Mary Grant’s first job as a domestic servant in Craigellachie at Muirton House in Speyside

Mary left school in 1940 and went to work as a domestic servant in Muirton House in Craigellachie. Her father, Peter McDonald was a tenant farmer at Lower Blairain, 3 mlies out of Aberlour. Lt. Colonel Findlay was a retired gentleman. He was an investor with the Scotsman newspaper. Mary was a kitchen maid. She wore a pale blue dress in the morning and a navy blue dress in the afternoon with a cap and an apron. She was given a nice bedroom. Her weekly wage was 10 /- including accommodation.  Her day began at 7 a.m. with breakfast then she made up the fires, pulled the curtains, dusted, vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms. There were two housemaids at Muirton House, a cook, a gardener and a nanny (when the children were young).  There was also a table maid called Jane so Mary did not have to serve at table.

Her brother was Pat McDonald. He was well-known in the area for his poems, recitations and bothy ballards. There is a copy of an extensive interview with Andy Ross of MFR from the 1990s on this website.

Memory contributed by Mary Grant neé McDonald of Aberlour

Additional Information


Scotsman building designed and built by Dunn and Findlay Architects Practice

Lt. Colonel James Lesley Findlay– worked initially as an architect in Edinburgh, fought in the Great War and was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel. His architect firm (Dunn and Findlay) were involved in the building of the Scotsman Building. His Father was John Ritchie Findlay, owner of the Scotsman Newspaper and Philanthropist. His mother was Susan Leslie. James’ brother Sir John Ritchie Findlay took over the Scotsman as principal proprietor in 1898 on the death of his father. The family seat was Aberlour House in Aberlour, where James’ father died in 1898. James’ brother had bought the house from Margaret MacPherson Grant in 1885. It became a boarding school in 1947.

Armorial Familiesa directory of families Coat-Armour cites an association with 10 Eton terrace in Edinburgh. This is explained in Colonel Findlay’s registration in the Dictionary of Scottish Architects which discusses 10 Eton Terrace, Edinburgh. 10 Eton Terrace was initially his private residence from 1907 then his architect firm’s office as well from 1915-1919. Prior to that their previous house  14 Coates Gardens. It also adds information on Muirton House at Strathspey which he designed and built.


2 thoughts on “Mary Grant’s first job as a domestic servant in Craigellachie at Muirton House in Speyside

  1. Hello as I child my Dad worked at Muirton House as gardener, we stayed in a flat above the garage Mrs Findlay had a dog called Muffey, it was around 1950/53, very happy days

  2. Mary was my great auntie and Pat MacDonald was my great uncle. Thank you so much for having this wonderful archive online.

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