'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Friday 11 November 2022

Dr Motley - The War Years Chapter 101

After qualifying in 1939 and passing his L.M.S.S.A. exams in London shortly before developing his own practice in Oxgangs, an external force was about to impact upon Arthur and millions of people throughout the world – Britain had declared war on Germany. They say it’s an ill-wind that blows no good, but for Arthur there was one positive outcome from Neville Chamberlain’s announcement on the 3rd September 1939 that Britain was at war with Germany. The War was about to affect the trajectory of the now Dr rather than Mr Arthur Philip Motley’s life. With him being so very recently qualified and inexperienced the War provided him with the opportunity to practice - to ‘experiment’ – to learn on the job so to speak - on young Forces’ personnel over the course of four or five years and all at a very fast pace. Whilst it may sound crude, having young and fit men to administer to would have been a useful learning ground and he would have had back-up too in terms of access to medical staff with far more experience than him – after all he had only recently qualified in the year that the War began – 1939 – and by the following year, 1940, he was part of the Royal Army Medical Corps - the R.A.M.C. One aspect of his new expertise as recorded in The Medical Directory was that he was experienced in venereology! In his capacity as a medical officer he could now learn on the job and develop his skills and knowledge as well as his bedside manner, especially as his patients would be mainly white. And it was from that experience that gave him the confidence that whilst in some parts of Edinburgh a colour bar remained, he would realise that it wasn’t a complete barrier to achieve his dream to become an Edinburgh doctor. We have very little information of the newly qualified Dr Motley’s time in the R.A.M.C. over the next five years or so other than he was appointed as a Lieutenant on the 27th September 1941 and whilst serving would have been made a Captain (Regular Army Emergency Commission). He was awarded the War Medal 1939-1945 and also the 1939-45 Star for operational service. The War Medal was awarded to all full time service personnel who had completed at least 28 days of service. The Star was awarded for operational service. What is interesting is that his record is on a U.S. World War II draft card, not a British one: he remained an American citizen and not British. However, what we can garner from the card are two further points. First of all, his point of contact is not his wife Annette in Edinburgh, but instead, his mother, Ethel – Mrs R.F. Motley back at 902 East Monroe Avenue McAlester City Oklahoma. Once again this is suggestive that neither his mother nor his father were aware that Arthur, aged 33 – at least according to the record card – actually 36 - was married. But in terms of his war service it denotes that his address is 13 General Hospital British Middle East Forces, so he is in all likelihood now abroad. That it doesn’t state a specific location is for reasons of security. Therefore not long after qualifying as a doctor, but with some limited first aid practical experience garnered from working in earlier years as the Honorary Medical Officer at the Colinton Mains First Aid Post, Dr Motley was conscripted into the Army. Aged 36 – not young for joining the army - and no doubt he would have lost a lot of general fitness since he last played American Football back at Lincoln University Pennsylvania over 13 years previously, so alongside all the other dramatic changes, the new lifestyle would have come as a bit of a cultural shock to him. Unlike many soldiers he was not only twice the age of many of the new recruits, but he was married, he was a father, he was American and he was Black. That would have made him stand out. But as is the way of Forces’ humour it would have stood him in good stead for the future after the War not only preparing himself for a future medical career but in dealing with the joshing and joking that would have gone on – army humour – his mates wouldn’t have been averse to giving him an un-PC nickname – but he would also have learnt that behind this, there was no often no real ill-will or malice toward him – instead he was one of the boys and it would have further developed his skills to ride the punches and win others over with his sense of good humour as well as his kindness and gentleness too. In 1941 he would have taken the long train journey from Edinburgh down to Aldershot to begin his medical training. Even today that journey takes around ten hours but back in 1941 it would have taken a great deal longer as the great steam engine puffed its way southwards from Scotland’s capital. Did Annette Motley and their daughter now aged 11 and about to start secondary school the following year see him off at Waverley Station or did they instead say their goodbyes earlier that autumn morning back at Colinton Mains Road just as Annette Junior set out for school. It would have been a very worrying time for the three of them. It would have been very scary for Dr Motley, but also for the two Annettes not knowing whether they would ever see their husband and father again – theoretically, that September morning of 1941 could have been