MarySmith’sPlace – 5 minutes on the telly

A couple of months ago when Keith Kirk and I were launching Secret Dumfries we were thrilled to be invited to be filmed on ITV’s popular programme Border Life.

Border life

Of course, the programme could not be seen to advertise our book. There was a mention of a new book out but I don’t think they even gave its name.

Despite initial nerves (mine anyway, don’t know about Keith – he seemed very relaxed), we had a fabulous day. Presenter Lori Carnochan met us with cameraman Paul Robinson at Crichton Hall, formerly the Crichton Royal Lunatic Asylum. Here we explored the basement with its fantastic wine cellars where the wealthy patients kept their wine supplies. And debated the mystery of the ‘secret tunnels’.

Camaraman Paul, had me and Lori walking down the stairs umpteen times, and another umpteen times to walk along the corridor before he was satisfied he had the shot he wanted. It was fascinating to see how the filming is done – and to understand just how long it takes to get enough for a segment on the programme.

After we finished at the Crichton we went into town to walk along the Whitesands beside the River Nith and it was Keith’s turn in the spotlight. He talked about the finials along the railings. Dumfries and the river were looking wonderful. In the programme, his part comes first though it was filmed later. I’m so glad I didn’t have to edit it – must take days.

Anyway, here’s the linkย 

If you don’t want to watch the whole programme – though I suggest you do as it showcases a new whisky distillery and the new art gallery in Kirkcudbright – our section starts about fourteen minutes in.

Let me know what you think of it.

Secret Dumfries is available on Amazon.


70 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – 5 minutes on the telly

  1. Great to see that feature, and of course to see you animated and talking! I must say that you looked very elegant, and well-composed, Mary. I see you have ‘Border Life’. Here we have ‘Anglia Tonight’, and in London we had ‘London Tonight’. I have been on both those programmes. In 1989, I was featured in London, for being the first Ambulanceman to go on strike. Then here in Norfolk, I was on the local news as a ‘Road Safety Volunteer’, after agreeing to teach Cycling Proficiency at the local school. As Andy Warhol once said, ‘We are all famous for fifteen minutes’. (Or less…)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating clip about the secret history. You were engaging and evoked the mystery. I loved your fabulous jacket too – glamorous author attire. Your accent is great for narration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your lovely comment, Jessie. I didn’t feel very glamorous, especially when the wind was blowing my hair all over the place. It’s the sort of situation where you feel you’d do much better if you had another shot at it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done, Mary. As Sue mentioned, they do mention the name of the book.

    Loved the creepy music as you descended those stairs. It must have been a brilliant day doing the filming. Do you know if the asylum is haunted? I wonder if we’ll ever find out what that structure they uncovered was?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Hugh. It was great fun doing the filming and fascinating seeing how itโ€™s done. I donโ€™t know if the asylum is haunted but I wouldnโ€™t want to spend a night down in the basement. The history of the asylum is fascinating. Arthur Conan Doyleโ€™s father was a patient. Iโ€™m giving a talk at a conference later this month about early โ€˜occupational therapyโ€™ which in the Crichton included the patients performing plays, producing a monthly publication called The New Moon, dances, trips to the theatre in town โ€“ they even allowed some of the gentlemen to go shooting. It wasnโ€™t so great if you were a pauper โ€“ work on the farm, the gardens and the laundry!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! Such a different take on what many of us imagine life in an asylum to be like, Mary. I was amazed that they allowed some of the occupants to store wine which was served with meals. I used to live near The Imperial War Museum in London. It was used as an asylum when first built, but the stories I read about it were very different from those of Crichton Royal Lunatic Asylum.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dr Browne the first medical superintendent of the Crichton was at the forefront of what was described as ‘moral treatment’, which he summed up as ‘kindness and occupation’ to replace restraint and confinement. In other words, keeping the patients busy would help to prevent ‘morbid thoughts’. Browne gave a series of lectures What Asylums Were, Are and Ought to Be, which were published. In these he details some of the worst cases of how patients were treated and examples of how things were improving then talks about how asylums should be run. Elizabeth Crichton who founded the asylum was so impressed she drove off Montrose to offer him the job of superintendent at the Crichton. Maybe I should do some blog posts on the Crichton. Do you think people would be interested?

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Mary Smith has 5 minutes on the telly | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  5. Fascinating, Mary and well done. Being a psychiatrist I’ve always been intrigued about asylums and have read books about them and it is a fascinating way to learn how mental health care changed over time. Good luck with the book. It sounds like a must read!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Olga. The history of the Crichton Asylum is fascinating, especially the early days when it was in the forefront of new attitudes to mental health. After Hugh’s comments and encouragement I’m thinking of doing some posts about it so watch this space!


  6. Absolutely wonderful video, Mary, and I was so proud, I felt like going, “I know her! I know her! Sort of.” ๐Ÿ˜€ When I come to Scotland (see, I’m now saying “when” instead of “if.”) you’ll have to show me all these wonderful things. (Yes, I do think I’ll be able to tear my eyes away from men in kilts long enough to take in all the other wonderful sights.) I loved the bit about the finials, for instance, and would love to study them up close and (im)personal. I really enjoyed this post tremendously! ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    A wonderful television appearance by Mary Smith and Keith Kirk, authors of Secret Dumfries and A-Z of Dumfries. There is a link to watch the whole programme which is very interesting.. visiting a whisky distillery and a new art gallery… or you can skip in 14 minutes so that you can watch Mary and Keith’s very interesting segment.. and you will be surprised to find out what patients of the mental hospital could take with them to have with their meals! #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sally. It is an excellent programme and I always learn something new about my part of the world from it. I think you are right about the cocktail of drugs dished out – probably more harmful than a good glass of red.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on From Cave Walls and commented:
    I am so pleased to reblog this post. Mary Smith, a writer and blogger I have come to admire, was featured on television with Keith Kirk, the coauthor of her book โ€œSecret Dumfriesโ€. It was lovely to watch. The book is available on Amazon. Enjoy the show. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, how about that? I thought of many things that could be underground in a mental institution, but a wine cellar was not one of them. Fascinating stuff, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pete. The wine was, of course, only for the very wealthy. Others were allowed beer (for the men and tea for the women). Perhaps even more surprising, in view of the wine in the cellar, in later years the Crichton became famous as a place for alcoholics to be treated!


  10. Mary, this was interesting to watch and your book had a mention. Yay! I love how your face lights up when you are talking about the history of Dumfries. You both came across well and I hope your book has a lift from this. โค

    Liked by 1 person

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