17 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

S.W. Gale rose during the night + there were very heavy blasts of rain all day. The river was in high flood of the cafe au lait type. I saw a town list of 22 walking besides going to see D.C.A.1 about the mistake in my feu duty last May when I paid 10 [pounds] too little. I also took out my new motor license = £13 of which I ought to get 25% rebate on account of the age of the engine2. Made out some accounts including Dees’ = £170 odd3. Helen4 lunched at Mauldsheugh5. Bella6 bad with her Asthma.

1 David Carnegie Alexander, ‘Carnegie Alexander’ or ‘D.C.A.’ (1856-1928), solicitor

2 Duties on licences for mechanically-propelled vehicles imposed by S.13 of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by the Roads Act 1920 (and incorporating elements of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888) were levied by county councils from 1 January 1921

3 Robert Irwin ‘Robber’ Dees (1872-1943), had inherited approximately £90,000 on the death of his uncle Robert Richardson Dees, solicitor, of Wallsend, in 1908 and had taken the tenancy of Faldonside in 1920; his daughter Phyllis Mary Dees (1899-1920), had died 2 December 1920, Faldonside, Melrose, aged 21, after a prolonged decline the result of a motor accident

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

5 Mauldsheugh, 23 Yarrow Terrace, Selkirk was the home of Dr David Charteris Graham, medical practitioner and Dr Muir’s business partner, and his wife Norah Campion Graham née West

6 Isabella ‘Bella’ Paulin (1873-?1952), Dr Muir’s housekeeper

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

16 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Complete [?] fresh. Rivers big with melted snow: very mild. T.47o. Newark Hill, which yesterday was all white was black today. I motored to Newark Mill + Corbie Cottage getting back a little after 12 to find a message [to] Mrs Geo. Lawrie1 + one to see the butler’s wife at Faldonside. Sent Baptie2 up with a note to Jessie Boyd3 inviting her to dinner on Wednesday. In the garden I pulled a yellow + a purple Primula: a hellebore + white hepaticas. I could just see the white on one or two snowdrops. Helen + I went to evening service.

1 There are separate references in the 1921 Valuation Roll to George Lawrie, ironmonger, Occupier of a house and garden at 38 Market Place, Selkirk and to George Lawrie, labourer, Tenant Occupier of a house at 65 Ettrick Terrace, Selkirk; however the diary entry for 16 December 1919 refers to the Lawrie family at 19 Market Place in 1919 (No. 19 corresponds to both Nos. 38 and 39: the numbers having changed around 1921 where they have been amended in ink) so the visit may well be to this George Lawrie’s wife Mary Orr Finlayson

2 Thomas Baptie (1860-1929), driver and handyman for Dr Muir

3 Jessie Milne Brack Boyd (1867-1961), of Faldonside, plantswoman and gardener

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

15 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Frost holding in morning but gradually gave after midday. Was able to cycle to Philiphaugh Cottages + High Faldonside (where I saw Bell the gardener’s wife + Jessie Boyd1 who is in a great funk about being put on a list of jurymen) + Bridgelands. I enjoyed the run the roads being fairly good. Made out a few accounts. Dav. at 2 T. + A.s at the Home2. Nancy walked to Lilliesleaf + back. Helen + Barbara3 were at Mrs Harkness’ for tea4. I actually got some snowdrops in flower at Faldonside + the winter aconite was out too.