their last time spent together. But instead we of course know that Dr Motley fortunately survived that terrible period in world history, but those were pivotal years for Annette Junior – when her father left Edinburgh she was but 11 years old; when his tenure in the Army ended she was aged around 16 - a key period in her life and one where most of the parenting duties fell upon her mother Annette. In its own way this must have impacted upon each of the different relationships within the family and does beg questions as to some of the information which Yvonne Herjholm provided decades later relating that the Annettes had a poor relationship with each other. But come the autumn of 1941 when Dr Motley set off on that long train journey it was moving toward the end of what had been an incredibly tough year for Britain testing her resilience to the full, particularly in the southern capital of London. The Blitz – German for lightning – only ended in the spring and the May of that year: a million houses in the capital had been damaged – a very heavy toll. Over that earlier eight month period over 40,000 civilians had been killed. Fortunately, on British soil there was now a slight reprieve as Hitler’s attention transferred to the Eastern Front and Operation Barbarossa. But when Dr Motley set off on that fresh autumn morning he would have had no idea as to where he might be posted. When Dr Motley joined the R.A.M.C. because it’s the autumn of 1941 we’re aware America had not yet entered the Second World War not doing so until the 8th December 1941 when it declared war on Japan and then three days later on the 11th December 1941 it declared war on Germany. And therefore strictly speaking, as an American citizen, Dr Motley could have left his Forces’ tenure for a further few months not joining up until the end of the year or indeed into the following year, 1942. On his arrival at the Royal Army Medical Corps Boyce Barracks, near Aldershot, Dr Motley joined the other new recruits for training, discipline, marching, PE and lectures. Clothing, kit and equipment were issued and he would have been given a service number. On the completion of training the new recruits were offered the privilege of a weekend pass to travel home after duty – from Friday evening through until Sunday night, but given how long that journey back and forth to Scotland would have taken and the difficulty of coordinating such a train journey I think it’s unlikely that Dr Motley would have been able to take advantage of this, tempting as it would have been. Whilst he would have been missing his wife and daughter, he will now also have gotten into a new pattern and to disturb that for but a few hours together would have been a tough call to make and disruptive too. And certainly for some soldiers who when they did report back to barracks some were told not to bother unpacking and instead were informed they were about to embark to begin their commissions. Based on Dr Motley’s U.S. World War II Service card we can assume that he was thereafter sent off to join the team at 13 General Hospital British Middle East Forces. There were over one hundred such hospitals and number 13 was initially established at Tidworth Park and Leeds Malmesbury, however by the time Dr Motley joined the unit they had moved out six months earlier to the British Military Hospital in Suez. Whilst Dr Motley would have initially had no idea where he was being sent to it’s most likely he would have sailed in a converted troop ship with thousands of other soldiers on board alongside dozens of doctors from the R.A.M.C. as well as dozens of nurses too. As their destination was Suez it would be via the Cape of Good Hope and then on to Egypt. Small tugs would have assisted the boat out of dock and as the ship set sail away from England’s shores, bands may well have seen them off as well as cheers from the remaining docked ships. Sailing beyond the River Mersey of The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemaker pop groups fame, England and Britain would slowly and gradually fade into the distance. The troop ship was supported from the enemy by accompanying destroyers and a fighter escort flew overhead too. Qualifying as he did as a doctor in London in 1939 not only would alter the course of the rest of Arthur Philip Motley’s life but it may also have helped save his life too. If he hadn’t passed the L.M.S.S.A. exams he otherwise might have found himself being conscripted and having to go off to fight the Germans rather than undertaking medical duties. The sea journey itself would have taken around two months so alongside the previous training at Aldershot he would have got to know many more of his colleagues on board and made new friendships. I’m unsure whether Dr Motley was a good passenger or not, but certainly I know that in later years as his newly founded Oxgangs practice developed and thrived he began to take regular cruises with his wife and I believe they enjoyed these trips very much. Indeed it was from one such trip that he became friendly with the world renowned thriller writer Ngaio Marsh who asked his permission to include him in one of her novels – a thriller which featured a ship’s doctor! On such a long journey there would have been occasions when there was more than just a gentle sea-spray especially when