Biography of Medical Officer Agnes Barr Auchencloss
Agnes was born on 30th May 1886 to James Currie Auchencloss, a starch manufacturer and corn flour merchant, and Jane Crawford at 17 Greenhill Road, Paisley. She was educated at Paisley Grammar School and the University of Glasgow. Her brother, also called James Currie Auchencloss also studied at the University. Later the family moved to 22 Whitehaugh Drive. She graduated MB ChB on 24th April 1911, after a very successful undergraduate career.
Her name appeared no fewer than nine times on the prize-list. At that time the women, who were themselves among the pioneers for equality in education, were listed separately in most class prize-lists. Lest anyone should be tempted to think that Agnes's first class certificates in Anatomy and Surgery were in any way less prestigious than that of the men, they only need to consult the scores of the male and female candidates in the various professional examinations to be quickly disabused of that idea!
After graduation Agnes worked as a house doctor at the Royal Alexandria Infirmary, Paisley, and later at Kilmarnock Royal. In 1914, in Cape Town, South Africa, she married Gosta Lundholm, second son of Carl Olof Lundholm and Mathilda Nilsson, from Sweden. Agnes's father-in-law was an associate of Alfred Nobel, who had asked Carl Olof to come to Scotland to manage his dynamite factory at Ardeer. Her new husband, Gosta, worked as a chemist with the British South African Explosive Co. Ltd. at Modderfontein in the Transvaal (a factory making explosives for the Rand goldmines). Agnes volunteered her time as a doctor during this time, caring for Afrikaaner families out on the veldt. Their eldest son, Eric Olof Lundholm, was born in 1915 at Modderfontein.
The First World War necessitated Gosta being sent back to Scotland and from June 1916 he worked with the Ministry of Munitions at HM Factory at Gretna for the start-up of the new plant, working in the nitro-glycerine department. Agnes saw war service as a Medical Officer at the Factory in Gretna, where she lived with her husband and son at No 9, The Ridge, East Riggs. The factory played a key role in the production of munitions. It was staffed by over 20,000 workers from all over the Empire. King George V and Queen Mary made a royal tour of the Gretna factory in 1917 and Agnes was introduced to them.
In September 1919 Gosta and Agnes returned to Modderfontein, where he was in charge of one of the detonator factories. Their second son, Alan Basil Auchencloss Lundholm, was born in 1921 in Modderfontein. In 1928, the family returned to the United Kingdom, travelling on the Edinburgh Castle from Durban. The following year, Gosta obtained the post of Superintendant at the ICI Detonator Factory at Westquarter and they moved to Falkirk to live at 21 Neilson Street. Agnes joined the Women Citizens' Organization and did voluntary work. Their last move was to Ardrossan, when Gosta became Senior Superintendent at the Ardeer factory.
In 1969 Gosta died and Agnes went to live with her younger son and his wife in Torrance, Glasgow. Agnes Barr Auchencloss Lundholm died, aged 86, in Edinburgh City Hospital on 4th July 1972.