1 Jessie Milne Brack Boyd (1867-1961), of Faldonside, plantswoman and gardener

2 Tonsils and Adenoids

3 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963) and Andrina Henderson ‘Barbara’ Roberts, later Twhigg (1902-1996), two of Dr Muir’s daughters

4 Isabella ‘Bell’ Harkness née Lockie (1859-1929); her daughter Ella Fairbairn Harkness had died in 1915 aged 22 of phthisis pulmonalis and there appears to have been continuing contact thereafter between Mrs Harkness and the Muir family

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

14 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A fine dry frosty day with continuous sunshine. David was shooting at [the] Haining. There were 5 new town messages, one to Davidson, East Deloraine1 + Mrs Jas. Brown (Margaret Davidson2) was in Labour. I motored there [and] back to the town: + saw her again before I went to Deloraine. The roads were splendid + the old Swift3 did her 20 miles an hour. I saw Mrs Brown on my return + she was not any forrader4. I missed a meeting of the Red Cross. Helen + Nancy5 were at a meeting about Girl Guides.

1 William Armstrong Davidson (1877-1946), Langholm-born farmer, tenant at Easter Deloraine, Kirkhope, in the 1911 Census and 1920 Valuation Roll

2 Margaret Brown née Davidson, wife of James Brown, reedmaker; their son Wesley McIntyre Brown (1921-1983), was born 14 January 1921

3 The Swift Motor Company made Swift Cars in Coventry; it is not clear which model Dr Muir owned of this small motor manufacturer’s many products but it had been the ‘workhorse’ car for the practice since Dr Muir had acquired it some time before August 1914 [Source: ‘Swift Models 1901-1931’, http://www.theswiftclub.co.uk%5D

4 The Dictionar o the Leid acknowledges forra(r)der as a version of forward(s): “FORRIT, adv., adj., v. Also forrat, †forat(e), for(r)et, forit; fort (Per. 1818 J. Sinclair Simple Lays 41); furrit, -et, furrait (m.Sc.); firrit, firret, farrit; forrart; for(r)ad (Sh., Cai.), forrard, forred; and (corresp. to Eng. forwards) †forrits (Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 218; Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 107)… I. adv. 1. Forward(s), ahead, on(ward). Gen.Sc. Compar. forriter, forra(r)der, further forward (Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood x.; Gall. 1928 Gallovid. Annual 88; Abd.27, Slg.3, Edb.1 1953).”

5 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963) and Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir (1878-1948), Dr Muir’s third daughter/sometime housekeeper and second daughter respectively

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

13 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Some frost + a clearer atmosphere: roads harder. Some sunshine N.E. [wind]. Made 4 town calls. + after reading up an accumulation of circulars: appeals, reports + correspondence began to make out last quarter’s accounts. I was not disturbed at all + got well into ‘C’. Saw John Gray1, Mavisbank a second time before dinner. He has had no fits since yesterday afternoon. Temp. at night 101.2. There was a Panel Commttee meeting but I sent an apology.

1 Assume John Muir Gray (1915-1984), son of Andrew Gray, weaver, and Margaret Tully Gray née Falside; he was born at Curror Street but the family was living at 7a Mavisbank, Selkirk in 1920

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

12 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Some snow lying on Tennis Green this morning + on Peat Law1. The former soon disappeared. Curiously there was none on Bowling Green. I was not out of town. Saw some 13 cases. Saw John Gray2, Mavisbank 2x. Wrote Miss Lockhart3. Paid Muir’s & Graham’s account to Walt. Dobson4 + Mrs Geo. Thomson5. Got on with posting of December into Ledger. Helen went with Mrs Mack6 to a performance of “Eliza Comes to Stay”7 in Victoria Hall. Got letter from Lizzie Guthrie Smith8 yesterday.

1 Peat Law, WNW of Selkirk, grid reference NGR NT443,307

2 Assume John Muir Gray (1915-1984), son of Andrew Gray, weaver, and Margaret Tully Gray née Falside; he was born at Curror Street but the family was living at 7a Mavisbank, Selkirk in 1920

3 Not identified

4 Assume Walter Dalgleish Dobson (1861-1936), master tailor

5 Not identified

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

7 ‘Eliza Comes to Stay, A Farce in Three Acts’, 1913, by Henry Vernon Esmond (1869-1922), British actor and playwright; it was later a film

8 Assume Elizabeth Orr ‘Lizzie’ Guthrie Smith née Rennie (1858–1926), Dr Muir’s niece

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

12 January 1913 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

It has been decided to post occasional extracts from Dr Muir’s diaries for other years; the following is from 1913, the current focus for transcription in addition to 1921.