the ship sailed through the North Atlantic Ocean. Being the Forces they would have got into a new daily routine which apart from enjoying three square meals a day would have involved some drill work but outwith that there would have been plenty of time to try to keep fit and much leisure time to perhaps draft a letter home to loved ones, spend some time reading or studying or just lounging on deck enjoying the sunshine. The food was good – better than back home, but water was scarce – a bit ironic with millions of gallons of the stuff just below the ship, so there were no baths: as to whether they could rig up some home-made showers who knows, but they arrived in Egypt rather smelly. During the night so as not to attract enemy vessels or German aircraft there would have been a blackout in operation. Growing up in a country where there was still segregation in place Dr Motley would have come across a different type of segregation on board ship, with officers enjoying better conditions than the common soldier. The ship kept up a steady pace at between 16 and 21 knots. For most of the time he would have had to wear his life-jacket probably a Kapok which some soldiers used as a pillow. Being on board a ship that makes steady progress over the sea would have given Dr Motley much time for reflection although based on my experience of him, I’m unsure whether that was a significant part of his nature – I don’t think he was the philosophic or reflective type. But he would have worried not just about his own safety but also about the safety of his wife and daughter back home in Edinburgh. Although Edinburgh wasn’t at the heart of German bombing the way for example Clydebank, Glasgow or Coventry or Liverpool was, nevertheless it had been subject to irregular bombing from the start of the War in 1939. Indeed whilst he was stationed in Suez, as late as 1943 and only a few miles south of the Motley family home at Colinton Mains Road – both Annette’s may have heard the sound of the engines of an aircraft overhead on that foggy Oxgangs evening of 24 March 1943, of a four-man German crew including Oberstleutnant Fritz Förster had earlier embarked on a mission to bomb Leith Docks aimed at disrupting wartime naval traffic in and out of the busy port. Their Junker JU 88 had earlier left an airstrip near Paris and travelled up the Dutch North Sea coast before turning north-west towards the Firth of Forth. On their approach the crew failed to locate its target and decided to jettison their incendiary payload across farmland outside Edinburgh. But as they made their way south across the Pentlands, their plane struggled to clear the summit of Hare Hill and crashed into the hillside. Mr Förster and the other three crew were killed and the wreckage was scattered over a half-mile radius. When Lieutenant Motley was on deck during hot days under a glowing warm sun or in the evenings when he might glance up to the heavens and to the stars and to the moon, there must have been times when he thought of his wife and daughter back in Edinburgh, Scotland and whether he might ever see them again; and if he did what would he do when he returned to secure a future for them all. He must surely have thought too about his mother and father, Ethel and Frank, half way across the globe in Oklahoma. He recalled his boyhood and his youth and just how far he had sailed in life, but now he didn’t know whether his future journey would be either long or short. As the troop ship made its steady progress south, by the time the boat reached the north-west coast of Africa the men were issued with Forces’ tropical kit. Imagining Dr Motley in such attire brings a smile to my face. As I remarked and recalled in my introductory essay I say what a snappy dresser he was what with his fine suits, shirts and ties, but I don’t think tropical kit would have flattered him! Suez would not have been the first and only port of call and en-route the ship will have docked in other ports and countries. Sundays may have been the most delineated day of the week when a chaplain took a service on board: whether Dr Motley attended those services I’m unsure but given the precariousness of life at that time if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say yes. The journey to Suez was via the Cape of Good Hope. I’ve rationalised this for two reasons - firstly because the Germans and the Italians commanded the Mediterranean and secondly because of the story he told my mother of how he couldn’t go ashore in South Africa for fear of being lynched: for a while I’d slightly doubted the validity of this story but I now believe the opposite and that this would have been the only occasion he was ever in the vicinity and the port of Cape Town. It also answers two earlier puzzles. When I’d kicked off his story I had wondered whether he had been employed or commissioned as a ship’s doctor and thus in the Royal Navy which of course cast further doubt, but I now realise the occasion of his tale arose from when the troop ship was transporting members of His Majesty’s Services en-route to Suez. Some of the troops of course would have embarked for duty in this part of the continent. After leaving Cape Town and circling the Cape of Good Hope the ship headed north passing the opening to the Red Sea and then onward to enter the Gulf of Suez.

