Sir James Reid KCB, GCVO, MD, FRCP

James Reid was the son of a country doctor. His father was a General Practitioner in Ellon. He was born in 1849 at the Chestnuts - the Ellon house that was to be his home for the majority of his life. He attended the local school and in 1872 graduated from Aberdeen University in medicine as the best student of his year. He studied further in London and Vienna before returning to join his father’s practice in Ellon. In 1881,  Queen Victoria appointed him as medical attendant and later as her Physician-in-Ordinary - a position he filled with great distinction to three sovereigns viz Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V. He filled at least some of the criteria she had set in looking for a replacement for Dr William Marshall. He was a Scotsman from Aberdeenshire, spoke German and was exceptionally well qualified.

Over the years, Reid became not only Queen Victoria’s doctor but her adviser and confidant. He travelled with her in Britain and throughout the Empire and to her late husband’s and her own relatives in Europe. He was knighted in 1896.


In 1899, he married  the youngest daughter of the 1st Baron Ravelstoke, Hon Susan Baring, who was at the time a Maid of Honour to Queen Victoria. They had four children - Edward (later Sir Edward), John (later Vice Admiral John Peter Lorne Reid), Margaret and Victoria (later Victoria Ingrams). Both girls were talented musicians.

After Queen Victoria’s death, Sir James continued to be medical consultant to King Edward VII and attended to him in his last illness in 1909. Subsequently he was medical adviser to King George V and continued to serve the extended royal family until his death in 1923.

Sir James Reid died in 1923 aged 73. He was regarded as one of the great Victorians. His home in Ellon was the Chestnuts. When he moved in he joined together his father’s old house (The Chestnuts) and the house next door which was called Cosy Neuk.

The story of Sir James Reid and his career as Physician to the Royals is told by the wife, Lady  Michaela Reid, of his grandson, Sir Alexander Reid, 3rd Baronet.


ASK SIR JAMES

By

MICHAELA REID

ELAND PRESS

ISBN

0-907871-52-6

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Sir James McDonald of Rhodesia KCB OBE

The story of Sir James McDonald is both remarkable and romantic. He was the son of Hugh McDonald, the Land Steward at Ellon Castle and his wife Johanna (Tough). He was educated at the local school and at Robert Gordon’s College. As a young man he set off in 1890 for South Africa. In time he progressed in agriculture and in mining so that he was the right hand man to Cecil Rhodes. He was the manager of the Rhodes Matopos and Inyanga Estates. Eventually, he became the General Manager of the Goldfields Rhodesian Development Company. He was the confidential adviser of local politicians and mining directors. He was Chairman of Mines, Rhodesia and the Beit Trustees. In 1929, his immense contribution to the service of the British Government was recognised with a knighthood. During World War II, Sir James, then in his seventies,  volunteered for the Home Guard and was an Intelligence Officer in his native Aberdeenshire. Following his retirement, Sir James spent half of the year in Ellon and half in Rhodesia. He had a permanent apartment in the Station Hotel, Ellon to which he returned each year.

Sir Edward Reid and Ellon Castle

Edward (Ned)Reid 1901 - 1972 was the elder son of Sir James and Lady Reid. He was born in 1901 and brought up in Ellon. He was page of honour at the coronation of King Edward VIII and was indeed his godson. He won a scholarship to Eton where he excelled and subsequently went to King’s College Cambridge where he gained a First in Classics. He pursued a career as a Merchant banker. He bought Ellon Castle in 1929 from a London businessman - Sir Frederick Becker. In effect what he bought was the

former servants’ quarters since the main part of the castle had been demolished by Sir Frederick ie the part on the left of the picture. The castle was sold in 1973 to Ian McDonald - a property speculator and in 1983 was bought by Albert & Elizabeth Tawse. The present owner is Dr Donaldson.

Sir Edward married Tatiana Fenoult and they had two children - Susan and Alexander who became Sir Alexander James Reid, 3rd Bt on the death of his father in 1972.

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Victoria Ingrams

Victoria Ingrams was the younger daughter of Sir James Reid, Physician to Queen Victoria, and his wife Susan Baring. Susan Baring had been a Maid of Honour to Queen Victoria and was daughter of the 1st Lord Ravelstoke. She was educated at St Paul’s school where she showed an inclination and talent for music. (A talent that she passed on to each of her four sons). As a nurse at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, Victoria was impressed by the way in which Catholics dealt with death and suffering and converted to Catholicism in 1932. She regretted, however, that she could not practice her faith when on holiday in Ellon. In 1935, she married Leonard St Clair Ingrams, a financier, who flitted around Europe in his private airplane. They had four sons - Peter John, Richard, Rupert and Leonard. Since her husband was Anglican, PJ and Rupert were brought up as Catholics and Richard and Leonard as Anglicans. So determined was Victoria to establish a Catholic Church in Ellon that she rented a vacant property from Mitchell and Rae in Ellon Square and with a small congregation, Mass was held on 26th August 1934 - the first in Ellon since the Reformation in 1560. Eventually, the lease expired and Victoria begged her mother for the use of the Coach House or garage at The Chestnuts. This she converted into a chapel which was in use right up to the 1990s when a new chapel was built. Victoria died in 1997 aged 89.