Continuous fall of fine snow. Much calmer: N.E. by E. [wind]. Fresh. There are quite 6 or 7 in[ches] of undrifted snow. Took the Mocar1 in case of drifts but there were none up Yarrow. Walked down to Ross2, Viewfield Park + Wellwood where Baptie3 picked me up + I went via Heath..ly to Yarrowford to see Jas. Hewie4 + back by Buccleuch Road to Bridgelands where I saw Geo. + Hilda5. Was in house after two. Sent away Factory + P.O. Reports6 + arranged accounts. Wrote Croom7 about Dora8. Wrote L + B9 re Robert Blyth10 + Mrs Sprot regretting inability to attend Coo’s wedding11 on Feb 3rd. Nancy12 came to supper.

1 The Mo-Car Syndicate, which became the Arrol-Johnston Car Company Ltd. from 1905, was a joint venture between George Johnston, locomotive engineer, Sir William Arrol MP, engineer and others (and later William Beardmore) and produced a ‘dogcart’ with transverse seats back-to-back; it may have been the Mo-car’s larger wheels in particular that appealed to Dr Muir for this snowy journey

2 Sinclair Ross (about 1870-1948), Caithness born solicitor, was long-time proprietor at Glenlora, Viewfield Park, Selkirk [Valuation Rolls]

3 Thomas Baptie (1860-1929), driver and handyman for Dr Muir

4 James Hewie, retired sub-postmaster, and his wife Jane ‘Jeanie’ Gray were Tenant Occupiers of a house at Yarrowford, Yarrow, 1921 Valuation Roll

5 George Frederick Eck Rodger (1873-1956) and Hilda Rodger née Seebohm (1874-1961), married December Quarter 1903, Bucklow, Cheshire, Registration District 8a 298; he was sometime proprietor of Bridgelands, Selkirk but more probably visiting at this date

6 The Editor assumes this refers to Dr Muir’s roles as Medical Officer for Selkirk Burgh and Prison

7 Assume John Halliday Croom (1847-1923), FRSE PRCPE PRCSE, Scottish surgeon and medical author, who in 1905 succeeded Sir Alexander Russell Simpson to the Edinburgh University chair of midwifery; the originator of clinical teaching in the Maternity Hospital he also ran a private general and gynaecological practice [https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb133-mmm/mmm/21/3 and Wikipedia]

8 Andrina Dorothy ‘Dora’ Muir (1882-1978), nurse and Dr Muir’s youngest daughter

9 It is not immediately clear to whom Dr Muir would have been writing in relation to the death of Robert Blyth, see footnote 10

10 Robert Blyth, basket maker, had died 29 December 1912, aged 46, at the Combination Poorhouse, Galashiels; his death was certified by Henry Drummond Robb (1883-1970), M.D. who was Dr Muir’s locum around this time

11 Gertrude Gladys Violet Sprot (1888-1966), born Riddell, Lilliesleaf, daughter of Lieutenant-General John Sprot and Charlotte Gertrude Sprot née Cole, married Edward Arthur Wienholt (d.1927) March Quarter 1913 at St George Hanover Square 1a 878

12 Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir (1878-1948), Dr Muir’s second daughter

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/16, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1913]

11 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Much nicer day. Almost no rain [?] + sunny in forenoon. W. [wind]. Left at 9.15 + motored to Cramalt to see Jas. Hogg1. Called for Mrs Simpson2, Backrow + Rae [?]3, Heatherlie + looked in on Dav. who is keeping better. Took the Straker Squire4 + made a good run. Megget + Yarrow hills white on tops. Got back at 12 + at the Home gave a boy Wood chlor[oform] while D. excised a tuberculous cervical gland. Then I motored to Byethorn, Elm Cottage, Mavisbank, Spion Kop, Bridgelands, Lindean Mill, Eastfield + Lilliesleaf. At night D. operated for strangulated hernia on Emmett5 the odd man from Bowhill + I had to go to see J S Gray6, Mavisbank, late for a convulsion. So I had a pretty busy day: It rained at night.