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Morgyn the Mighty #1

I’m very rarely on the Oxgangs Blogger (forerunner to the Facebook group) page but I happened to visit it a week or two back. I came across this comment from a Phil Mouldycliff. Similar to Phil this story from early 1965 absolutely fired my 9 year old imagination and remained with me throughout the decades. I’d be up at Ewart’s first thing on Monday morning hopping about in the shop whilst a bemused patient Ian would find me my copy. 😂 The story is brilliant as is the artwork. It was clearly a life-transforming few months for Phil. It’s taken a wee while to track down the series in my library. But now that I’ve done so I aim to post one episode daily over the next 11 days and for those interested will share the link to the Oxgangs Facebook page. (I’m assuming I can still remember how to post each blog on Blogger! 🙄) Hi Peter, Just belatedly caught sight of your blog relating to the story in the Victor back in '64 in which Morgyn the Mighty goes to an island full of strongmen battling to the death. This proved to be the inspiration for me to want to become a commercial artist and I have always wanted to rekindle my memories of that particular story. You mention in your blog that you have a complete run of the adventure. Would it be possible for me to get hold of a copy? Phil Mouldycliff.

Monday 21 February 2022

Gemmell's Dairy

Back in the winter Friday 3rd Decemebr 2021 we'd missed a comment about Gemmel's Dairy. We thought we might share it - the author is someone called Ace - Ace by name and ace by comment! 😂😂 'I also worked at Gemmell's Dairy on Morningside Road: this would have been in the late 50s early 60s. If my mind is clear I believe Mr. Gemmell was the owner there when I started then a Cyril Smith bought the place. I delivered milk in the morning and worked in the shop in the afternoon. When the snow was really bad Mr Gemmell would drive us around with a trailer on the back of his car while a couple of us would deliver the milk. What stuck in my mind was the car had running boards and Mr. Gemmell allowed us to stand on the running boards and hang on: it was exciting for a young lad like myself. When I was around 18 I got my own little shop with milk delivery.
Murchies Creamery was our supplier. I remember the Edinburgh and Dumfriesshire used electric milk wagons and the co-op still used horse and cart.'


Toward the end of 2021 OXGANGS – A Capital Tale became available in hardback for the first time, however the font was slightly small. To overcome this the book has now been released in two separate volumes, each with over 300 pages and many illustrations and photographs. Herewith an exclusive extract:
Chapter 203 Running on Empty - Being Ill and the Sights and the Sounds of Oxgangs When we were young we were only occasionally ever ill and off Hunters Tryst Primary School. We never stayed off long, primarily because we were easily bored. There was not much in the way of daytime television. Sometimes to keep myself occupied I might note down the number of Mini cars I could see going up or down Oxgangs Road. I was always fascinated too by the large lorries heading into town travelling down to the Edinburgh Meat Market at Chesser carrying livestock, mainly sheep and occasionally cattle too. Also there were the Bain’s lorries taking meat to outlying butcher shops. When I saw these I exercised my imagination to go off to visit country towns and byways such as Dalkeith and the towns of Border. Sometimes I could hear the Army up at the firing ranges on the Pentlands with the sounds of gunfire echoing throughout our haven in the lea of the hills. And one further piece of interest and excitement that I might see from the sitting room window was the small platoons of soldiers out running improving and maintaining their general fitness as they did a loop from Redford Barracks to Firrhill, downhill passed the stables and Colinton Mains shops and along Colinton Mains Drive before tackling the tough lung-bursting hill section up Oxgangs Road before turning right into and down Redford Road and in sight of home.

