23rd May 1899 the Inauguration of Lewis Carroll Memorial ‘Alice in Wonderland Cot’
On Tuesday afternoon of the 23rd May 1899, the Duchess of Montrose inaugurated the ‘Alice in Wonderland Cot’ which would be placed in the Stirling Royal Infirmary. The Lewis Carroll Committee had raised the sum of £400 for its endowment and the ceremony took place in the Public Hall, Albert Place, Stirling (Albert Hall) with a large gathering in attendance. There were many children in the audience reflecting their efforts in making the fund raising a success. The Duchess was accompanied on the platform by a large party including Sir Alan and Lady Seton Stewart, Colonel Murray of Polmaise, Colonel Stirling of Gargunnock and Lady Georgina Home Drummond.
Mr D. H. Erskine of Cardross, President of the Infirmary, presided and after a few introductory remarks called upon Dr Aikman, chairman of the Memorial Committee, to give a short history of the movement and to introduce the Duchess. Mr Aikman spoke of their appeal for subscriptions for a suitable memorial for the popular author. There had been an ice carnival on Airthrey Loch during the previous winter which was very successful and he thanked Mr Graham of Airthrey for his kindness in allowing them to hold it. He also thanked the ladies who had worked hard for the success of the jumble sale and likewise the teachers of the various schools and the pupils who contributed a considerable portion of the cost of erecting and endowing the cot.
Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) died on 14th January 1898. He was the author of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ which was published in 1865. It gained steady popularity, and as a result, Carroll wrote the sequel ‘Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There’ in 1871.
By the time of his death, Alice had become the most popular children's book in Britain.
Stirling Observer, 26th May, 1899, Scotsman 24th May 1899.
Wikipedia entry for Lewis Carroll.
After accepting a bouquet of flowers from the children the Duchess then made many remarks about Lewis Carroll and the amazing story of Alice in Wonderland and its enduring popularity with children and how the cot was a fitting memorial to his memory. The Duchess then presented a cheque from the subscribers to the Director of the Infirmary and also an additional cheque from an anonymous friend for the purchase of books by Lewis Carroll for the amusement of the children occupying the cot. The cot was fitted with a brass plate inscribed with ‘Alice in Wonderland Cot 1899’.