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My Great Grandmother Jeannie McKechnie’s demise in the Asylum 1903-1952…

7 Jul

Gartloch3

Gartloch Asylum Glasgow.

Dear Miss Moir

It transpires that your Great Grandmother had a very long history of mental illness.  As the records are either not in a fit condition for copying or are in very heavy volumes, I have transcribed the salient passages.

She was admitted to Gartloch Asylum on 4 Dec 1903.  Her next of kin was recorded as being her husband.  Two doctors who examined her provided the following reports for the Sheriff of Glasgow (who authorised her admission):
1. “Incoherence of speech: thinks that her children are poisoned by her neighbours.  Voices continually speak to her.”
2. “She is dull, irritable & excitable & she is incoherent in her talk & has delusions of suspicion & persecution.  Her husband states that she neglects her household duties & has been very strange in conduct for several years.”

Her husband provided the following:

“Illness began 12 years ago – restlessness at night: would go away very early in the morning to see her father, leaving an infant.  Since lost oldest boy (14) in July last – he was accidentally drowned – has been much worse: thinks her neighbours had boy murdered for £100.  9 children, no miscarriages.”

On 25 Feb 1904 she was transferred to Govan Parish Asylum at Hawkhead (later re-named Leverndale) because under the Poor Law system Govan was the parish responsible for her.  The doctor who first examined her there wrote, “She is often unduly depressed and confessed that she is under the influence of delusions”.  She remained at Hawkhead, at least until 1917.  There is a gap in the records between 1917 and 1921.

On 30 Jul 1921 she was re-admitted to Hawkhead.  She is described on admission as a 55 years old widow, previously residing at Dalmary Cottage, Gartmore.  She is diagnosed as suffering from “Dementia secondary” and is said to have been insane for 18 years.

On 8 Oct 1929 she was transferred to the mental wards at the Southern General Hospital (also run by Govan Parish Council).  These wards were generally used to house chronic cases of incurable insanity, especially amongst elderly people.  Her next of kin is recorded as being her sister, Mrs Miller of 225 Holmlea Road, Cathcart.  She remained at the Southern General Hospital until her death, 1952.

I hope that this will help you.  Please bear in mind that it is very unlikely that we will be able to provide answers to whatever supplementary questions may occur to you.  For instance, the records do not state whether she was buried or cremated, nor by whom.  Nor do they indicate who visited her.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Tough

 

Tough

Mr Alistair Tough,

Greater Glasgow Health Board Archivist.

 

 

 

 

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How Finlaystone House changed the course of my life…

18 Jun

Finlaystone

Finlaystone House, Langbank, Scotland. Home of the Chief of Clan MacMillan…

Unsure of what to do when I left school, Mother saw an advertisement, Lady MacMillan, Finlaystone House, Langbank, looking for a gardener…went for an interview but she had already employed Benedict Thierrie, to work alongside Hugh Sweeny, head gardener. She asked if I could cook, and I said no, but was willing to learn.

 

I arrived at Finlaystone on my 18th Birthday, 25th October 1977.

 

Caroline Lucken taught me cookery and I quickly managed, with team work & Mrs Beaton’s Cook Book and Finlaystone’s wonderful cooker and Victorian kitchen, also garden work, bees and floristry.

 

Lady MacMillan wrote the menu out for the week on a little chalk board. Lady “M” had us making seasonal jams, marmalade, chutney, bottled fruits and honey. Lots of baking and fresh made bread. Little balls of butter made with butter pats and served in shell shaped dishes, cream skimmed from a big bowl of milk.

 

I met Richard Birch, Ranger at Finlaystone, and we kept in contact, enjoying some excellent botanising, bird watching and fossil hunting trips over the years. He is now Dr Richard Birch, Senior Ecologist.

 

One day in the news paper in the dining room I saw an advertisement for B.A. Degree Home Economics, my WORST subject at school, but exactly what I was learning at Finlaystone…applied & got accepted, so after a wonderful year with the MacMillans I left for Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh.

 

In the summer holidays, twice running, I went to Virginia USA to live, visit and work with & through Finlaystone friends of the family…Kay & John Pollard, the Oliva family, Laura MacMillan, Frances Ehrlich, Jane Baskerville, Lelani and Andrew MacMillan NYC.

 

Met my life long Virginian sweetheart and penfriend Wardell Carter.

 

Did not want to teach Home Economics, and on a trip back to Finlaystone, just before graduation, Judy Hutton asked me if I was interested in becoming a Preparatory School Matron, as her daughter Alice had had a job offer she did not need…I took the position and worked 10 wonderful years, 9 as House Matron, at the school Robin and Judy Hutton’s son and cousins had attended, Horris Hill.

 

Later, when I had my son James, I saw an advertisement for Horticulturist, and with my Finlaystone garden experience, I applied; 10 years Horticulturist in a lovely garden with Mrs Newton, who taught me so much, & I was able to take my son to work pre-school, and in school holidays.

 

As my walking deteriorated, as I was born with a dislocated right hip, James’ father David trained as a Tree Surgeon and I supported his business, my horticultural experience invaluable.

 

David, James and I visited Finlaystone with grandmother Doreen from New Zealand, and were greeted by Chief George and Jane MacMillan.

 

I still have so many dear friends connected with my year at Finlaystone, and keep in contact with the MacMillans every Christmas