22 December 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A nicer day with sunshine in afternoon + no rain. River very heavy [and] a few small patches of snow visible on Newark Hill at Foulshiels1. Got some Christmas cards + presents from Patons2 (Haggis + 2 hankies), Mrs Mack3 post: a cake, Devonshire cream: Gruyere cheese + eggs! Cards from Mrs Dubs4, Dees5, Jack Spittal6 +c. Cycled to Hospital, Forest Road, Oakwoodmill (where I saw a rat hunt + 36 killed), Gilkeekit (Willie Mitchelhill7). Ordered presents of cigars + cigarettes for Jack8 + David9. Accepted post as Med. Ref. for Dominions migrants10.

1 Newark Hill, grid reference NGR NT405,286 and Foulshiels, NT427,303

2 The Patons were Isabella Clementina ‘Isa’ Paton (about 1838-1929) and Marion Agnes Paton (about 1841-1940), sisters living on their own means at Selkirk until May 1918 when they had flitted to Galashiels

3 Agnes Mackintosh, née Watson, formerly Harper (1859-1946), of Elm Park, Selkirk

4 Margaret Forsyth Dubs, formerly Smith, née Arthur (1853-1935), born 1853, Barony, who had married, 2ndly, 1909 at Blythswood, Frank Albert Dubs, this being around the time that he moved from Glasgow to Yair Mansion, Caddonfoot, Selkirkshire; he died in 1920 and Margaret relocated to a house called Woodbourne at Wemyss Bay, Inverkip, Renfrewshire, flitting from Selkirk sometime after 12 March 1921 (c.f. Dr Muir’s diary entry for 12 March 1921)

2 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper

6 John Kerr ‘Jack’ Spittal (1883-1946), accountant; son of Charles Grey Spittal (1836-1891) and Rachel Spittal née Harvey (1845-1917)

7 Willie Mitchelhill is not identified at Gilkeekit, on the edge of the Bowhill estate, though William Mitchelhill senior and junior, both garden labourers, were recorded at Old Peel, Caddonfoot in the 1911 Census

8 John ‘Jack’ Roberts junior (1876-1966), mill owner and Provost of Selkirk, and Dr Muir’s son-in-law, later knighted “for political and public services in Selkirk”

9 The Dees family was Robert Irwin Dees (1872-1923), landed proprietor, formerly a marine engineer, his wife Edith Mary Boileau Dees née Henderson (1872-1948) and their surviving children (their daughter Phyllis Mary ‘Fiff’ Dees (1899-1920) had previously been attended by Dr Muir in her illness)

10 The Overseas Development Committee came into being during or just after December 1918 and in April 1919 the UK Government announced “that ex-service men and women who had served in the war and who wished to settle within the Empire overseas might … obtain free passages for themselves and their dependants” with applications allowed to the end of 1921 and travel to the end of 1922 [source: Leak, H., and T. Priday. “Migration from and to the United Kingdom.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, vol. 96, no. 2, [Wiley, Royal Statistical Society], 1933, pp. 183–239, https://doi.org/10.2307/2341791]

[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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