Mr James Whiteley

Originally from Sowerby in Yorkshire, Mr James Whiteley was recommended to Ellon St Mary’s Church by the Organ builder (William Adlington) who built their first organ. That was in 1886 and Mr Whiteley remained the organist there for the next 52 years. He had a piano shop in the Square and taught music. He was also a developer in the Commercial Road area and built Corndavon which was the family home. He was also very active in the community as a music teacher and sportsman. His son Archibald Whiteley was the Headmaster at Monymusk School and his grandson Jon Whiteley is fondly remembered as the child star of the film “The Kidnappers”.

Victoria’s son Richard Ingrams was co-founder and second editor of Private Eye and the founder and editor of the magazine “The Oldie”. Like his mother and brothers he is a talented musician - playing the cello and  the organ in his local church.

Susan Baring, Sir James’s wife was a member of the banking family who founded Barings Bank. Her son Leonard joined the Bank. He was also a successful opera impresario.

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Victoria Ingrams with her son Richard

He was a generous man and in 1926, he gifted part of the Castle policies to the people of Ellon. This was in fact what is now known as the McDonald Park and the back nine holes of the golf course. In the foundation stone or monolith at the entrance to McDonald Park, he says that it had long been the wish of his parents - Hugh and Johanna that the people of Ellon should have a pleasure park.

McDonald Park Inscription

THIS PARK WAS PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE OF ELLON IN 1926 BY JAMES GORDON MCDONALD OF RHODESIA IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER HUGH & JOHANNA MCDONALD WHO LIVED WITHIN SIGHT OF THIS MONUMENT FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS. THEY LONG DESIRED TO SEE ELLON IN POSSESION OF A PLEASURE GROUND AND THAT WISH HAS NOW BEEN ACHIEVED

In addition to the monolith, there is a second stone in the McDonald Park which commemorates the coronation of King George VI and his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The stone was gifted by Sir James and is another sign of his generosity. Incidentally, he left the lease of the McDonald Park to Barnardo’s Homes and in the 1990s these were sold and bought by the then Gordon District Council and in 1996 were taken over by Aberdeenshire Council.

THIS CORONATION STONE WAS SET UP BY SIR JAMES GORDON MCDONALD OF RHODESIA TO COMMEMORATE THE CORONATION OF GEORGE VI AND ELIZABETH HIS SCOTTISH QUEEN

MAY 12th 1937


Sir James died in December 1942 when the ship he was travelling in “The Ceramic” was hit by a torpedo when heading for South Africa. He wrote several books among which were “Rhodes- a Life” published in 1927 and “Rhodes - A Heritage” published after his death in 1943.

The photo on the right taken about 1940 is of Sir James & Lady Reid’s grandchildren.  The boy who is second from the left (Sandy) - now Sir Alexander Reid and the girl 4th from the left is Susan. These two were the children of Edward (Sir Edward Reid).

I think that the boy on the extreme left is Peter and to his left is Richard - both sons of Victoria and Leonard Ingrams. I would appreciate help in identifying all of these grandchildren.


AIC

Dr Andrew Fowler MB CM MD TD 1853-1927

Dr Andrew Fowler who was for many years a much loved GP in Ellon lived at Arnha in Station Road. From there he doctored for 44 years to the people of Ellon and much of the surrounding area. He was born at Brodaich in the parish of Skene on 24 May 1853 - the son of Andrew Fowler, farmer and merchant and his wife Agnes Smith. He was educated at Aberdeen GS and Aberdeen University. He visited his patients by horse and trap and in due course by motorcar.

The picture shows Dr Fowler as an officer in the RAMC attached to the Gordon Highlanders. He was gazetted Surgeon as a Lieutenant in the Volunteer Forces, 2nd Volunteer Batallion Gordon Highlanders, on 29 July 1896. On 1 April 1908 he was promoted Captain, Volunteer Forces RAMC. Throughout WWI, he served at Bridge of Don barracks.

Dr Fowler is remembered for his kindness and professionalism. His wife Mary was a daughter of Thomas Mair of Kermuck who himself was a distinguished scholar of the history of Ellon.


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