Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The GORRIE Sisters, Scottish Suffragists


Belle, Mary and Beth GORRIE were the three daughters of Daniel GORRIE (1855-1898), Pharmaceutical Chemist in Perth and Edinburgh, by his wife Janet Bisset MACLAGAN (1854-1939); and so the younger sisters of Dr Peter GORRIE (1881-1942; see his separate blog on this blog-site), and the elder sisters of Robert Maclagan (Bob) GORRIE (1897-1970).


Their father, Daniel GORRIE (pictured above), was born in 1855, the elder son of Peter GORRIE, a Wire Worker and Engine Fitter of Glover Street, Perth, by his first wife Margaret McLAREN of Killin (see the later post on this blog-site concerning the "GORRIE Family of Condocloich").
Daniel began his Apprenticeship as a Pharmaceutical Chemist in Perth, and completed it in Edinburgh; he set up his own business as a Pharmaceutical Chemist at 31 Minto Street, and was recorded in Postal Directories with a house address at 12 Rosehall Terrace/117 Dalkieth Road from 1881-82 until 1890-91, at 2 Cameron Terrace (now the A6095 or Peffermill Road, about quarter of a mile south of Cameron Park, just north of Dalkieth Road) from 1892-93 until 1897-98, at 5 Mayfield Drive in 1898-99, and at 3 Cameron Park in 1899-1900 (clearly these publication dates were for prior occupation); the Valuation Rolls record him as the tenant and occupier of a house at 12 Rosehall Terrace, parish of St Cuthbert's, in 1885, a shop at 31 Minto Street, ditto, in 1885 and 1895, and a house at Cameron Terrace, Edinburgh, and another shop at 7 Rosebank Place in 1895;  he died at Cameron Terrace in Apr 1898, of a heart attack, aged 43.


Their mother, Mrs Janet GORRIE (pictured above), was born in 1854 in Perth, the eldest daughter of Robert MACLAGAN, Railways employee in Perth (and later Superintendent of the joint station at Perth) and Isabella CRICHTON; Janet was Directory listed at 3 Cameron Park from 1900-01; she was owner and occupier of the house at 3 Cameron Park, Edinburgh, Valuation Rolls for 1905, 1915 and 1925; and she moved to 7 Priestfield Road, Newington, about 1931; she died there in 1939.

The young family at Cameron Park left some trail of their activities, one of which was the "publication" of a family newspaper they called the Cameron City News, with contributions from "correspondents" identified only as P.G., B.G. and M.G.
A handwritten "edition" was among Donald GORRIE's family archives when I visited him and his wife Astrid at Garscube Terrace in 1983.
It made mention of Miss B. GORRIE, and referred to some activities attributed to Miss GORRIE, without identifying her by first name or initial, as follows (entries not necessarily now in chronological order):
"Cameron City News, 1898.
"...It has been proposed that Miss B. GORRIE should be sent to George Square. Miss GORRIE has been interviewed by a member of staff; she says she would like to go, but no arrangements have been made. She has no French, but in English she has been thoroughly grounded. It is hoped that Miss GORRIE will succeed in getting a place."
"...There is a rumour that Miss GORRIE will go to the theatre this week, but no further news has been received."
"...Miss GORRIE is studying for her German Exams."


[Melville House, on George Square, Edinburgh, home in the 1890s of George Watson's Ladies College. 
Miss B. GORRIE was probably being considered for enrolment here in 1898.
Image courtesy of wikipedia.]

As Beth was then only aged 7 (or 12), I suspect that this Miss B. GORRIE was probably Belle, then aged 15.
The subsequent references to Miss GORRIE were also probably Belle, although some may have been Mary.

Born and raised in Edinburgh, and fatherless from childhood, the three GORRIE sisters were independent women, none of whom married, and all of whom, in their early adulthood, strongly supported the rights of women to the electoral franchise - they were all members of the Edinburgh branch of the principal and militant women's group engaged in the Suffragist cause, the W.P.S.U. (Women's Political and Social Union - established by the PANKHURSTs), although they may not have been as militant as some of the membership.
It is evident that they participated in the 1911 Census Boycott, by attending an all-night "party" held at the Cafe Vegeteria, 3 Nicolson Street (near Bridge Street), Edinburgh.

