29 October 1922 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A good deal of snow had gone during the night + by evening there was none visible from Thorncroft1 though of course the hills are still white. I motored early to Kingcroft toll2 (to see a drunken chap Cavers3 who had been bullying his wife) + Cotfield4 on getting back found a message to Holydean.5 Motored to Heatherlie + Pinegrove6 + then to Holydean where I found dear old Mrs Blaikie7 with a slight cold. Went to evening service + saw Mrs Thomson8, Goslaw Green after. Helen9 had Bell Harkness at tea.10

1 Dr Muir lived at Thorncroft, Scott’s Place, Selkirk but very rarely mentions his house by name.

2 Presumably Dr Muir means the toll at Ladylands, Selkirk.

3 Francis ‘Frank’ Cavers (about 1865-1952), roadman, was at this time at Kingcroft, Selkirk [1922 Valuation Roll], but in 1911 he was at East Third, Smailholm, a ploughman, born Ireland [1911 Census] and after 1922 he was recorded at Cannon Street, Selkirk and, at his death, at Boleside House, Galashiels; he had married, 1916 at Smailholm, Mary Crichton nee Laidlaw (d.1949), the widow of William Crichton (about 1850-1914) whom she had married in 1913.

4 Cotfield, near Harelaw, Lilliesleaf, grid reference NT532,226, just south of the Drove Road between Grundistone Heights and St Boswells.

5 Holydean, Bowden, Roxburghshire, grid reference NGR NT534,299.

6 John Laurie, son of George Laurie, woollen mill engineman, and Elizabeth Jane Douglas Laurie née King, had been born the day before at Pinegrove, Selkirk, see Dr Muir’s diary entry for 28 October 1922.

7 Helen Brunton Blaikie (about 1838-1924), daughter of James Brunton, farmer, and Agnes Stenhouse, she died 8 June 1924 at Holydean, Bowden, aged 86, death was certified by D Charteris Graham, Dr Muir’s medical co-partner; her daughter: Agnes Helen Blaikie (1863-1932), daughter of William Lang Blaikie, farmer, and Helen Blaikie née Brunton, was joint tenant at Holydean, Bowden with her mother, 1922 Valuation Roll; she died in 1932 at Viewfield Nursing Home, Selkirk and her death was certified by D Charteris Graham, Dr Muir’s medical co-partner.

8 Mrs Thomson, Goslaw Green cannot (yet) be identified because two different men, David Thomson and Andrew Thomson, both millworkers, lived at 9 Goslaw Green as follows: David, 1921, Andrew, 1922, David 1923 and 1924 [Valuation Rolls]; perhaps they were working shifts, with sleeping arrangements like submariners’?

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

10 Isabella ‘Bell’ Harkness née Lockie (1859-1929), daughter of Hugh Lockie, woollen millworker, and Helen Lockie née Fairbairn, married to John Harkness, baker; her daughter Ella Fairbairn Harkness (1893-1915), woollen millworker, had died in 1915, aged 22, at Curror Street, Selkirk, of phthisis pulmonalis 18 months, certified by Dr John S Muir and members of the Muir family appear to have reached out to her every year since, see for example Dr Muir’s diary entry for 2 October 1920.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/25, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1922]

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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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