1 John Hogg (fl.1920), occupier, house at East Cramalt, Yarrow, 1920 Valuation Roll (see also Ordnance Survey 6” Selkirkshire Sheet XIII.NW, 1897 / 1900)

2 James Simpson, spinner, was Tenant Occupier of a house at 66 Back Row, Selkirk, 1921 Valuation Roll

3 There is a number of Rae entries at Heatherlie, 1921 Valuation Roll

4 Straker Squire or Straker-Squire Ltd., also Brazil, Straker (1901-1927), motor manufacturer, see https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Straker-Squire

5 This is almost certainly William George Emmett (1871-1946), oddman, not identified at Bowhill but he died in retirement, October 1946, at Dumfries Infirmary, usual residence Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire; he was born in Wiltshire

6 Assume John Muir Gray (1915-1984), son of Andrew Gray, weaver, and Margaret Tully Gray née Falside; he was born at Curror Street but the family was living at 7a Mavisbank, Selkirk in 1920

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

10 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Was knocked up at 3 a.m. for Jamie Orr with retention + then at 6.15 by David (who was sent up for Mrs Robert Tait1, Howford Cottage. Motored up (taking her sister Ellen2 who is cook at Mauldsheugh) but after staying a while + getting some breakfast, came home. Called for D3. Got several messages. Motored to Philiphaugh Cottages, Corbie Cottage, Heatherlie, Mavisbank + Elmrow. They sent again from Howford at 2 + I went up taking nurse McDougall. Got it over at 3.304. Brought Ellen back + the two youngest kids Mima + Peggy5 to Mauldsheugh. Went over to Viewfield + saw the cases there. Crowd in at night. A day of incessant heavy rain + colder: snow on the hills. River on top flood. Helen6 at Viewfield for supper + bridge.

1 Robert Tait, ploughman and husband of Agnes Doherty or Docherty, was Inhabitant Occupier of a house at Howford, Kirkhope, 1920 Valuation Roll

2 Helen ‘Ellen’ Doherty or Docherty [Dohorty on 1901 Census] (born Stow, 1893) and her sister Agnes, later Tait (born Lauder, 1887) were daughters of William Doherty, a cattleman from “Londonderry, Ireland” and Margaret or Margret Doherty née McGlein or McGlain, married 1879 at Ladhope [776/B 28, Ladhope]

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

4 Helen Tait, born 10 January 1921 at Howford, Kirkhope, daughter of Robert Tait, ploughman, and Agnes Tait née Doherty, they had married 2 June 1911 at Stow [birth 776/ 2 Kirkhope]

5 Jemima Isabel ‘Mima’ Tait (1917-1990), born Cortleferry, Stow and Margaret ‘Peggy’ Tait (1919-1999), born Philiphaugh Old Mill, Selkirk

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

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

9 January 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Same dull mild wet weather. Strongish W. wind. Message to see Mrs Guthrie’s boy1, Lilliesleaf. Motored there + saw some other cases in the village + went to Lindores2 , Hermiston, a place I haven’t been at for years. Got home at 1 + walked down to Curror Street + Raeburn Meadows. Was not out after lunch. Got the books up to date. Made out mileage cards + Factory Report3 . Helen was at Elmpark for tea + went to evening service.

1 Not identified

2 Alexander Lindores was Inhabitant Occupier of a house ‘Hermiston’ at Lilliesleaf, 1920 Valuation Roll

3 One of Dr Muir’s duties as Medical Officer of Health was factory safety

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