Mr David Doughty talks about railways

David Doughty

Railways1: David Doughty, 90 years of age, interviewed in Whithorn by Glen Cooksley. Mr Doughty’s family were fish and game merchants in Whithorn.

  • Interviewed: June 2012.
  • Ref: DG9/1/1/4.
  • © Photo: Glen Cooksley.
  • © European Ethnological Research Centre, 2012]



GC: So what do you remember about, what are your earliest memories of your father in the shop and the business? What sort of business did he run, what sort of hours?

We did, we kind a, one of the best parts of our business, which unfortunately we lost, was the rabbit trade. We sent away hundreds of rabbits. My father had 2 trappers and they worked on different farms round about, trapping rabbits. Then farmers came in wi casual rabbits and that and there was a lot o shootin o rabbits. We would send away several hundred rabbits every week down into England by the train. There was a railway station then which unfortunately doesn’t exist now. And, when we lost that railway station – I forget exactly when – it was a big blow to this t… I’d just taken over from my father about that time and it couldnae hae been a worse time because we depended on the railway station to send away rabbits and poultry and pheasants and all that sort of stuff. Down into England, we sent nothing to Scotland, the big markets were in England where there were big, big populations like Sheffield, Birmingham, places like that.  And the Govermnent paid a man, Mr, Lord ah think, he was Lord Beeching, tae help tae solve the problems with, problems they had with the railway system. And he was supposed to be a wise man – he was wise – he couldnae hae done worse if he had tried. How he solved the problem o the railways was he cut-off all the branch lines like that from Newton Stewart to Whithorn and ruined a lot of businesses like ours because we depended on that railway to send out all ours, hundreds of rabbits each week down into England and also poultry, also pheasants and game and that.

GC: So that really ended your business, when the railways stopped?

DD: Well we didnae end our business because we worked with fish, game, poultry and we still had, but to add to the troubles, just after that railway closed, myxomatosis hit the rabbit trade. Right. So we were sending hundreds o rabbits down into England which is the best part o the business. Besides the railway being closed, we couldn’t get, we sent them in crates, 20 couple in the crate and 3 times a week, maybe half a dozen crates. Anyway, myxomatosis just about the same time hit the rabbits, beside cutting-off wur, the, cutting-off the railways from Newton Stewart to Whithorn, myxomatosis come in and that killed the rabbits all round about which is another, a big blow to the business, because it was the best part of the business.