Their further individual stories are told below.
__________________________________________________________________________

BELLE GORRIE.

Isabella Crichton (BelleGORRIE was born at 12 Rosehall Terrace, 117 Dalkeith Road, Newington, Edinburgh, on 22 Jan 1883.
She was named in the Scottish tradition for her maternal grandmother, Isabella CRICHTON, the wife of Robert MACLAGAN of Perth.


[Belle, with her brother Peter GORRIE, in 1887.]

Belle was aged 7, a Scholar, residing with her father, in the 1891 Census.
She moved with her family to Cameron Terrace (south of Cameron Park) ca 1892-93; to 5 Mayfield Drive ca 1898-99; and to 3 Cameron Park in 1899-1900.
Belle was aged 18, with her mother, 1901 Census, at 3 Cameron Park, Newington.


[Cameron Park, Edinburgh, ca 1916. 
The GORRIE residence, No 3, was probably the 4th gateway from the left, just beyond the lamp standard.]

There is some indication from on-line sources that Belle may have been involved in factory worker welfare in her early career.

Belle was actively engaged in the W.P.S.U., probably from about the time the Edinburgh branch was formed in 1908.


[Belle GORRIE, dressed as Mary Queen of Scots, as she appeared in the Grand Pageant in Edinburgh, 10 Oct 1909. Image from Beth GORRIE's photo album, now in the National Library of Scotland.]

She helped in the organisation of campaign meetings, spoke at a number of them, and was an active seller of the W.P.S.U. newspaper "Votes for Women."
The earliest mention yet found of Miss GORRIE in "Votes for Women" was in the 18 March 1910 issue, at page 15:
"Edinburgh and East of Scotland. - Preparations for Miss Mary GAWTHORPE's coming meetings at Dunfermline, Hawick and Edinburgh have occupied members during the week. Miss HAIG and Miss METHVEN have been organising the Dunfermline meetings, and a number of out-door meetings were held during the weekend by the Misses SCOTT. In Hawick, the work has been carried on by Miss MITCHELL and Miss GORRIE. Miss BURNS addressed a schoolroom meeting..."
Miss G. GORRIE was next mentioned in the 3 Jun 1910 issue of "Votes for Women" as speaker at a scheduled Campaign Meeting to be held at Jumper (? in error for Juniper) Green, 7 June, at 7.30 p.m. In the absence of any other likely contender, I presume this was probably in error for Miss B. GORRIE.
Belle was probably further named in speakers lists for campaign meetings as notified, under Campaign Reports from the Country, Edinburgh and East of Scotland, in the following issues:
17 June 1910 -  Sat 18 Jun, Uphall, Miss B. GORRIE and Miss SHORT, 8 p.m. (with Miss SHORT).
                          Tue 21 Jun, Aberdour, Miss B. GORRIE and Miss SHORT, 8 p.m.
1 July 1910 -     Sat 2 Jul, Boroughness, Miss B. GORRIE and Miss M. MITCHELL.
                          Wed 6 Jul, Gorebridge, Miss B. GORRIE and Miss [Edith] HUDSON.
12 August 1910 - Sat 13 Aug, Burntisland, Miss B. GORRIE and Miss M. GORRIE, 8 p.m.
26 August 1910 - Sat 27 Aug, Haddington, Miss B. GORRIE and Mrs FINLAYSON-GAULD, 8 p.m.
Further mentions were made of Belle in Edinburgh activities reported in the following issues of "Votes for Women":
5 Aug 1910:
"An open air campaign in Fife is being organised by Miss Lillias MITCHELL; Mrs FRASER SMITH, B.A., Miss B. GORRIE, and others, have volunteered as speakers..."
16 September 1910:
"The open air campaign has been prosecuted with great vigour by Miss H. HUDSON and others. Some hooliganism showed itself at Stockbridge, but Miss B. GORRIE pluckily held on, and at the end she sold a large number of 'Votes for Women'."
14 October 1910:
"The Organiser [Miss Lucy BURNS] on her return, found the summer work successfully closed, and the winter plans well in hand. Many thanks to Miss Wolsley HAIG, Miss HUDSON, Miss McFARLANE and Miss MITCHELL for carrying on the office and open-air works throughout; and to Miss B. GORRIE, Miss ELLSHILL and the Misses SCOTT for their assistance at speaking and paper selling."
4 November 1910:
"Members will be glad to learn that the staff will hereafter include a travelling organiser, who will arrange meetings in outlying towns. Miss Isabel GORRIE has consented to take up this work, which, it is expected, will open up hitherto untouched districts around Edinburgh."

