KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

Exhibition previewed at Penicuik Town Hall

3 & 24 October 2009


Kitty Fyffe was the nursemaid to the grandchildren of Joseph Bell at Mauricewood, Milton Bridge and 2 Melville Crescent Edinburgh .

Wherever they went, members of the family and household sent a postcard for her collection, no doubt sometimes shared by Kitty in the nursery with the young children in her charge.

Three of her albums came to light recently containing nearly 200 postcards from 1903-1905.

Kitty Fyffe was 34 in 1903. She was born in Glendoick between Perth and Dundee, the daughter of a master carpenter.

Heading the household where Kitty was employed was the celebrated Joe Bell, prominent Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Medical Director of the Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital and of the Royal Infirmary.

           

 Well-known as the model for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Joe Bell’s powers of diagnosis and deduction had become legendary around the world. By now in his sixties, his wife Edith had died thirty years earlier.

Joe Bell had had a long connection with Kitty’s home village –he often stayed with his mother’s family in the big house at Glendoick between Glencarse and Errol on Tayside. But the Doctor needed a country retreat in easy reach of his hospital wards at the Royal Infirmary on the Meadows, the Sick Childrens Hospital at Sciennes, Longmore Hospital for Incurables in Salisbury Place and the Crippled Children’s Hospital in Lauder Road.  So he chose Mauricewood, Glencorse, south of the city, rather than Glendoick, Glencarse, across two estuaries of Forth and Tay.

 

The two children in Kitty’s charge who lived with their grandfather Joe Bell at Mauricewood and Melville Crescent were young Miss Edith and younger Master Joseph McCance, aged 8 and 3 in 1903.

The children’s parents, sometimes away from home, were Joe Bell’s daughter Jean and her husband Captain Henry McCance (1867-1937) -“Pants” to his erstwhile soldiering comrades in The Royal Scots.

                              

              Joe Bell’s son in law, Henry “Pants” McCance                Boy that grew up: Joe Bell’s grandson, Joseph Bell McCance

Joe Bell’s Edinburgh country house at Mauricewood is still here. So is his town house at 2 Melville Crescent –it is used today by the Japanese Consulate-General.

To the children and to Joe Bell’s household, Kitty’s postcard collection was a doorway to the contemporary life of 1903-5 beyond the nursery.  Now these beautiful images and some of the stories attached to them can reveal to us this long-vanished world of more than a century ago.

 

Previewed on 3 & 24 October 2009 in Penicuik Town Hall prior to fuller exhibition

 

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

A forthcoming exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall


PCA ALBUM

1 The Cross, Kippen

2 Arngomery Hse & Yew, Kippen 1905

3. Gylen Castle Kerrera

4 Bishops Hse, Stow

5 East end Loch Katrine

6 Station Rd Stow

7. Glenveigh, Donegal

8 Woodhouselee

9 Roslin Glen

PCA 09 Edinburgh Road Penicuik      –card to Kitty from her young charge, Joseph Bell McCance

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

10 Flowers for mother

11 View on the Forth

12 G Western Hotel Oban

13 Joseph Bell McCance May 1903

PCA13 Joseph Bell McCance May 1903 – For some years attempts had been made to produce a silver printing paper which held in itself the ingredients necessary for the toning process, but it was not until now that such papers were made and sold on a large scale. As soon as The Paget Company of Watford brought out their Prize self-toning collodio-chloride paper, the other manufacturers were forced to follow suit: Ilford Ltd., with their Kalona paper, and Kodak, Ltd., with their self- toning Solio.  After exposing the special paper, the Paget prints were first washed, and then placed in a sodium hyposulphite solution, with colder tones obtained by giving the first washing in salt solution.  After the hyposulphate stage the prints were finally washed and fixed.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

