2 January 1919 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir of Selkirk

Wet morning but nearly fair all day. Fresh. Only a powdering of snow left on higher hills. Sick parade 7.30 + saw Murdoch. Message to Ettrickshaws and Faldonside. Went to former (after seeing 6 town cases en route), Annelshope and Bluecairn. Got home at 3 found message to Stewart, Thirladean, which I did first + then Faldonside + Hosp. (where a case of S. has come in from Ashkirk). Long letter from Minnie Brown1.

1 Minnie Mackay Brown (1874-1966), teacher and nurse: prior to war she was a school teacher. She left for Egypt September 1915; was part of the Selkirk Voluntary Aid Detachment of the British Red Cross Society and served until 29 May 1919. She was stationed at the Citadel Hospital, Cairo, 11 September 1915-13 April 1916 before she was moved to France where she served at the 11th Stationary Hospital from 15 July 1916

1 January 1919 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir of Selkirk

Was asleep when New Year came in. Ground white with snow this morning but it soon disappeared & the day was dull and mild with heavy rain in the evening. At sick parade only one man turned up but I had a cut head on a [sergeant ?] to dress in the forenoon. Message to Bluecairn to May Johnston. Almost nothing in town. Henderson’s party. Williamsons, Boylan, Durnfords, Mrs Robertson1. Spent a pleasant evening. Anne Brodie came to help. Wrote Jean2.

1 Those mentioned are respectively: unidentified; John Dun Boylan, retired engineer and friend of Dr Muir; Major Norman Stanley M Durnford (1889-1965), Army Service Corps and Agnes Watson Durnford née Harper (1888-1976), daughter of Ebenezer Erskine Harper, Sheriff Substitute of Selkirkshire, and Agnes Harper née Watson, later Mackintosh; and unidentified

2 Jane Henderson Logan ‘Jean’ Muir (1877-1941), one of Dr Muir’s daughters

Introductory notes

The diary of Selkirk G.P., medical officer and cyclist Dr John Stewart Muir has been transcribed on Tumblr since August 2014. It has has become dispiriting to see the lack of interaction that Tumblr generates, so the Blog has moved.

From the turn of 2018/19 the Blogging will continue, but on WordPress, https://rumblingclintonline.blog/, where we hope to generate greater interest and spark some interaction with or, at the very least, reaction from followers.

The editors will be delighted if readers of the old Blog choose to switch and keep up with Dr Muir, and we welcome new readers too as he pedals, in two gears and now with a formal business co-partner, towards the 1920s and beyond.

31 December 1918 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir of Selkirk

Did not get Mrs Tait over till 2.30. Jas Tait is a son of Mrs Tait, Peelburnhead who used to be at Kersknowe. Tait walked down with me1. Baptie had been entertained at Old Lewenshope. Got to bed at 4.30. Put off sick parade till 10. Saw Murdoch [? Resting] very easy2. Saw some town cases walking & in afternoon motored to Yair & Thirladean (Gray). Got some holly at Bowhill yesterday. Helen had Isobel Rodger & Helen Smith at tea. Yesterday morning Dora ‘Phoned that she was going off to the Baltic again (Copenhagen). Did not stay up to see the New Year in.

1 Betsy Morrison Bulloch Tait, daughter of James Tait, shepherd, and Marion Tait Black Tait née Bulloch, born 31 December 1918, Lewenshope Hope, Yarrow [birth registered 25 January 1919 at Yarrow]. The parents had married 2 March 1917 at Craigneuk, Dalziel, Lanarkshire

2 The editors assume that this is George Murdoch (c.1842-1919); hall keeper, previously police constable, of Victoria Hall, Scott’s Place, Selkirk

Note: Lewenshope Hope is at NGR NT369,317

30 December 1918 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir of Selkirk

Great Coalition Victory as Asquith and his followers squashed1. Letter from Patrick2.
Another very disagreeable day with some sleet & snow the latter lying on the higher hill tops. I had sick parade at 7.30. 5 men & 2 to discharge. Called for Murdoch who has had an excellent night3. Took the car to Bleachfield Road, Tower Street, W[est] Port, Glebe Terrace, Riverside &c & then up to Deuchar Mill (when I took the stitches out of Lizzie’s wound), Mount Benger, Annelshope (tea) & Ettrickshaws. Got back about 4 & saw some cases in Hill Street & Backrow & Castle Street. Crowd of people at night. Dined at 7.30 by myself Helen being at Elmpark where D [David] went after dinner for a couple of hours. Major Durnford there4. Got home at 10.30 & got message by ‘Phone (Mrs Bryson brought it as they couldn’t get on to Thorncroft) to Mrs Tait, Lewenshope Hope. Motored to Old Lewenshope where Amos walked with me till we met Tait about half way. It was a dirty walk but fortunately it was fair.

1 The General Election held 14 December 1918, but not counted until 28th to allow soldiers’ votes from overseas to be counted, was notable for several reasons. It was a sweeping victory for the coalition (and also for Sinn Féin) but a notable defeat for H H Asquith. As a result of the Representation of the People Act 1918 all men over 21 and women aged 30 or over were entitled to vote. It was also the first election to be held on a single day. It was the election in which Labour first overtook the Liberals in Wales and the last election before the secession of Irish Counties to form the Irish Free State. Under Éamon de Valera the Sinn Féin elected members refused to take seats in the House of Commons, instead joining the Irish revolutionary assembly Dáil Éireann, which was to convene on 21 January 1919 marking the beginning of the Irish War of Independence. Finally, Sinn Féin candidate Constance Markiewicz née Gore-Booth (1868-1927) made the election notable when she became the first woman to be elected to the British parliament though, in common with her colleagues, she refused to take her seat

2 Patrick Rodger Stewart ‘Pat’ Muir (1879-1961), Dr Muir’s only son, living in New Zealand since 1902

3 The editors assume that this is George Murdoch (about 1842-1919); hall keeper, previously police constable, of Victoria Hall, Scott’s Place, Selkirk

4 Major Norman Stanley M Durnford, Agnes Harper’s new husband

29 December 1918 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A disagreeable day of sleet rain & fog. Saw Murdoch first thing & then motored to Synton Mill (calling for Mrs Leitch). The road by Greenhill is worse than ever & is more like a rough farm road than a public highway. Opened a gum boil [?] for Walter Grieve. Came back by Backrow. Then I saw town cases & went up to Thirladean (where DC [Alexander1] was almost rude to me) & Ravensheugh. Had to see Murdoch again & use a catheter. Had a fine quiet afternoon at the Daybook & supped at Wellwood2.

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

2 The ‘Wellwooders’ were John Roberts junior ‘Jack’ (1876-1966), mill owner and Provost of Selkirk; Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir (1878-1948), and their children Andrina Barbara Henderson ‘Barbara’ Roberts, later Thwigg (1902-1996); John Stewart ‘Jock’ Roberts (1904-1950), woollen manufacturer; Louisa Jane Roberts (1906-1982); Stewart Muir ‘Little Stewart’ Roberts (1908-2003), Colonel, OBE, DL, businessman and local government politician, and George Edward ‘Tim’ Roberts (1911-2005).