In July, August and September of 1910, the W.P.S.U. ran a sales competition among the newspaper selling members; the results were published in the 28 October 1910 issue of "Votes for Women" - in Class B, for the greatest number of copies sold individually during the three months, the top three prizes went to sellers in England - Miss McKENZIE of Scarborough (1,797), Mrs AXED of North Kensington (1,652) and Miss Constance MARSDEN of South Kensington (1,448) - the next seven highest were awarded "mementoes", and at their head was Miss I.C. GORRIE, of 3 Cameron Park, Edinburgh (877 copies sold), the only Scottish seller so recognised.

Belle's profile in Edinburgh activities appear to taper off thereafter, and may have resulted from one or other of two factors - firstly, it appears that some friction had developed between her and the paid Organiser Miss Lucy BURNS (an American of Northern Irish extraction, who was appointed by Mrs PANKHURST to oversee the Edinburgh branch in Nov 1909), and that a number of the Edinburgh women supported Miss GORRIE, or sympathised with her in what they saw as the bad treatment she received at the hands of BURNS - and 2ndly, as we shall see next, Belle became a Civil Servant, and would certainly have had considerably less free time to contribute, and may have come under some employer pressure to reduce her risk of involvement in militant activity that might result in criminal prosecution.

Belle was appointed Assistant Inspector, National Health Insurance Commission, "...after limited competition" by notice published in the London Gazette, 1 November 1912. 
House of Commons Hansard reports relating to Parliamentary Question No 60 in the Votes, 17 October 1912, record that under the National Health Insurance Commission (Scotland), "Outdoor Staff", was a list of names of successful candidates, and their positions occupied prior to appointment as Health Insurance Officers, including Miss I.C. GORRIE, formerly Organizing Secretary, Scottish Domestic Servants' Association (and apparently as the predecessor to her sister Mary).
Belle held the Civil Service position until her retirement.


[A collage of abstracted images, likely to be of a camera shy Belle GORRIE, the first 3 taken in September 1917, 
the last probably much later, ca early-mid 1930s.
Taken from the Betty PIGOTT album (see below).] 

Belle travelled to America several times in later life. She sailed from Liverpool, 16 May 1925, on the S.S. Cedric for Boston, aged 41, a Civil Servant; and returned to Southampton on the S.S. Homeric, 4 July 1925 (both of the White Star Line). She sailed from Southampton, 4 September 1928, on the S.S. Leviathon (U.S. Line) for New York; returning from Montreal on the S.S. Athenia (Anchor and Donaldson Line), arriving Glasgow, 15 October 1928.

Belle resided at 3 Cameron Park, Newington, from about 1900; and moved with her mother to 7 Priestfield Road, Newington, in 1931, where she resided until her death.
Family lore suggests that she was a life-long adherent of the Christian Scientists.

Belle died at 7 Priestfield Road, 22 December 1954. Her details are recorded on the GORRIE family's Celtic cross at Newington Cemetery.


[The inscribed Celtic gross marking the GORRIE grave in Newington Cemetery, photographed in 1983.
Some stones there have since been laid flat, apparently on council orders, ostensibly for safety reasons.]
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MARY GORRIE.

Mary Nicoll GORRIE was born on 12 April 1886, also at 12 Rose Hall Terrace.
She was named for her father Daniel's step-mother, Mary NICOLL, the second wife of her late grandfather Peter GORRIE (1823-1874), an Engineer in Perth (his first wife, Margaret McLAREN, had died in 1867, when their son Daniel GORRIE was aged 12).

Mary was aged 14, a Scholar, with her mother, at 3 Cameron Park, 1901 Census.