14 Victoria Embankment JU 1903

15 Bank & Royal Exchange JU1903

16 Visiting Day Stobs Camp JY 1903

17 Mind and Matter

18 Inverlochy Castle Fort William

19Roslin Village

PCA19 Roslin Village

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

20 West End Roslin

PCA 20 West End Roslin

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

21 Highland Cottage

22 Round Well Bearsted

23 Rotten Row Hyde Park

24 Perth Infirmary

25 Albert Memorial

26 Greetings from Penicuik FE 1905

PCA 26 Greetings from Penicuik

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

27 Snow

28 Edinburgh Castle & Ross Fountain

29 Peebles & shield

30 Covenanters Monument Selkirk

31 Camp at Stobs

32 Stow Brae

33 Trades Hall, Dundee

34 Loch Leven

35 Dryburgh Abbey

36 HMS Caledonia

37 Gannochy Bridge Edzell

38 York Minster, south side

39 The National Gallery, London

40. Now then, Pat

41.Castle Hill Dunoon

42 Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe

43. Fingal’s Cave

44.Loch Shiel

45 Queens View Killiecrankie

46 George Street Edinburgh

47 South Morningside

48. Greenock from Lyle Road

49 Wallace Monument Stirling

50 Glendoick Village

51. Holy Trinity, Stratford on Avon

PCL ALBUM

1 Grantham Angel Hotel

2 Battersea Park NO 1903

3 Promenade, Stanley Park Liverpool

4. The Rapids, Killarney

5. A Sylvan Stream

6 Bancroft, Hitchin

7 Morgan Academy Dundee

8. Naval Base, St Margarets Hope DE03

9. Knole, Geen Court May 9 1906

10. Killochyett, Stow

11 Calton Hill prison, railway & school

12.Leith Walk & Central Station NO 03

PCL 12. Foot of Leith Walk & Central Station postmark November 11 1903

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

13. Dunfermline Abbey West End

14 Speir Gate Penicuik

PCL 14 Speir Gate Penicuik

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

15 Loch Ussie

16 Marischal College Aberdeen

17. Queen Mary’s House Jedburgh

18 St Giles Edinburgh

19. SA Constabulary Barracks

20 English Cathedral  SA NO1903

21 Band in W. Princes Street Gardens

PCL 21 Band in W. Princes Street Gardens

Patrick Geddes and associates newly-built group of apartments at Ramsay Garden appears on the right in its original dark-toned finish with the steeple of Pugin’s Highland Kirk behind.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

22 Duddingston Loch in winter 1903

23 Yours Aye A Buchan Fyffe

24 Fingask Castle

25 The Ferry, Cramond

26. Strand & Charing Cross Oc1903

27. Princes Street Edinburgh

PCL 27. Princes Street Edinburgh Messrs Raphael Tuck of York specialised in coloured postcards from painted originals. This one was chromotyped in Bavaria.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

28. Penicuik from Pomathorn

PCL 28. Penicuik from Pomathorn

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

29 High Street Elgin

30 Choir & Chapter House, Elgin Cath

31 Lucky Pig Merry Christmas

32 Oban Bay

33, High St Dunfermline

34 Dunfermline Abbey JA 1904

35 Hillend Inverkeithing JA 1904

36 Parish Church Inverkeithing FE04

37 Von Wald und Wiese

38 Penmaenmawr

39 Rosyth CastleNaval Base

40. Old Toll Cowdenbeath FE04

41 Bains Kloof nr Wellington SA

42 Runic Cross Glencarse FE04

43. Pitfour Casstle

44 Seggieden Kinfauns

45. St Madoes Ch Glencarse

46 All Saints Ch Glencarse

47 Girdleness Lighthouse

48. Holyrood

49 Kitty (capitals) May 15 1905

50 Fishers Tryst GlencorseFE04

Fishers Tryst
Milton Bridge Glencorse Penicuik
postcard posted 1904
Kitty Fyffe collectionFishers Tryst postcard reverse
text posted  Penicuik 1904
Mauricerood amd 2 Melville Crescent Edinburgh
Kitty Fyffe collection

PCL 50 Fishers Tryst

Fishers Tryst corner on the main road at Milton Bridge, Glencorse.  The pub –now rebuilt- has been set back, and the attractive ogee boundary wall is now gone. Another example can still be seen on the east side of John Street, Penicuik.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

