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

Gale + rain during the night + although wind still S.W. it was much colder. I motored to Beechwood, Henderland1 + Newarkburn. We had a shower of snow on the way up, above the Gordon Arms.2 [River] Ettrick very swollen. Got the Summary cards sent away.3 Awful tragedy by the death of Palfrey of the dye works4 who was killed by the last train last night as he was going to meet his daughter.5 Hiddleston6 who was called ‘Phoned me this morning.

1 Henderland, Megget, north of St Mary’s Loch, grid reference NGR NT232,233, where Dr Muir had been attending the Mitchell family in late 1921, In the 1921 Census the family comprised James Mitchell senior aged 67, James Mitchell junior, 35, Mary Richardson Mitchell, 33, Eliza Dalgleish Mitchell, 25, and Isabella Shiel Mitchell, 26.

2 Gordon Arms, grid reference NT307,249, past which Dr Muir would have travelled as he went to Henderland (see footnote 1).

3 The summary cards were part of the Muir and Graham medical practice’s relatively new record-keeping system.

4 Charles Alexander Palfrey (1852-1923) dye-works director (not described as retired in the 1921 Census), of Broomfield, Station Haugh, Selkirk, died 8 January 1923, aged 70 [death: 1923 778 / 2 Selkirk].

5 The Southern Reporter noted that Palfrey, manager of Cochrane, Smith & Co.’s dye-works became confused as to his location in “dark and blustering” conditions when attempting to cross the track (for which he had a permit) so that, instead of crossing near the signal box, he had walked as far as the end of the station where, while trying to access the platform, he was hit by the incoming train. In the meantime his daughter had alighted and walked home, having to return to be told the bad news [Southern Reporter, 11 January 1923].

6 John Murray Hiddleston (1891-1954), L.R.C.P.S., L.R.F.P.S., medical practitioner, had been summoned to the scene of the accident.

[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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