27 Nov

Finding Ritchie Greig – Pianist of the Picture House (a preview)

Archive, David O McEwan

The recent refurbishment of the Picture House rekindled my interest in Adam Ritchie Greig, sometime pianist there in the days of silent movies. Many years ago I had been given music some of which bore the label “A Ritchie Greig”. One of these pieces of music contained examples of short pieces which could be played for appropriate scenes in a silent movie. Several years ago I used this to accompany screenings of three silent films at the Picture House.

With the intention to have a historical display relating to the Picture House’s past when the refurbishment was completed, I set out to find out more information about A Ritchie Greig. Sometimes in research important information can be uncovered just by chance. In January 2017 I came across the gravestone of A Ritchie Greig and his family in this way. The stone was particularly full in the amount of information it gave.

A home visit to Miss Elizabeth Johnston uncovered a group photograph of schoolgirls at Campbeltown Grammar School showing one of the Greig family’s daughters.

This photograph, in turn, jogged the memories of contemporaries of Miss Johnston to impart more information about the family although memories of the silent films shown at the Picture House were beyond the memory of those interviewed.

Knowing the address of the Greig family, however, was extremely helpful in uncovering an important contact through the search engine on the Internet. This contact was a grand-daughter of Ritchie Greig and she was able to expand the picture of her grandfather and his family considerably through information, new contacts and photographs.

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