The Fairweather Family

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dad1Assistant Medical Superintendent of Mearnskirk Hospital 1929 - 1946

Medical Superintendent of Mearnskirk Hospital 1946 - 1961

Alexander Dale was born in Glasgow on 27th September 1901, the son of an assistant minister in the city. He graduated M.B., Ch.B. from the University of Glasgow in 1925. In 1929 he was appointed as Orthopaedic Surgeon and Assistant Superintendent to Dr Wilson. During the Second World War he acted as a General as well as an Orthopaedic Surgeon to civilian and service patients at Mearnskirk. Dr Dale became Superintendent of Mearnskirk on the death of Dr Wilson in 1946 and retired in 1961.

 

 


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djw1First Medical Superintendent of Mearnskirk Hospital 1929 - 1946

John Alexander Wilson was born in Ayr on 31st July 1886. He graduated M.B. CH.B. from Glasgow University in 1909.

During the First World War he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and rose to the rank of Captain. He was awarded the O.B.E. for the laboratory research work he did in association with Sir John Rose Bradford.

After the war he joined the Central laboratory of the Corporation of Glasgow and later transferred to the Tuberculosis Service where he was in charge of the Dispensary in Acorn Street in the East End of the City for many years. He was appointed to Mearnskirk in 1929 and also became Senior Lecturer on Clinical Tuberculosis at Glasgow University.

Dr Wilson frequently referred to his years in the East End of Glasgow. He knew the area well and had the highest regard for the people there, many of whom were real characters whose sayings and actions formed the basis for many humorous stories he told in later years.

Sir Alexander Macgregor, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Glasgow, said of him:

"I know of no man of whom it can be said with greater truth that his work was his life. He loved his hospital and everyone in it; he was rewarded by the deep affection and esteem of staff and patients alike. His happy disposition made him a popular figure especially with his child patients. As Superintendent  he was friendly and accessible, his success being in large degree due to the high personal standard of work and conduct he set for himself, which acted as a stimulus and example.”

Dr Wilson took a great interest in the grounds of the hospital and had several cement statues made and erected in the grounds for the children. Unfortunately they were affected by the environment and began to crumble and Dr Wilson had a wish that they could be replaced by a bronze statue of Peter Pan.

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The accessibility and love of his fellow man brought Dr Wilson many friends amongst whom was Alfred Ellsworth who visited the hospital regularly and never came empty handed. He made a promise to Dr Wilson before he died that, “ You will have your Peter Pan.”  Ellsworth raised the funds and the Peter Pan memorial was unveiled in memory of Dr Wilson on 3rd July 1949.


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Reverend George McLatchie D.D.  1757 - 1833  Minister of Mearns Parish

This head stone in Mearns Kirkyard commemorates the Reverend Doctor George McLatchie.

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George McLatchie was born on 5th April 1757, the eldest son of Robert McLatchie, a schoolmaster. Graduating M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1774 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow on 2nd December 1778. In 1786, he came to Mearns as assistant minister to the Rev. Alexander Cruikshanks and succeeded him on his death in 1791.  In 1808, he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Glasgow.

To put Dr. McLatchie into a historical context, he was 19 when the American Colonies declared independence, 32 when the Bastille was stormed and 35 when Louis XVl and Marie Antoinette were executed by the revolutionaries in Paris.

As the Parish Minister he was responsible for writing the First Statistical Account of the Parish. It was published in 1796 and is the first written record which fully describes all aspects of the parish. Given the times he lived in it must have been with some relief that he described the people of the parish as follows:

“The people of this parish are sober, industrious and economical; respectful to their superiors and uncommonly friendly and obliging. They are rational in their religious sentiments, and moderate in their religious zeal. All of them are strongly attached to our present  civil constitution and cautiously avoid giving countenance to any change or innovations in it. It is happy for them that they mind the duties and business of their own station and wish to enjoy with thankfulness and peace the many blessings which a kind providence bestows on them.”

Dr. McLatchie also described his own situation in the Account:

“....The stipend is five chaldres* of meal and £27.13s sterling of money. No augmentation of this has ever yet been demanded. The glebe consists of about 4 acres of arable land. A very good manse was built in 1789 and the church was fitted up in a very neat and commodious manner in 1792”

* A chalder was a Scottish dry measure containing 16 bolls, equivalent to 12 imperial quarters. It was originally used in weighing grain.

Although well provided for by Sir Michael Stewart of Blackhall who was his patron, Dr McLatchie augmented his income by tutoring young men who were aspiring to gain a university education. For a fee, these boys boarded at the manse in the healthy environment of Mearns and received a classical education. One of the boys was John Wilson, the son of a wealthy Paisley merchant. After tuition from Dr. McLatchie, John Wilson studied first at the University of Glasgow and then in 1803 he attended Magdalen College, Oxford University where he graduated with first class honours in 1807. He later attained a law degree and was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University in 1820. He  wrote using the pen name Christopher North and his reminiscences of idyllic days in Mearns were collected in volumes entitled "Recreations of Christopher North", published in 1842.

Dr McLatchie’s tombstone carries the following inscription:

“He was beloved as a Pastor and regretted by all who knew him”

 

 


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