5 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A dismal dark wet day such a contrast from yesterday as Tuesday from Monday but not such a gale. Saw a few cases walking + gave Chlor[oform] at Viewfield from 11.30 till 2 (appendicitis – Byers1 + curetting + coloraphy2 – Mrs Ross3). In house all afternoon at Summary Cards + other clerical work. Helen4 went with Barbara5 to a show of a strong man in Victoria Hall.6

1 Byers is unidentified, though an Eliza Byers (1913-1997), aged 7, was at 49 Buccleuch Road, Selkirk, the granddaughter of John Hislop, the head of household [1921 Census] and daughter of Mary Ann Young Byers née Hislop (1893-1982) who is herself recorded as a millworker at Bridge Street, Selkirk [1922 Valuation Roll]. Mary Ann Byers and her husband Thomas Joseph Byers (1893-1968), ploughman and 226729 Pte Labour Corps, also had a son James Byers (1918-2000) so there are several possible identities. It should be pointed out that there was separately a Charles Byers, draper, at Kilncroft, Selkirk in the same Valuation Roll.

2 Colporrhaphy is a surgical process to repair the walls of the vagina after a prolapse.

3 Perhaps Elizabeth Elder Ross née Sinclair (1875-1939), wife of the Reverend Andrew Ross (1871-1942), Church of Scotland clergyman.

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

5 Andrina Henderson ‘Barbara’ Roberts, later Twhigg (1902-1996), Dr Muir’s eldest grandchild.

6 On Friday and Saturday the 5th and 6th January 1923 the Victoria Hall, Selkirk presented Martin Breedis. He was “The Strongest and Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World”, claimed the Southern Reporter, and “Supported by Full Variety Company”. The show featured Breedis driving a six inch nail through a three inch plank with his hand and balancing a piano on his chest with two ladies “one playing while the other sings” (that’s two separate features, the nail and the piano, in case readers weren’t sure, he wasn’t that good). There was also an (unspecified) £500 challenge.

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

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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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