This web site, dedicated to Jean Muir, includes a collection of press cuttings and other information celebrating the life of one of Britain's greatest fashion designers.
Lots more information can be found in the Jean Muir Archive at: National Museums Scotland.
Great Grandparents — Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Muir
Diamond Wedding — Elderslie Couple Celebrate by Visit to District.
There are various ways in which the observance of a diamond or other jubilee wedding celebrations takes place, dictated very often by the wishes of friends, but of the humbler and less ostentatious kind are those of a happy couple, after sixty years of wedded life, paying a quiet visit to the scenes of their upbringing and youth, and renewing the acquaintance of surviving friends. This has been the choice of Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Muir, who removed from Elderslie forty eight years ago, and are now domiciled at 14 Gloucester Road, Regent's Park, London.
They were married on 7th July, 1875, at Paisley by the Rev. Mr. McIndoe, and have lived a good deal in England since besides having a short spell in America. Mr. and Mrs. Muir, who were both born in Elderslie, in the course of their short visit this week, took in their itinerary Johnstone, Elderslie, and Paisley, and in the former especially renewed many old friendships.
Mr. and Mrs. Muir have happy recollections of their younger days roundabout Elderslie and Johnstone, and express astonishment at the many changes which have taken place since last they were here. This can be quite readily understood when it is stated that their home for the past 48 years has been in London, and it is 35 years since they last visited Scotland. Their surviving family consists of one son and three daughters, and there have been 10 grand children and 2 great-grand-children. Their resolve to re visit the scenes of their youth was their happy way of celebrating their diamond wedding and in doing so they have given pleasure to many friends whom they have called upon during their short holiday north
Nearly Drowned at Home
Curious to relate, the nearest Mr. Muir ever came to drowning was at home off Hastings, when he had gone out to fish in a motor boat along with a son. They were caught in a storm which suddenly sprang up, and with their engine giving out, they were at the mercy of the elements. It was a miracle that they ever got back into Hastings, being lucky, indeed, to secure a tow from a fishing boat, when they had almost given up.
Sea Faring Experiences
Mr. Muir, who at eighty years of age, has the appearance of a man at least ten years younger, in the course of a chat with a "Gazette" representative, had many interesting recollections of his younger days to tell, especially those relating to his schoolboy experiences at Elderslie, which preceded his years of apprenticeship as an engineer at Messrs. McDowall's engineering establishment in Johnstone. A strict school upbringing, allied to sound experience in the Johnstone engineering works, laid the foundation of a successful life, as an engineer at sea. His long experience at sea was mostly in the frozen meat trade with New Zealand, but America both North and South - were visited at longer or shorter intervals, one outstanding trip being to the Falkland Islands, that historical landmark near the Straits of Magellan.
After his apprenticeship years at Johnstone, Mr. Muir had a short spell with Messrs. A. F. Craig, engineers, Paisley, and from there he entered the service of the old Anchor Line Steamship Coy. As a younger member of the engineering staff, he made many trips to New York, gradually gaining promotion. It was his adaptability that gave him his first trials with refrigerating plant on board ships, then in its Infancy. He was on the "Bolivia" at the time and on the two engineers' in charge of the refrigerating plant, going ashore he had to set to with another of the ordinary staff and condition the plant for an unexpected order of meat which had to be handled. It came off successfully and to this lucky "shot" was due his embarking later on in the meat carrying trade from New Zealand and elsewhere.
Pioneer of Frozen Meat Trade
On leaving the "Bolivia", Mr. Muir joined the Austrian Hungarian Co.'s steamer, the "Tiza", in the Mediterranean trade, with headquarters at Fiume, but he was only fitting in time, latterly joining the full rigged sailing ship "Canterbury", owned by Messrs. Patrick Henderson & Co., Glasgow, and London. He fitted the barque with refrigerating machinery, of the best type then available, and had put in many journeys back and forward to New Zealand before the steamship companies entered on the frozen meat trade.
His next experience was on the steamer "Loch Ard" carrying frozen meat from South America, and he had in all five voyages with her before joining the barque "Hengist" and fitting her up with a more improved type of refrigerating plant. They sailed to the Falkland Islands, where there was good trade, and it was here that he had a very narrow escape of being lost at sea in the ship's, steam launch He and some others had gone on it to visit one of the adjacent islands, and were caught in heavy weather. It blew a hurricane, but fortunately, they were able to run back to St. Carlos before being exhausted with their endeavour to weather the storm. More experience followed on the S.S. "Hawk's Bay," and the "Norfolk" of the Federal Line all in the meat carrying trade from New Zealand. On one trip he said they carried about half a million rabbits!
Mr Muir, when 47 years of age, left the busy life of the sea, and settled down at Hastings as manager and engineer of an ice making factory. He served continuously for eighteen years, and latterly took over an appointment with Men's Brewery, London, where he remained for ten years.