Remembering historic women of the Clyde and Avon valleys #IWD2016
From doctors and nurses to honoured war volunteers, mythological ghosts and Ladies, women have played an equal role in shaping the Clyde and Avon valleys that we know and love today.
From doctors and nurses to honoured war volunteers, mythological ghosts and Ladies, women have played an equal role in shaping the Clyde and Avon valleys that we know and love today. To mark International Women’s Day 2016 #IWD2016, we asked our partners and local community groups if they could share stories of historic ladies important to their local sites and projects. In no particular order, they are:
Lady Mary Lockhart Ross (1777 – 1842)
Lady Mary Lockhart Ross of Bonnington Estate, now Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde Nature Reserve, implemented many improvements to the estate that we know and enjoy there today. These include the Lady Mary’s Well, a carved stone marking the mouth of a natural spring, Lady Mary’s Steps and the beautiful iron bridge over Bonnington Linn. These were enjoyed by a huge number of 19th century tourists who visited the majestic Falls as part of the ‘Petit Tour’ of Europe. Walk in Lady Mary Lockhart Ross’s steps by following the Historic Trail at Falls of Clyde.
Mrs Lucy E. Lee Dykes (1867 - ?)
Mrs Lucy E. Lee Dykes, who resided at East Overton House, Strathaven, was actively engaged in coordinating the work of the Avondale War Relief Fund Local Committee in Strathaven and the Red Cross, during the First World War. It was under her direction that money and supplies were regularly collected to provide comforts for local serving soldiers at the Western Front. In recognition of her war efforts, Mrs Lee Dykes was given the honour of unveiling the Strathaven War Memorial on 10 June 1920. At the unveiling, it was remarked that she had been selected for the honour, “ not only in recognition of the good she was constantly doing in their midst, but specially as a mark of appreciation of the noble work which the women of the parish, under her inspiration and guidance had done for the Red Cross during the War. That was work of which our women had much reason to be proud, and he trusted that steps would be taken to have a permanent record of it preserved." Find out more about Mrs Lee Dykes at Strathaven John Hastie Museum.
The ladies of Dalzell House
No proper castle is complete without a ghost story and Dalzell House is a bit spoiled for choice, with no fewer than 3 ghosts: a green lady, a white lady and a grey lady. The grey lady is supposedly a nurse from when the house was a hospital during and after the First World War. The green lady is said to be of oriental descent as there whiff of oriental perfume when she’s about. Finally, the white ghost was reputedly a maid servant who found herself with child and rather than face the consequences threw herself off the tower.
Eliza Ann Newman (1783 – 1816)
Did you know that Cambusnethan Priory, a gothic masterpiece in the Clyde Valley, was dedicated to a lady? Eliza, whose mother was from Hamilton, lived at Tetbury Park in Gloucestershire, the home of the Newman family, before marrying Robert Sinclair-Lockhart and moving to Cambusnethan House. 1816 was a tragic year for the family - their original 17th century manor house was burned to the ground in March and in April Eliza died while giving birth to her seventh child. The child survived and went on to marry, and to commemorate his beloved wife, Robert Sinclair Lockhart had her name inscribed on the plaque carved when building of the Priory commenced later that year, a plaque which can still be read today. It is a reminder of the hardship faced by everyone in those days, even those from families better off than others. Photo copyright James B. Brown
Dr Helen Sinclair MacDonald
Dr Helen Sinclair MacDonald was employed as the New Lanark village doctor from 1902-1904. She had enrolled at the London School of Medicine for Women at the Royal Free Hospital in the 1890s. Following a severe illness she moved to Glasgow to live with her brother and finished her studies at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, qualifying in 1900 as a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons. At this period, women doctors were still quite rare, and often faced prejudice. After working in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, she was employed by the mill company at New Lanark. At this time the population of the village was around 700. Her Medical Report for the year 31 May 1903 to 31 May 1904 survives in the archives and records that she made 1,714 home visits; there were 20 births and 9 deaths. Numerous testimonials bear witness to the fact that she was considered conscientious and skilled, with special knowledge and skills relating to women’s diseases and midwifery. She was held in high esteem and affection by the whole community.