Mary represented the character Kate BARLASS or BAR-THE-DOOR at the 1909 Grand Pageant in Edinburgh. She too joined the Edinburgh branch of the W.P.S.U.
She was named as speaker in scheduled campaign meetings in the following issues of "Votes for Women":
17 June 1910 - Friday 17 June, North Queensferry, Miss A. SCOTT and Miss M. GORRIE, 8 p.m.
                         Thur 23 June, Burntisland, Miss M. JONES and Miss  M. GORRIE.
1 July 1910 - Monday 4 July, Musselburgh, Miss CHAPMAN and Miss M. GORRIE.
12 August 1910 - Saturday 13 August, Burntisland, Miss B. GORRIE and Miss M. GORRIE, 8 p.m.
26 August 1910 - Friday 26 August, Swenhead, Miss M. GORRIE and Miss L. MITCHELL, 7.30 p.m.
14 July 1911 -   Friday 14 July, West End, Miss Mary GORRIE and Miss Lillian MITCHELL, 8 p.m.
21 July 1911 -   Saturday 22 July, Portobello, Miss WALLACE and Miss M. GORRIE.
28 July 1911 -   Saturday 29 July, Portobello, Miss WALLACE and Miss M. GORRIE.

There were a number of entries for Miss GORRIE, but whether for Belle or Mary is unclear, or perhaps even Beth (although this is probably less likely):
14 October 1910 - Saturday 16 October, East Linton, Miss MURRAY and Miss GORRIE, 7.30 p.m.
27 January 1911:
"Miss BURNS and Miss GORRIE are having a successful campaign of meetings in Berwickshire..."
5 May 1911:
"An open air campaign was held last week by Miss HUDSON and Miss GORRIE at Linlithgowshire... During the present week Miss GORRIE and Miss MITCHELL will continue the open air work in Selkirk and Roxburgh Shires..."
26 May 1911:
"...Miss MITCHELL and Miss GORRIE carried on at the same time an open air campaign on the Borders; progress has been made in this difficult district..."
16 June 1911:
"...Miss GORRIE, in her open air campaign in Berwickshire, has touched Duns, Coldingham, Derham, Berwick and Aston..."
14 July 1911:
"...Miss GORRIE is starting a fortnight campaign on the Clyde..."
4 August 1911:
"...Miss GORRIE is carrying on a successful tour in West Perthshire..."

Mary was appointed Secretary of the Scottish Domestic Servants Association on 30 January 1913 - she apparently filled the vacancy created when her older sister Belle took up her Civil Service appointment in November 1912.
There was a mention in the records of Mary having been "...a trained social worker."


[Mary on holidays at St Abbs, Berwickshire, Sep 1917.]
She helped to establish a retirement home for the membership, Home House, at Duddington.
Mary visited South Australia with her mother in 1929, to visit her brother Peter and his family; they left London on 1 May, on the S.S. Majola (Peninsular and Oriental Line), arriving at Adelaide on 4 Jun; Peter was then living at Mount Lofty; they began their return voyage from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide, on 18 Sep, on the S.S. Nestor (along with Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas MAWSON) bound for South Africa; and arrived back in Southampton on 24 November on the S.S. Demosthenes (White Star Line) from Durban.
Mary moved to 7 Priestfield Road, Newington, with her mother, in 1931.
On 4 January 1934, Mary arrived at Southampton on the S.S. Largs Bay (Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line) from Malta
In November 1938, Mary argued passionately in support of moves to extend pension entitlements to single women, during an appearance before a House of Commons Committee looking into Pensions for Spinsters at 55.
Mary moved with her sister Beth to 25 Ravelston Gardens, Edinburgh, in 1956.

She died at St Raphael's Home, Blackford Avenue, on 4 August 1959, late of 25 Ravelston Gardens.
________________________________________________________________________

BETH GORRIE.

Elizabeth Maclagan (Beth) GORRIE was born at 2 Cameron Terrace, Newington, on 7 October 1891.
She was named for her mother's paternal grandmother Betty SCRIMGEOUR (1795-1832) of Perth, the wife of Thomas MACLAGAN (1789-1849) a Weaver in Perth - but Betty was baptised as Beatrix, and her descendants appear to have presumed incorrectly that Betty was the diminutive of Elizabeth.

Beth was aged 9, a scholar, with her mother, 1901 Census.