Miss Sulley

Over the years since initiating the Oxgangs Facebook page there’s been perhaps 3 elusive photographs we’ve sought out. One was the Hunters Tryst team which won the 1964 Edinburgh School Board Cup - it eventually came through the ether. A second was of Miss Sulley. Similarly an elusive photograph eventually appeared - a group picture of the teaching staff. But a missing photograph remains, that of the National Garage, Colinton Mains Drive. Yesterday morning a lovely wee surprise came through the mailbox - not of the garage, but if anyone has one! - but instead featuring a charming wee story nicely encapsulating a local legend in her ‘new career’ including the first individual photograph, a rather lovely one too. Herewith the e-mail - enjoy! 'Hi, Please find attached a photo of my Aunt Liz. Not the world's best photo I'm afraid, but it does show her rather 'eclectic' taste in dress. Sorry for the massive delay in sending this picture. It was taken by my father at Rutland Water (down south) around 1983. Liz latterly lived up on Darnell Road in Trinity on the north side. Well after Liz had retired from teaching she continued to do a paper round for the local corner shop (Joe's) using her old Raleigh-20 bicycle. She was loved by almost everybody she came into contact with, although I was a little scared of her when I was a kid - Liz was like no other person I knew! I'll try and send you some more stuff soon ... Best regards, Ralph

Friday 28 May 2021

At the Last Gasp!

So, Arthur is at last a doctor – Dr Arthur Philip Motley. But how did he finally get there?

I’ve alluded to that within the letter to Betty Verrill: Arthur had eventually qualified as a doctor through taking the somewhat unusual and unorthodox route of the L.S.S.M.A. examinations in 1939. Given he was now 35 years old and with the outbreak of the War it was very much at the last gasp.

As to whether this was through a period of self-study whilst he continued to work at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary or whether it was by also combining this with some studies through the Society of Worshipful Apothecaries; the Royal College of Physicians; or the Royal College of Surgeons I don’t know.

However, I was finally able to obtain some specific detailed information. 

After the Corona-virus Lockdown, on the 17th May 2021, I received a brief e-mail from Janet Payne the Archive Officer at The Society of Apothecaries (London) writing to me to say that the staff had now been able to return to the Apothecaries' Hall. 

Attached to Janet‘s note was Arthur Phillip Motley’s examination results in both Surgery and in Medicine.

Arthur sat the Surgery examinations – a written paper on Monday 14th March 1938 and then three days later an oral exam  thus giving him two days in between each set of examinations to study and prepare. 

As can be seen from the results he scraped through in them all. 

The combined marks in Clinical Written and Oral were 51 with 50 being a pass - whew, that one was close! 

In Surgical Anatomy and Operative Manipulation combined with Instruments, Bandaging and Appliances his combined marks were 80 with a pass being 75 so once again the margins were slim. Whilst in Surgery he scored 106 with 100 being the pass mark and finally in Surgical Pathology he scored 57 with the pass being 50. 

This new information was helpful and insightful from two particular angles. 

It provided a further insight into Arthur's life during the mid-1930s as to what he was doing. 

Arthur hadn't given up on his dream to become a doctor and was preparing to re-vitalise this ambition. 

And second, it also confirms the overall view that whilst he was a wonderful family doctor in many different ways, academically he wasn’t a student of the first rank in terms of either his medical knowledge and abilities.

The successful results of March 1938 now gave him the impetus and stimulus to study for a further 18 months to prepare for the second set of examinations - The Society of Apothecaries of London Examination in Medicine which he would need to undertake in October 1939.

To an extent we are still somewhat in the dark as to what he was doing alongside studying for these tough examinations. 

We know that around 1936 the family had moved from Leith Walk out to 356 Colinton Mains Road. 

He was most probably also gaining practical experience as the voluntary Honorary Medical Officer for the Colinton Mains First Aid Post.

Meanwhile, his daughter, Annette Junior, is now aged around 9 years of age and enjoying attending ‘George Square School' (George Watson’s Ladies College). 

That was a significant expense - it's a private education and we don’t know with any real certainty quite how Arthur is supporting the family including enabling the purchase of their new house. 

