28 Nov

Drumfin House and the Dedicated Doctor Brown.

Allanna Brough, Archive

I had another look at the list of my original shareholders to see if anyone caught my attention. While I had already completed their biographies, I realised that there was probably still a lot of information out there that I hadn’t as yet uncovered. So I decided to spend a day in the Library on the microfilm reader trawling through archived editions of the Courier newspaper…

In 1912, Doctor James P. Brown bought 20 shares in the Picture House.

James Pearson Brown was born in Campbeltown in 1868. His Father was a Coal Merchant and Net Manufacturer in the town. James grew up in Ardmore House, High Askomil before being educated at George Watson’s College and then on to Glasgow University where he graduated M.A in 1889. He continued with his studies and graduated M.B and C.M from Glasgow in 1893.

He began his medical career at Glasgow Maternity Hospital and was House Surgeon at Paisley infirmary. He was also a ship’s surgeon, seeing much of the world before returning to take up practice in his home town. In 1907, Dr. Brown bought Drumfin House in Campbeltown.

Dr. Brown saw active service in two wars, the South African War and WW1. In the South African War he served with the 5th Volunteer Detachment of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, rising to the rank of Surgeon Lieutenant. For his services he was awarded the Queen’s Medal. While the Volunteers returned home to Campbeltown in 1901, Dr. Brown remained behind and continued to serve with his medical unit.

In August 1914, Dr. Brown was mobilised once again with the Battalion, this time with the rank of Major. In 1916, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his bravery. In the midst of heavy bombardment from the enemy and heedless of danger to himself, Dr Brown remained for three hours with Orderly Room Sergeant D. Thomson (son of the Burgh Chamberlain of Inveraray), tending to his wounds. Unfortunately, the Sergeant died from his wounds. Dr. Brown served until the end of the war and was mentioned in despatches.

After the War, Dr. Brown returned to his patients in Campbeltown and devoted his time to those less fortunate than himself. He was Medical Officer for Witchburn House Hospital, the Calton Infectious Diseases Hospital and the Campbeltown Emergency Hospital. He became County Controller for the Red Cross, was President of the Campbeltown Branch of the RNLI and was also a Freemason of St John’s Lodge No 141. He was also J.P. of Campbeltown.

James Pearson Brown never married nor had any children. Instead he devoted his life to the welfare and care of others.

His obituary in the local paper summed up his character:

“His work in healing the sick can truly be described as a labour of love. If he thought payment for his services would result in hardship being imposed on a family, he conveniently forgot to render an account, and would decline payment if offered. He was courteous to a degree seldom experienced nowadays and his kindly manner was demonstrated by small, considerate tasks, which unimportant in themselves revealed the true man. He was known to every family in the district and his familiar figure will be sadly missed by all classes of the community, and not least by the poorer classes for whom he did more than money could ever repay. He was held in the highest regard and affection, and no man ever enjoyed greater popularity than he did in the town and surrounding rural districts.”

“Doctor James Pearson Brown, D.S.O., T.D., M.A., M.B., F.R.F.P.S. (Glasgow), J.P., Campbeltown died on 21st February 1942 aged 74.”

Picture credit: Campbeltown Courier March 7th 1942.


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