She received her B.A. with Honours, 1915, Edinburgh University; while there, Beth was Secretary of the Edinburgh University Women's Suffrage Society, and of the University's Women Students' Union.
One published record [Elizabeth CRAWFORD's "Women's Suffrage Movement"] suggests that Beth was a member of the W.P.S.U. as early as 1908, and whilst this is not impossible, it this seems more likely that Miss B. GORRIE has been inadvertently mistaken as Beth when it was probably instead Belle.
However, and despite finding no corroborative evidence, Beth may have been the Organising Secretary of the Edinburgh Branch, W.P.S.U., in 1914.

Her brother Bob's diary records that she was "starting at college" on 12 October 1915 - which is not entirely consistent with her degree date - unless she went into residence to complete her Master's degree?


[Beth on holidays at St Abbs, Berwickshire, Sep 1917.]

Beth visited South Australia, ca 1920's, to visit her brother Peter.
She visited America in 1925, sailing from Glasgow, 19 Jun, on the S.S. Metagama (Canadian Pacific Line) for New York; and returning on the S.S. California, arriving Glasgow on 20 August.
Beth visited Australia again in 1932, arriving at Adelaide on 13 September 1932 on the S.S. Moldavia from Bombay; she was recorded as having been staying at Mount Lofty in September 1933; she appears to have gone on to America, eventually returning home to Glasgow on 17 May 1933, on the S.S. Ceramic (White Star Line) from New York.


[A recent "Real-Estate-Agency" image of Red Gables, Carlisle, now divided into residential apartments.]

Beth was Headmistress of the Girls School at Red Gables, 17 Chatsworth Square (on the corner of Currie Street), Carlisle.
Her tenure there involved several partnerships - one with Annie Leila WHIMSTER was dissolved on 1 March 1937, when Miss WHIMSTER withdrew; and another, with Anne Mitchell McLEISH, was dissolved by mutual consent on 7 November 1955, when Beth GORRIE withdrew, probably into retirement.

Beth moved to 35 Ravelston Gardens, Edinburgh, 1956, where she lived with her sister Mary.

She visited South Africa in 1960, departing from Southampton on 30 January, on the S.S. Dominion Monarch; she returned to Southampton on 20 May, on the S.S. Caernarvon Castle (Union Castle Line) from Durban.

Some of her Australian nephews and nieces visited her in Edinburgh in the late 1960s and early 1970s - they recall a hospitable old great-aunt, who entertained them at her "club", and had a particularly erratic driving style.

Beth died in Edinburgh on 11 May 1973.
________________________________________________________________________

Few identifiable photos of the GORRIE sisters are to be found in Australia.
Beth, who did visit Australia, was apparently a keen amateur photographer with a box-brownie budget. It appears that her album collection of photos (perhaps not all her own) of the Women's Suffrage era has survived, and is in the collections of the National Library of Scotland (perhaps mis-identified as that of Ellen GORRIE).
Some GORRIE family snaps did make it to Australia.
The following photographs are reproduced from small box-brownie type prints in the GORRIE family photograph album, formerly in possession of my late mother late Mrs Betty PIGOTT (alias GORRIE). They include several probably taken in Edinburgh, and a number taken in September 1917, while Bob GORRIE was on leave from his Regiment on the Western Front, and staying with his mother and sisters at St Abbs, Coldingham Shore, Berwickshire.


1. A family group at the front door of No3 Cameron Terrace, Newington, Edinburgh, 26 September 1913.
Mrs Isabella MACLAGAN (alias CRICHTON), seated front centre, celebrating her 82nd birthday; with her two daughters -  Mrs Margaret Ann SCOTT (alias MACLAGAN), standing left rear, and Mrs Janet GORRIE (alias MACLAGAN), seated at right)


2. Family group in Scotland, September 1917, just before Bob GORRIE returned to his Regiment on the Western Front.
Mrs Janet GORRIE (alias MACLAGAN) front row left; son Bob GORRIE behind her; with the three GORRIE sisters, Mary (front centre) and Belle (right), with Beth standing next to Bob.
Identifications confirmed by Janet MACLEOD-TROTTER of Morpeth (Bob's grand-daughter).
This photo may have been taken at St Abbs, or at 3 Cameron Park, shortly after their return.


THE HOLIDAY AT ST ABBS, BERWICKSHIRE, IN SEP 1917.