And as mentioned earlier, whilst the 1935 U.S. Census records him as working in Edinburgh at the Royal Hospital Edinburgh as a medical intern this seems odd because to be a medical intern would entail having passed his medical degree and of course we are aware that Arthur left the University of Edinburgh back in 1930 without ever qualifying.

So, whilst it was a lovely and exciting time in his life with a young family living in their own home set adjacent to local farms in a new housing development on the southern edge of the capital amongst the fresh and healthy air of the Pentland Hills it would have been a worrying and stressful period of time for him too.

He wasn’t getting any younger – after all he was now 35 and he still hadn’t fulfilled his dream of qualifying to become a doctor. 

The clock was ticking. 

But as 1938 moved into 1939 there was the balm that at last he was within touching distance of reaching his goal: there was the satisfaction and motivation of passing examination part one leaving part two come the mid-autumn; thus amongst competing priorities, he had to keep the main thing the main thing and focus on passing the final examination in medicine 

But outwith Arthur's small world immense things were also occurring on the global stage which would impinge upon him and his family with the potential to blow all of their plans off course.

Arthur wasn’t the worrying type and neither was he overly interested in politics but even he couldn't but be aware of what was happening on the world stage, even if he thought it might never affect him in little old, young Colinton Mains Edinburgh.

And he couldn't but be aware of what was happening in Germany at the time.

But as an American he perhaps remained partly unconcerned and not overly-worried as to what may or may not happen and like millions of the British people  any doubts he had may have been assuaged as to the unlikely possibility of war by the 1938 Munich Agreement signed between Germany and Britain: like most every adult in the country he would have seen the photograph of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain shaking hands with Adolf Hitler in Munich or the photograph taken at Heston Aerodrome of Chamberlain on his return to the United Kingdom waving the Peace in our Time Agreement which would have appeared in Arthur’s copy of The Scotsman newspaper.

Arthur kept his head down during the spring and summer of 1939 studying hard whilst continuing to support his family and enjoying their life together.

The examinations were to be held in October. 

However, a month before he would sit them, like millions of other Britons, on the 3rd of September 1939 he would have heard the quite shocking news – this only a month before he was due to travel by train down to London to sit the all important Examination in Medicine - the chilling words that came across the airwaves from the British Prime Minister - ‘This morning the British ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.'

Thus two days after Germany had invaded Poland the UK had declared war, with France thereafter following suit.

Even for someone so uninterested in politics and a man who was always quite laid back and relaxed this must have rocked Arthur to the core. 

He may now have wondered whether having travelled so very far he was now to be foiled at the last as to whether the examinations would even go ahead - not the best of preparations for an intense period of study.

But fortunately for all the key stakeholders involved, they clearly did go ahead. And he needed to hold his nerve and to focus to finally get over the line.

The examinations did indeed take place and once again Arthur scraped through each specialism – Medicine and Therapeutics; Pathology; Forensic Medicine and Hygiene; and finally Midwifery.

Overall he needed a combined mark of 150 to pass and therefore become, at the last gasp, a doctor – and his mark? – 157!

Thereafter, on that fateful late autumn morning when the postman arrived on his doorstep and the Apothecaries Society of London envelope was delivered through the letter-box of 356 Colinton Main Drive notifying him that he had successfully passed his examinations with the news that he was now a qualified doctor there must have been great whoops of excitement and joy throughout the household!

Instinctively, the person he would have wished most of all to share the wonderful happy news with, would have been his greatest supporter, his 57 year old mother, Ethel, back in McAlester City Oklahoma.

Surely, he would have dashed along to the post office at Colinton Mains and sent her a telegram, signed simply, 'DR. Arthur Phillip Motley'!

Monday 26 April 2021

Another Time, Another Place


Dr Arthur Philip Motley

Pat-Paddy Corry My mother was devastated when she had to leave the surgery as we were living too far away. When I was 17 and went to live in the States he came to the flat and had a long chat with me about the difficulties I might face. How good you and your family were to him. 

