Act (Part 1) 1911 provided compulsory health insurance for workers earning under £160 per year who, through a tripartite funding model, received healthcare via a panel of medical practitioners (The Panel) [Sources: The National Insurance Act 1911; Noel Whiteside, 2009, ‘La proteccion social en Gran Bretana … el caso del seguro sanitario’ in S Castillo (editor) La Prevision Social en la Historia, pp. 519–53; and Kirsti Bohata et al, 2020, ‘Disability in Industrial Britain A cultural and literary history of impairment in the coal industry, 1880–1948’, Manchester University Press, p.97]

6 Not identified

7 Katherine Isabella ‘Kate’ Macdonald [or McDonald] née Paton (about 1862-1932), wife of James Cumming Raff Macdonald (1859-1921) W.S., died 26 January 1921 at Dumfries

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/24, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1921]

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s