Changing face of life at the turn of 20th century

From Land to Rail is the memoirs of Andrew Ramage, who worked as a farm servant, dock worker, lorry driver and railwayman during the period 1854 -1917.

This fascinating diary-style account of life in the Lothians and Berwickshire sheds light on the trials faced by those working and living in a rural setting.

Ramage was the son of a farm servant and he himself worked on the land. Subsequently he became a dock worker, lorry driver and railwayman. Of the diary he kept over many years only three notebooks remain. The first covers Andrew’s early life from 1884 until the mid 1870s and the period from November 1888 until April 1889. The last two cover July 1914 to June 1917.

In his account the uncertain realities of rural employment and dwelling are revealed and they dispel the bucolic image often attached to descriptions of 19th-century country life. We learn of the travails of a young man making his way in the world at a time of great social and economic change and, later, of the concerns of parenthood and aging at a time of war-time strife.

From Land to Rail, edited by Caroline Milligan and Mark A Mulhern, published by National Museum of Scotland, £10.99.

[review rating=”4″ align = “left”]