3. A picnic group in the garden, near the front door of the rented holiday cottage (the GORRIEs named it "The Best") at St Abbs, August-September 1917.
The smaller cottage on the right is known today as "The Beacon."


4. Mrs Janet GORRIE second from right at rear; Belle GORRIE far right; Mary GORRIE front row right (with dog); Beth on the right of the group standing at the rear, next to good friend Jenny McCREE (centre of standing group); Bob clutching his knees. 
Older woman on left probably Mrs McFARLANE; behatted woman between Bob and Mary probably Sheena McFARLANE. Photo taken at St Abbs, Berwickshire, August-September 1917.
The house in the background still exists, and is known today as "Castle Rock."


5. Mrs Janet GORRIE on the right almost obscured by daughter Belle on far right; Mary seated with dog; Beth possibly standing right, wearing a close fitting bonnet.
At St Abbs, August-September 1917, probably with members of the McFARLANE family.
Corner of "The Best" on the left; cottage now known as "Castle Rock" in the background on the right.


6. From left to right - Mary GORRIE, Bob GORRIE, Mrs Janet GORRIE; Beth GORRIE; Belle GORRIE; and unknown, possibly either Jenny MACREE or Auntie B. (probably a MACLAGAN).
The "...tea-fight in garden" at St Abbs, 10 August 1917.
Identifications by Janet MACLEOD-TROTTER of Morpeth.


7. The conversation has deteriorated. Mrs Janet GORRIE in hysterics far left, arm-in-arm with daughter, possibly Mary; Belle behind possibly Beth in centre.
Probably the "tea-fight" held in the garden at St Abbs, 10 August 1917 (from details in Bob's diary).


8. St Abbs Head, August-September 1917. A boating party, with 3 GORRIEs plus 1, 2 Miss CLARKES, and 2 boatmen.


9. "Lady Bob GORRIE, let loose on holidays" at St Abbs, August-September 1917.


10. "Pavlova" Bob still playing the lark, out front of "The Best" at St Abbs, August-September 1917.


10. The unknown launching the unknowable, with Bob GORRIE undoubtedly in the action, probably the blurred image in the centre, St Abbs, 11 August 1917. The figure in front may have been Beth GORRIE.
Believed to have been taken on the life-boat slipway, St Abbs, Harbour [see below].

SEVERAL OTHER COMPARATIVE PHOTOS OF ST ABBS.



[A photo of the St Abbs life-boat "Helen Smitton" (in service from 1910 to 1936) in St Abbs Harbour, probably taken from the same spot, or very close to it, as the above No 9.
Image courtesy of the www.shipshapenetwork.org.uk web-site.


[St Abbs Harbour - the launch pad in photo 9 may have been on the other side of the inner harbour wall, about where the life-boat slip-way disappears behind the stone wall, under the small white marker flag.]


[The Best, on St Abbs headland, in 2012, with its additional and enclosed porch; Castle Rock (the house and the geographical feature for which it was probably named) in the background. Image courtesy of google.maps.]

SOME LATER FAMILY PHOTOS IN THE SAME ALBUM.


11. A Farm (?) at Redsheugh, July 1923, with EASTERBROOKs and GORRIEs.
From left to right, and guessing - Belle GORRIE (with umbrella); looks more than just a bit like Peter GORRIE (but this is not possible if the photo was taken in 1923 - however, Peter was back in Scotland in 1932), so perhaps Bob, or an EASTERBROOK; ? Beth or Mary GORRIE (light clothing) unless instead Sydney EASTERBROOK; Mrs Janet GORRIE (in front of the chauffeur).


12. A GORRIE picnic above the Bristol Channel, July 1926.
Mary, Bob, Janet and Belle.


13. Another GORRIE picnic, at Gunwalloe, Cornwall, July 1926.
Janet, Mary and Bob.


14. And yet another GORRIE picnic, at Porthcurno, Cornwall, July 1926.
Bob, Belle, Janet and Mary.


15. On the Berwickshire coast, April 1927.
Mrs Janet GORRIE left of centre; Belle centre-right; and Mary on the right Fair haired woman on the left probably either Jenny McREE or Aunt B. (? MACLAGAN) or a Miss CLARKE.