I remember tea at Jenners being a very special treat, sitting near a window to see the view. More often it was a film and high tea at the Playhouse. Remember I am talking about the 1950s! We must have been seeing Dr Motley before your flats were built! We saw Dr Motley from the very early 50s. I remember my mother looking at all the building going on and saying how clever he had been settling there. His practice must have grown tremendously.

Peter Hoffmann Yes, I think you're right Pat in that he appears to have got rid of the small branch practice at Gorgie Road circa 1947 perhaps recognising the potential, but serendipity too moving to Colinton Mains circa 1936. The NHS general practices were paid on a capitation basis so yes it would have become lucrative - a long way and a long journey from his recent ancestors working in the cotton fields in The Deep South.

Pat-Paddy Corry with her aunt at Duddingston Camp

Pat-Paddy Corry Thank you for bringing him back to me. Did you know that our connection with him started in Duddingston Camp? (Note the Duddingston Camp was one of the camps in Edinburgh that provided temporary housing for the homeless who were not eligible for Council Housing, following the end of World War 2.) When we came from Auchtermuchty to Edinburgh in 1947, we had to stay in Duddingston Camp in a hut. You didn't get a whole hut. As a family of four we got 2/3 (two-thirds) and a mother and her daughter got the rest bricked off of course. 

We had cold water, electricity and communal baths and toilets. It was awful for my mother but I loved it. There was acres of grass to play on, trees to climb and loads of children to play with. But we were viewed with horror. 

At school I was the only one from the camp to get in. I was initially resented or pitied until I proved myself. I cut my foot badly one evening. The National Health Service had just started and people were thrilled to see me set off for a free doctor‘s visit. My foot was stitched and a little later the doctor committed suicide. His wife couldn't come to terms with her husband not working privately any more and having to deal with the riff-raff. 

I thought it was my fault, going from the camp to his house in the evening. I don‘t know how my mother got hold of Doctor Motley but he came to the camp for a house visit. My mother and sister had lots of health problems. I remember following him out and asking him to please not kill himself. I'll never forget the look on his face. He told me that not only would he not kill himself, he'd come back to torment me. He gave me a sweet he had in his pocket - they were still rationed - and we parted with laughter. 

We moved soon after to a respectable address where we had to play on the street, and he remained our doctor until, I think, the late 60s or early 70s when he no longer could cope with patients so far away. My mother never did find another doctor she liked. It was always a case of: "Well, he‘s not Dr Motley."

Please note my father‘s little garden where he grew a few flowers so I could take them to the teacher like other children.

Peter Hoffmann Thanks for this Pat - I must add this to Two Worlds - fascinating and so interesting that he was the Camp’s doctor.

Pat-Paddy Corry I don't know if he was the Camp‘s doctor or whether my mother managed to get hold of him privately. She went to work for the Tory Party. That‘s how I got into Portobello School. We also got the flat in Montgomery Street after two years in the Camp and I was still able to stay at the same school even though I was miles out of the area. A lot of strings were pulled. I think Dr Motley only came to us. He was very brave because of his colour. There was no-one of colour in the Camp and he was the first black man I ever met. So I am sure he was not the Camp doctor and came out of area. Montgomery Street was totally different - a complete mixture of nationalities and colour. Sorry to disappoint you. Perhaps in those days, he didn't have so many patients (pre 1950) and was willing to travel. As far as I know we didn't visit him until we went to Montgomery Street. I‘m so sorry if I confused you.

Peter Hoffmann No not at all Pat - all very helpful and interesting helping to give a more rounded picture of his life - I’m greatly enjoying reading your memories of him. 

Pat-Paddy Corry I now remember a second visit to the Camp by Dr Motley. He came to see my mother. When he was leaving, my father was shouting at my sister and me. He went back into the hut and told my mother to get out of bed as Dad wasn't fit to look after us. It was a bit unfair to my dad who did shout a bit but never laid a hand on us unless Mum stood over us and made him. He then made a big show of it and I knew I had to cry but he never hurt me.

Peter Hoffmann Thanks for the clarification - I'd assumed it was your mother. As Jessie Kesson might remark, from a number of different angles, such a fascinating insight into 'another time, another place' indeed, another world.