51 Wormit

52 Tayfield Glen Newport

53 Toft Combs Cottage Biggar

54 Balgay Park Dundee

55 Albert Institute Dundee

56 Exeter Cathedral

57.  Calton Hill Edinburgh 04

58 Penicuik from Pomathorn

PCL 58 Penicuik from Pomathorn

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

59. White Sands Aberdour MR1904

60 Victoria Bridge Perth

61. Birthplace & Skibo Castle 1904

62. Bark Harvest

63. Springwood Lodge

64. Kitty (colour)

65. Co-op Fire, Penicuik

66. Pittencrieff House

67. St Marys Cathedral Edinburgh

68.  Perth Bridge & Boat Station

69. Errol School & schoolhouse

70. Loch Katrine MR 1904

71. “At the Academy” OC

72. Brig O’Balgownie, Aberdeen

73. Maidstone High Street

74. Barnhill, Dundee

75 Smarden Jubilee Memorial AP 1904

76. Bailie Nicol Jarvie Hot Aberfoyle

77. Loch Lomond AP 1904

78. St Kilda Parliament AP1904

79. Neidpath Castle, Peebles

80. Ladybrand Dutch Church SA

81. Ladybrand Lillyhoek June 1903

82. Lady (des Eng, print Ger)

83. Bring the Paintbox

84. Kitty had a little lamb

85. Let me be your pippin

86. Islands from Luss, L Lomond

87. Lady in Hat (R Tuck series)

88. Errol

89. Invercauld Arms Ballater

80. Holyrood MY 1904

81. Four Courts Dublin

PCS ALBUM

1 Huntly House

2 High School Kirkcaldy

3Carlyle’s House Kirkcaldy

4 Merry St Motherwell

5 Pass of Melfort 3 Sep 1903

6 Worthing The Promenade

7 Bank St Chapel Bury Au 1903

8 The Serpentine Hyde Park

10 Garpel Glen Moffat David Young

11 The Hippodrome, London

12 In the Land of the Heather

13. Mauricewood

PCS 13. Mauricewood

Mauricewood House dates from around 1840, but the turrets had been added as recently as 1897.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

14 Curlers

15 Dunblane Cathedral

16 Glencarse from South

17 Ratho looking west

18 Hawes Bridge Penicuik

19 Edinburgh Road Penicuik

PCS 19 Edinburgh Road Penicuik –Posted 1905, a view towards Mauricewood from what is now the BP garage site.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

20 The Pends Dunfermline

21 Lews Castle Stornoway

22 Wildflower 2

23 When Mother Travels

24 Government Buildings Kimberley

25 Newmills Dunfermline

26 Wormit Bay

27 Tweed Bri & Parish Ch Peebles

28 Pier & Rough Sea Boscombe

29 White Street Ballachulish

PCS 29 White Street Ballachulish  -printed at Dresden.  The writer (possibly Joe Bell) has had a good walk through Glencoe.

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

30 Loch Katrine & Ben Venue

31 Traquair House

32 Officer Royal Scots 1792

33 Tyne at Haddington

34 Ratho Church & Manse

35 Leith Academy & Technical College

36 Holyrood

37 Smiddie, Nine Mile Burn Inn

38 Venezia

PCS 38 Venezia  -Posted from Edinburgh. Venice was a popular subject for photographs, and the Scots Minister there, Alexander Robertson, sent regular articles about the city to The Scotsman

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

39 Abbotsford

PCS 39 Abbotsford  - popular for tourist trips with access from a special station on the Edinburgh Waverley to Selkirk line

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

40 Melrose Abbey from sw

41 Findhorn Village

PCS 41 Findhorn Village

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

42 Loanhead

PCS 42 Loanhead

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

An exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

43 Pitfour Castle Glencarse Sep 1903

44 Wire Bridge Peebles

45 Gipsies’ Glen, Peebles

 

Exhibition in preparation: date to be announced

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

A forthcoming exhibition at Penicuik Town Hall

It is still not clear what became of Kitty Fyffe in later life after the McCances moved to Kent and Joe Bell died in 1911.  Curiously the name was used for the housekeeper in Sapper’s 1937 Bulldog Drummond detective story Challenge.  When the story was filmed in 1948 the character of Kitty Fyffe was played by British actress Eily Malyon who had played the librarian in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt in 1943.

 

Eily Malyon in Shadow of a Doubt

 

Full exhibition in preparation:

date to be announced

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

 

 

Penicuik exhibitions 

 

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

HEAT & LIGHT

OLD TOOLS

POSTERS

CAMERAS

OLD BOTTLES

SHOES & BOOTS

NEWS

HATS

U3A

ART

THE COWAN PAPER ADVERTISEMENTS OF 1944

FIFTY YEARS OF CUIKEN SCHOOL

PENICUIK’S CLYDESDALE BANK

PENICUIK INVESTORS IN THE US

LINEN

GAMES

TEDDY BEARS

MODEL BOATS

ALPINE FLOWERS

SNOW PICTURES

SIGNWRITING

HANDBAGS

ARTILLERY

SCOUTING

PENICUIK CO-OP

DISCOVERY AWARDS

CARNETHY HILL RACE

JACKSON STREET SCHOOL

SALTIRE HOUSING EXHIBITION

ROSLIN & THE STORY OF BOVRIL

THE FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK

DAME MURIEL SPARK: Scottish by formation

childrens book illustration of GERMANO OVANI

Galashiels Co-operators & the ideas of William King

IMAGES OF ESKBRIDGE  from Jim Neil’s collection

CORNBANK:  Penicuik’s Radburn estate from the 1960s

PENICUIK RAILWAY and its designer THOMAS BOUCH

Penicuik’s Concorde Designer  JAMES ARNOT HAMILTON

Penicuik’s International Photographer    ALBERT WATSON

Carlops’ International City Planner      THOMAS ADAMS

GENERAL MACZEK & THE POLISH ROAD TO BREDA 1944

General MACZEK & the GREAT POLISH MAP of SCOTLAND

 

 

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