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Thursday, 24 April 2014

V is for Valour, Votes and Vital Statistics

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

V is for: 
Valour, Votes for Women
& Vital Statistics 

 War Memorials for men and  women killed in war are a poignant sight in every town and villages across the land and largely date from the First World War.   I have chosen to feature here memorials to valour from the earlier often forgotten conflict of the South African Boer War.  

In  1903, Head of the British Forces, Lord Roberts, unveiled the Boer War Memorial in Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick.  Twenty three men from Hawick and district died in the South African conflict and are named on the memorial. The inscription reads:"Erected by all classes of the Borderland in honour of the men of Hawick and district who fell in south Africa in the Great Boer War of 1899-1902 as a memorial of undying regard.

You do well to keep their memories green;  you do well to cherish the example they set, and to offer the only consolation to their relatives and friends that they have not given their lives in vain - that the object for which they fought has been accomplished." 

Above - a plaque in the  War Memorial Gardens in Kelso to honour Kelso born Sergeant Donald D Farmer who, at the age of 23,  was awarded the VICTORIA CROSS  for action in the Boer War. 
 Sgt. Donald Farmer VC 1st Cameron Highlanders
The Victoria Cross, instituted in the Crimean War,  is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.  Donald Farmer went onto serve in the First World War and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He died in 1956 aged 79. 


A suffragette meeting, at Towerknowe, Hawick in the Scottish Borders, 1909.
Note - the number of men there.
Photograph by permission of Scottish Borders Council Museum & Gallery Service
 from the Hawick Museum Collection.

We tend to associate suffragette marches with London  and the cities, but the scene above   was in the small mill  town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders (population  in 1911 - 16,877,  where women were an integral part of industrial life in the manufacture of tweed and knitwear. 

In February 1909 "The Hawick News" had a headline which read "Suffragette Invasion" - the occasion the campaign for the Border Burghs election. Emmeline Pankhurst, militant suffragette leader  addressed a crowded meeting in  Hawick Town Hall 1909.  A piper marched around the platform  and the audience sang the song "Votes for Women".

Rise, ye men of Border burghs.
Show yourself in your true colours
As you've done in days gone by
Stand by British Liberty
"Votes for Women" loudly defying
Stubborn foes you'll put to rout
Vote  and keep the Liberals out

IAnother largely unknown Borderer (at least in Britain)  is  writer, feminist and social reformer  Catherine Helen Spence (1835-1910), with a simple plaque commemorating her home on Melrose High Street.  

Catherine was the  daughter of Melrose lawyer David Spence, who emigrated with his family to Australia in 1839.  David Spence became  Adelaide's first town clerk.

Catherine was the first woman in Australia to stand as a political candidate, the first woman journalist and novelist, a battler for women's suffrage and social reform, and a lifelong campaigner for proportional representation. She played a key role in setting up the children's court system, wrote the first legal studies textbook to be published in Australia, earning the title of "Grand Old Woman of Australia".  She is commemorated in Adelaide by the Spence Archive of her papers and writings and by a statue   The  $5 banknote, celebrating the centenary of the federation of Australia, features her image.  

VITAL STATISTICS   [Source of Information- Scottish Borden Council]
  • The population of the Scottish Borders in 2012 was 123,710 - 2.1% of Scotland's population..  
  • There are  24 persons per square kilometre of land.
  • It is approx 52 miles across the region west to east and also north to south. 

  • Galashiels at the heart of the Borders,  population of 14,494,   has recently overtaken Hawick as the largest town. 
  • From Galashiels, ,the nearest city is Edinburgh (32 miles), and to the south into England  - Newcastle (74 miles)  and Carlisle (60 miles).
  • No motorway runs through the Scottish Borders region.
  • There are 1,243,748 sheep in the region.
  • Forestry accounts for  17.1% of the land area.

    My Scottish Borders - Home

    Follow the next stage of this
    A-Z Journey 
    through the Scottish Borders

    W is for:
    Walks, Waterloo and Wallace 

    Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

    A-Z Challenge Preview
    A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrong's
    A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
    A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
    A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
    A-Z Challenge E - Ellio's, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
    A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
    A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
    A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
    A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
    A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
    A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie   
    A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
    A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
    A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  
    A-Z Challenge O - Oxford Connections - Sir James Murray & Mary Somerville 
    A-Z Challenge P - Pele Towers and Princely Connections  
    A-Z Challenge Q - Queen of Scots and Queen of Elfland
    A-Z Challenge R - Rivers, Rugby and Rumbledethumps 
    A-Z Challenge S - Scott's, Sir Walter and 'Scott's View 
    A-Z Challenge T - Turnbull's and Thomas the Rhymer  
    A-Z Challenge U - US Presidential Connection, Unusual Sight & Unusual Facts  

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