An Extract from my book ,”The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016
1901 – The census reveals that the east Lodge House was being shared by 4 servants. 20 year old John Birkmyre and Edward Sommerville who groomed the horses and domestic servants 24 year old Margaret Merson and 37 year old Mary Cameron.
The Castle itself was very much occupied, although at the time of the census, as happened regularly, George was not living there. The census records its occupants as 27 year old Walter Kerr Neilson (an ironmaster and the son of George.) Living there also was Walter’s brother Thomas Patterson Neilson aged 22 also working in the family iron business. George Dixon a 27 year old gardener and his 32 year old wife Elizabeth lived there too. John Walter was a 27 year old butler. Angus Morrison a 22 year old footman. Annie Grant, the 64 year old cook. Christina Wither 18 year old domestic servant, Helen Blair McColl a 23 year old servant, Janet Burns Walker a 20 year old servant, Christina Stewart an 18 year old servant, Jacobina Wilson an 18 year old servant and Janet Stewart 30, also a servant.
I can’t help but think here of Walter and Thomas, brothers, both single and under 27, living in a house, mostly occupied by servant girls in their twenties or earlier. Call me fickle, but I wondered if Walter and Thomas had a say in those employment “arrangements”?
Violet Gray a 53 year old lady was visiting on the day of the census (perhaps there to check up on so many youthful people living under one roof whilst senior figures were away!)
The following sketch dates from 1901 and shows how the building looked at the time of the census, the tower Ivy clad.