Wednesday 8th May 1878
Walked down to Waverley Rl. St. left for Berwick by express 10.30 arrived at Berwick 11.45. Fare 4s 9d. Crossed over the bridge to Castle Terrace, found Miss Clay and Miss Brodie both in. Miss Clay a very nice old Lady. I walked around the walls before dinner. Miss Clay unable to come downstairs to dinner.
Down in the town walked to end of pier, a great many salmon caught in Berwick. Tea up in the drawing room with the two old ladies, after Miss Brodie and I walked down to Ravensdowne to Mr J Clays a corn merchant, passing Castle Street, High St Hyde Hill in which is post office a very small place. Nice town hall home by 9.
Walked out to cemetery, where some of Miss Clay’s relations are buried, home through town to Rl. [Railway] Street met J Clay there had lunch with him. After went out to Beal by train where there was a clearing out sale of farm stock etc. Fare 2s 8d. Home by ½ past 6, went down to J Clays to dinner. Mrs Clay was a Miss Henderson, daughter of Dr Henderson. Mrs Henderson, her mother is now married to an old gentleman called Robertson, they were both to dinner also Mr John Henderson a son, now a C.E. clergyman and Miss Robertson. Old Mr Robertson a great talker knew Burma well. Home by 9.30.
Quite how old Mr Robertson new ‘Burma’ is not known, but he evidently liked to talk about it!
Friday 10th May
After breakfast walked down to the old church saw monument in yard for Joseph and Sarah Hubback, Sarah Madai daughter and Margaret Clay Wilkinson daughter, there is a monument in the church for Joseph Hubback, but I couldn’t get inside. In High St I went into the old shop where grandfather and family lived, and where Papa and Mama were married, it is now a Literary Museum and Institute admission 1d. Saw house in Sandgate where they lived, now Warder office, also house facing river where they lived. Called on Mr Robertson walked across old bridge to Spittal. Fine Rl [Railway] Bridge. Walked to the top of Camp Hill, fine view of old town and see, saw farm house in which Uncle Tom died. Battle of Halydown [sic] fought there between the Scotch and English. Left Castle Terrace after dinner, took train to Sprouston arriving there at 2.30. Fare 1s 9d.
The old porter with the wooden leg directed me to Kerchesters, about a mile from station. Mr & Mrs Clay drove past me returning from Kelso. Three Miss Clays fine girls full of life, two Miss Thompson [sic] there, (their cousins) from New Zealand.
Mr Clay and I walked out after tea he was trying the level of a field for draining. Very pretty place splendid view of the Cheviot Hills, Eildons, also Twinel [Twin Law] Cairns and Lammermuirs in distance. Long talk with Mr Clay in evening, very nice fellow just the right cut for a farmer or squatter reminded me of Mr Armstrong. Very glad to get into country again, so like home with candles and kerosene lamps.
Breakfast at 7. Walked all round farm with Mr C. Farm 1,300 acres about 2,000 sheep keep 25 horses in constant work, ploughing etc. always stabled, corn maize and bran. About 50 head of cattle for fattening, all stalled get about 10lbs of oilcake a day (linseed cake preferred but more expensive) also hay and 3lbs of treacle, 5lbs of meal with salt a day. Some very fine heifers 2- 3 years old. Expects about £30 for them for butcher. A few milkers and 3 bulls kept. About 150 pigs on farm, a great many fowls getting about 3 doz eggs a day at 10d per dozen, maize is preferred for food. About 20 women are employed on farm and about 20 men all work 10 hours a day. From 6 till 11 and from 1 till 6. Mr Clay and I left Kerchesters about 10 and drove to another farm called Mindrum 7 miles distant where Mr Borthwick lives a very pretty place in the Cheviots. Mr Borthwick a fine old gentleman. Mr Clay and I then rode for 5 or 6 miles through the Cheviots to another farm where we left our horses and walked to top of one of the hills where there was a sale of sheep owned by a Mr Thompson an old Berwick man who rented a farm there called Elsin Burn sic [Elsdon Burn]. He told me he was an old sweetheart of mammas and gave me a ticket for the dinner. It was an awful stormy day, we expected the tent to be blown away every minute when we were at dinner, but the sale came off very well. I helped the shepherds to yard to keep a little warm, some of the shepherds had fine dogs. Nearly everyone you would speak would say “Eh mon its and awfu’ day” The sale was over about 5 and as we were wet and cold Mr Clay preferred to walk to Mindrum where we had tea and then drove home by 9 o’clock. Met Mr Login [sic] brother of Mr Login [sic] of Mt Elephant there, he spoke of Isabella Baird. Beautiful moonlight night.
For me, however, the lasting impression has to be Archie’s account of the storm, the wind whipped tent and helping the shepherds to pen the sheep in order to ‘keep a little warm’! His phonetic quotation of the local’s opinion on the weather is a lovely touch. As so often happens after a raging storm, the atmosphere clears to leave a beautiful clear sky and in Archie's experience, a bright moonlit night.
It was Dr Johnston who tried to set up the first museum for the Highland meeting in 1841, but nobody would pay for the showcases. So it was appropriate that when the Museum was finally established by members of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club in 1867 it was based around his collections and for many years was devoted exclusively to natural history.
At first it was based in a room in the Corn Exchange but in 1872 it soon had outgrown these premises and a new site was found for the growing collection (from a 20 mile radius) and the regular lectures on a range of subjects. This building (32 Marygate) was bought from Mr Creek, a clothier, for £1000 and the museum, combined with the Literary and Scientific Institute, moved in to its new home. The Corporation Academy headmaster, John Scott (famous for his History of the Guild of Berwick-upon-Tweed) was appointed as the first Curator.
In 1880, this building also proved inadequate and was demolished to make way for a purpose built edifice on the same site to house the Museum, Library and the Art School. The displays were typical of a Victorian museum of the period, rows and rows of specimens, each labelled with scientific name, date and not much else. A series of lectures and classes ensured that there was a lively interaction with the users. Berwick Council took over the running of the Museum in 1920 and the whole nature of the collection changed in the 1940s when Sir William Burrell began presenting items from his collection to set up an art gallery which opened in 1948. During the 1960s and 70s the museum was at a low point with some neglect and thefts, but it was brought into the modern era with transfer to the refurbished Barracks in 1985 when the first professional curator, Richard Doughty, was appointed. Chris Green was curator from 1990 to 2009. The Museum became part of the Woodhorn Museums Trust in 2010.