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Hugh Pollock: the first Mr Enid Blyton - an update

by Rob Close

See also:

The original article by Rob Close

A note from Rosemary Pollock

A photo of the grave of Hugh Alexander Pollock in the Mtarfa Military Cemetary, Malta, taken and kindly supplied by Derek Hall.


Plot 3, row 3, no. 14-26.

My article on Hugh Pollock, which regular readers of Ayrshire Notes may recall in the last issue,1 has prompted some further research on his life. When I last wrote, I knew neither the date of his birth, nor the date of his death. These I can now supply, together with some other supplementary information. Hugh Alexander Pollock was born on the 29th July 1888 at Garfield Villa, Hawkhill, Ayr (now 27 Hawkhill Avenue), the house in which his parents - William Smillie Pollock and Jessie Smith McBride, who had married on 29th April 1886 - lived before moving to Bellevue Crescent. Interestingly, the entry in the register gives the child's name as 'Frederick': a change to Hugh Alexander is made in the 'Register of Corrected Entries' in October 1888. It is not possible to ascertain whether this was a mistake on the part of the registrar, or whether there was a desire within the family to change the name of the baby.2 Pollock's marriage with Marion Atkinson has also thrown up an oddity in the records at General Register House. It was known that they had married at the Hotel Dalblair, Ayr, on the 9th October 1913, but the indexes at Edinburgh showed that they had already been married 'by declaration before a sheriff' in Edinburgh on the 1st March of that year. Pollock, who was 24, gave his address as the Windsor Hotel, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, while the 19-year-old Atkinson gave her address as 1 Merrylee Avenue, Newlands, Glasgow.3 It has to be assumed that this was a marriage contracted in the face of opposition from one or other of the families involved. It is probable that the opposition came from Atkinson's family. Her father, William Atkinson, was something more than a farmer. He was a potato merchant, with interests in a number of farms in and around Ayr, but, more pertinently, he was strongly involved with the Christian Brethren. In his later years he moved to Prestwick, where he gifted to the Brethren the hall in Main Street, Prestwick, which they still use for worship. Mr Atkinson died in 1931.4 Hugh Pollock and Marion Atkinson had two children - both sons. The elder, William Cecil Alexander Pollock, was born in 1914 and died in 1916: the younger, Edward Alistair was born in Prestwick in 1915 and died in August 1969. Known as Alistair he is the half-brother who Imogen Smallwood met at a family wedding in Ayr. He farmed Burnbrae Farm, Symington: Jimmy Whyte, Minute Secretary of the AANHS, worked on a neighbouring farm as a student, and recalls Alistair Pollock as being a typical former RAF type, complete with fair hair and blue eyes. The connection with Enid Blyton was well known locally. Hugh Pollock's marriage to Marion Atkinson broke down during the Great War, when she left for another man. We now know that, in November 1929, she contracted a second marriage, with William Andrew, of Barcully Farm, Kirkmichael, and that they had moved to Muirhouse Farm, Monkton, where they were living when she died in Ballochmyle Hospital in December 1959. And, finally, we have confirmation that Hugh Pollock died in Malta. He died on the 8th November 1971 at the David Bruce Royal Naval Hospital, Mtarfa, and was buried in the Mtarfa Military Cemetery, Rabat.7 The author would be happy to commission a photograph from anyone who happens to be visiting Malta. [A photo has been obtained - see above.]

Rob Close

This article was first published in Ayrshire Notes No.22 (2002).  

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1 Rob Close, 'Hugh Pollock The First Mr Enid Blyton', in Ayrshire Notes 21, Autumn 2001, pages 20-23.

2 General Register House [GRH], Register of Births 1888, Registration District 612 (St Quivox), entry no.45.

3 GRH, Register of Marriages 1913, Registration District 685/4 (Edinburgh), entry no.146.

4 His obituary is in Ayrshire Post, 6th November 1931, 9c. Discovery of his connection with the Christian Brethren movement in Prestwick came through ongoing research for Historic Prestwick. (AANHS, forthcoming) Another of his daughters, Elizabeth (died in 1959) was Lady Gibson, the wife of Robert Gibson, Lord Gibson, who was MP for Greenock from 1936 to 1941, and Chairman of the Scottish Land Court from 1941 to 1965.

5 His father also had fair hair and blue eyes.

6 GRH, Register of Marriages 1929, Registration District 584B (Kirkmichael), entry no.3; GRH, Register of Deaths 1959, Registration District 604 (Mauchline), entry no.345.

7 Public Registry of Malta, Inscription no.2527, 1971. I have a copy of the certificate supplied by the Public Registry Office in Valletta.


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