The papers of the Stirling family of Gargunnock are held by the Council Archives and are a fabulously varied and fascinating set of records, full of interest for social and local historians. The collection includes letters sent between family members and these postcards sent by Viola Stirling to her father when she was 6 years old.
Viola Stirling was born on 3rd June 1907 at Windsor, Berkshire and was the only child of Charles Stirling and Evelyn Mary, nee Saffery. She was christened Viola Henrietta Christian Stirling but as a young child was known by the family nickname ‘The Trout’. Although she was born in England, Miss Stirling spent much of her childhood on the Gargunnock estate and its environs. She was educated at a girl’s boarding school in Harrogate, but her holidays were spent on the estate and it is clear that she spent much of her time observing the wildlife around her and took a keen interest in insects, animals and birds and their lifecycles. Viola’s Nature Diary, begun when she was 12, is also held in the family papers and we posted all the entries from that diary from 1919 to 1928 on this blog throughout 2017.
The postcards were sent while Viola was holidaying with her mother in Eastbourne in Kent and her father was in Wimbledon. It would appear from what Viola wrote to her father that Mrs Stirling had not been well and was perhaps convalescing by the sea as was common at this time. Viola signs two of the cards with her family nickname and one with her name. One of the cards is plain but the other two show views of Beachy Head and the famous lighthouse there, a popular tourist spot near Eastbourne.