Old Faces, Old Places and Old Stories of Stirling - William Drysdale (1898)

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Dr. William Hutton Forrest.

Died 20th March, 1879.

Dr W. H. Forrest was a native of Stirling. Born in 1799, he received his education in Stirling and Edinburgh, taking his degree as surgeon in 1818. A short time afterwards he went to one of the Southern States of America, where he remained till 1822, when he returned to Stirling. The Doctor always had a strong interest in his native town, and did everything he could for its improvement, and evinced a warm solicitude for the comfort of its inhabitants. In 1825 he assisted in the formation of the School of Arts, and for many years was principal attendant at the Stirling Dispensary. Doctor Forrest may also be said to have been the promoter of the Stirling Fishing Club. It was also greatly through his exertions that the town was provided with a supply of excellent water, in recognition of which services he was presented, in September, 1857, with a silver tea service. The Doctor also took a prominent part in the improvement of the sewerage system of the burgh, which had formerly been very defective, the effects of that improvement producing a general desire for greater cleanliness. Old and dilapidated houses disappeared, and more improved buildings and streets were formed. The Doctor was one of those strong-minded and intrepid individuals, who fearlessly encounter every difficulty, and allow no obstacle to interfere with the carrying out of any enterprise for the general benefit which they have entered upon. He was unflinching in his efforts for the public weal, and went straight onwards in his course, undeterred by the cavillings of narrow-minded prejudice on the one hand, or of bitter jealousy on the other. His aim was uninfluenced by all petty considerations of place or power ; he sought his own good in the welfare and comfort of the whole community.



The Resurrectionists in Stirling.

At the Spring Circuit Court of 1822, the grave-digger and some others were tried on a charge of lifting bodies from Stirling Churchyard. They alleged that they acted by instructions of Dr John Forrest, who made a timely flight from the town to escape prosecution. He joined the army, and ultimately rose to be Inspector-General of Hospitals. A riot took place in the streets at the time, and the 77th Regiment were brought down from the Castle to disperse the rioters. They fired on the mob in Spittal Street, but 110 one was injured, the soldiers intentionally firing over the people's heads. One of the bullets entered the "Journal" office, which was then in Spittal Street, in the premises now occupied by Mrs Crocket, but did no damage. For long afterwards bodies were buried in stone or iron coffins, which were removed in six weeks or so, and a watch was kept on newly-made graves.