27 October 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Walked along along town, Forest Road, Hospital +c. Had to go down to Ettrickhaugh Road to see a man John Dodds1 at request of Fowler2. I have rarely seen a house or a man in such a state of filth. It seems his wife is a habitual soaker3. David4 went to Edin. to attend the Centenary dinner of the Medical Chirug.5 tomorrow. I motored to Melrose + dined with McMillan6 at 7 + then recited at a Concert organised by Miss Wilson7 for the Girl Guides. There was some good singing by Miss Stewart8, Faughill [?] + a man Bell9 from Gala. I gave the Bottle, stuck on “Holyrood” + gave Salmon10.

1 John Dodds, engine driver, was tenant of a house at Ettrickhaugh Road, Selkirk [1921 Valuation Roll, VR011700009-/331, Selkirk County, page 331 of 611]

2 William Fowler (about 1863-1933), Inspector of Poor and Registrar, Selkirk

3 Mrs Dodds appears to be Isabella Elizabeth ‘Isa’ Dodds née Hardie (about 1881-1935), wife of John Dodds, engine driver for the railway company, aged 34, who was described as living with his wife Isa E Dodds, aged 29, at 14 Victoria Street, Galashiels in the 1911 Census [1911 Census, 775/9/1, page 1 of 25]; they had married July 1908 at Chalmers Street, St Giles, Edinburgh and she died July 1935, aet 56, at the Western General Hospital, usual residence Knowepark, Galashiels

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

5 The Editor can do no better than quote the The Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh’s own description “Based on the successful Medico-Chirurgical Society of London, The Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh was founded in 1821 by our first president, Dr Andrew Duncan. In the beginning, the main object of the Society was “communication of facts and the interchange of opinions on medical subjects and the collection and preservation of important practical observations so frequently made by gentleman whose avocations do not permit them to undertake separate publications”.” [Source: Welcome to The Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh]

6 Assume John James McMillan (1879-1953), medical practitioner, of Melrose

7 Miss Wilson is not identified but it is perhaps Miss Kate Wilson, teacher and Proprietor of Gordonlee, Melrose who was also Tenant Occupier of the site of the tennis court at Highcross, Melrose; it is the Editor’s recollection is that this was the site of Boy Scout camps locally so further research will be undertaken

9 Bell from Galashiels appears in Dr Muir’s diary from time to time but has not (yet) been identified

8 James Ballantyne Stewart was Tenant Occupier of part of the farm and house of Faughhill, Bowden [1921 Valuation Roll, VR011600033-/538, Roxburgh County, page 538 of 993] – perhaps the one who was a farm student at Netherby, Eskbank, Dalkeith, aged 24, 1911 Census, who married June 1913, St Giles, Edinburgh, Nancy S S Thin, though the Editor cannot find any daughters born after this date who would have been able to sing at a public engagement in late 1921 (it is possible to rule out Stewart’s sisters Eliza Simpson Stewart, later Ross (about 1886-) or Gladys Robina Stewart, later Sharpe (about 1890-) as both had married by this date, in 1913 and 1916 respectively)

10 Neither ‘Holyrood’ nor ‘Salmon’ have yet been identified but Dr John Freeland Fergus (1865-1943), medical practitioner, was the author of ‘Fancies of a Physician, Medical and Otherwise, in Scots and English’, published by Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow, 1938 and including ‘The Bottle’ the last verse of which reads “An’ the bottle, oh the bottle, that the skilly doctor gied, | It had ipecac an’ squills intill’it, tolu’ an’ aniseed, | An a tate o’ paregoric, but was gey an’ wersh to pree, | For aye the wershest medicines are aye the best to gi’e, | But a bottle, oh a bottle, is jist the wale o’ a’, | Gin you’ve a hoast or income, or ha’e naething wrang ava’.”

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

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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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