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Dr Muir memoirs published and performed

Diaries written by one of the Borders’ best known general practitioners are to be presented to the community through a variety of mediums.

Born in 1845 in Leith Dr John Stewart Muir worked briefly in Leven and Melrose before settling in Selkirk in 1867 as assistant to Dr Henry Anderson. In 1874 he took over Anderson’s practice and was appointed medical officer for Selkirk Burgh and prison as well as several country parishes which he served for 54 years.

In 2014 Live Borders Archive and Local History Service received a collection of diaries written daily by Dr Muir from a family member.

Staff at the Heritage Hub in Hawick have been transcribing the diaries and researching people and places mentioned.  Entries from the wartime diaries of 1914 onwards are blogged daily by the Heritage Hub, 100 years on, offering a glimpse into life in the Borders during WWI.

A series of podcasts will also be recorded, looking at Dr Muir’s War. These will be available at www.liveborders.org.uk/archives, along with the blog and other online resources.

Archive Manager Paul Brough said: “In the last two years or so the team at the Heritage Hub has grown to be very fond of Dr Muir, his work and his ‘mini adventures’. I am very pleased to see the stories reach a wider audience.

“This project aims to engage the community of Selkirk and beyond with the story of Dr Muir while promoting the existing transcription and blogging work of the Heritage Hub.”

In addition, the diaries have been used by local actor John Nichol to create a one man play which will be performed at the County Hotel in Selkirk this weekend.

Dr Muir was an important figure within the town of Selkirk for over half a century and many people will have grown up hearing stories of him. His diaries offer a rare insight into the man and his work but also reference people, places and treatments which will doubtless stir feelings of nostalgia amongst the audience.

“The diaries have opened my eyes to a bygone Selkirk with unfamiliar and familiar place-names that I have been compelled to seek out and acquaint, and reacquaint, myself with,” said Mr Nichol.

“Particularly interesting to me were the links I found with Doctor Muir just by talking to people, who either remembered him or his family, or knew people connected with him.

“My father and my Aunt had their teeth extracted by him and I knew Doctor Muir's grandson, Stewart Roberts, who is referred to in the diaries as 'little Stewart'.”

John Nichol’s performance can be seen at The County Hotel, Selkirk on Friday February 24 (7pm) and Saturday February 25 (2.30pm). Tickets priced £4/£2.50 concession are available from The County Hotel, 01750 721233 (credit card bookings incur 50p transaction fee) or by visiting www.countyhotelselkirk.co.uk/events (a transaction fee may apply).

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