The Newtons of Monifieth

The family of my great uncle Dr David McKenzie Newton (1881-1916) seem to deserve their own blog post, separate from his own story told in “Broughty Doctor Dies at Smyrna“. His elderly father was a well-known Dundee shipmaster, ship-owner and/or master mariner, associated with the clipper Pendragon. His elder brother was a mechanical engineer. A younger brother would marry into the Edinburgh Pillans family. It’s a nice set of ingredients that I’ll try to bake into a Dundee cake.

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Bricking it

Not only did I know nothing about my family’s brick-making business, it turns out that I knew nothing about bricks, and how brick-making, ironstone-mining, shale-oil and coal-mining were connected to those awful blaize / blaze / blaes school hockey and football pitches. Scottish kids like me who fell face-first onto this brutal surface will never forget it. You might have experienced the same thing on something you knew as a “cinder” track. But for me it will always be “blaes” (this spelling is new to me), though the word now conjours up more than just skint knees.

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A Toffee Triumph

On his wedding certificate (17th April 1913) my father’s uncle David (David Laughland Scobbie of Beechworth, Newarthill), was described as a brickwork salesman. But Elizabeth Mitchell, our family genealogy guru, noted that he was “owner of Triumph Confectionery, Wishaw”. And I vaguely recall that my father said his uncle and aunt “ran a sweetie shop”. Occasionally I’ve searched google half-heartedly to find out what he really was, but with no results. Time to find out more.
Spoiler alert: num-num-num!

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David Laughland Scobbie and Marion Young Dick

This was going to be just a set of photos, presenting images of a handsome boy who became a distinguished-looking man. He was my father’s Uncle David, whose ninety years and more spanned the major events of recent history (14 Jul 1886 – 25 Feb 1978). Even though I was a teenager by 1978, I never met him, or his wife Marion Young Dick (27 Aug 1884 – 30 Jul 1978). I’m not even sure how her name was pronounced. I’ve heard her name pronounced as if it started “Mary” with the vowel from FACE, rather than starting like “marry”, as would be expected.[1] This post is now more than photos. It’s a wee biography of the couple, and where they lived in Uddingston in Lanarkshire, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for others.

For David’s toffee factory in Craigneuk, Wishaw, go here.

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74 years officiating in Scottish forestry

Robert Paterson Galloway (1861-1936), pictured above, and his elder son Angus were both, as Edinburgh lawyers, major administrative figures in organisations representing forestry and arboricultural interests in Scotland, and provided stability and continuity as the secretary-treasurers of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society for 74 years, from 1895 to 1969. (The Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society as it was called in 1895 had been founded in 1854 and given a Royal Charter in 1887.) Robert was secretary and treasurer for 42 years! He died in 1936 aged 75, following an accident in Edinburgh in March 1935 in which he had been knocked down by a motor car.

We know something of their work and characters, because Robert was the subject of a glowing testimonial in the Transactions of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society to celebrate its 60th year, in 1914. His son Angus (1895-1971) likewise was lauded in an obituary in Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research in 1972 both for his service as secretary and treasurer for the RSFS (for 9 years jointly with his father) and also as the first holder of the same roles for the Society of Foresters of Great Britain for 27 years from its founding in in 1925 till 1962.

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Morningside Wedding, Morningside Funeral

Ebeth Scobbie married at 28 and was widowed at 33. As Mrs Ebeth Newton, she married again at 46, to a successful and well-regarded Edinburgh solicitor, Robert Galloway, also a widow. He was 69. Their wedding in 1930 was at Greenbank Church (near Robert’s home) in the south of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.

I assume Ebeth and Robert found happiness with each other – they had just each lived through a dozen or so years of widowhood, right through the 1920s. I wonder if their ages were a big talking point back then: there was a 23 year age gap, which I assume was  unusual. Is that Angus (Robert’s son) scowling in the background?! Or does just he just have a serious face? Well, Angus was just 11 years younger than Ebeth… and they were in the same generation, given that they had both “seen action” in the war. Maybe he was uncomfortable.

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