The Jubilee Wing




Short story


Young adult

Historical era



Margaret Lyford-Pike


BBC Radio Scotland – ?


We Lived in Drumfyvie


Drumfyvie Elects a Provost

"The Jubilee Wing" is the fourteenth and final story in the 1975 collection We Lived in Drumfyvie, originally co-written with producer Margaret Lyford-Pike as episodes of an unidentified children's radioplay series. It's notable as the latest setting in Sutcliff's historical fiction.

Plot Edit

John Meikle, Minister of St. Ninian's Kirk, recounts Drumfyvie's preparations for the celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The Committee notes that it is the 760th anniversary of the founding of Drumfyvie Burgh by Red Duncan of Strathardle and briefly considers a pageant of Drumfyvie history before deciding it would be impracticable. Geordie Breck, a talented but slightly slow-witted gardener eager to be known as anything but 'Daft Geordie', begs Meikle for the part of Red Duncan and is crestfallen to learn it's impossible.

The Duchess of Strathardle is invited to open the General Hospital's new Accident Wing on the great day. The welcome, sermon, and grand opening go off without too many hitches until a backfire of some of the evening fireworks in the Ornamental Gardens spooks a dog and Geordie breaks an ankle chasing him out of the geraniums. Meikle consoles Geordie's outrage over the flowerbeds by pointing out that he now has the distinction of being the first patient in the Accident Wing and getting his name in the paper. Geordie is carried to the hospital in triumphal procession, undergoes anesthesia and surgery, and enjoys being the centre of attention immensely. Meikle writes his account of the success the next day, noting that the Jubilee feels like the end of an era, but also a beginning.

Chronology Edit

Dates for We Lived in Drumfyvie are given in the chapter headings. "The Jubilee Wing" takes place during the sixty-year Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the 760th anniversary of the founding of Drumfyvie burgh in "Duncan the Red."

  • Summer 1897, Lead up to the Jubilee
  • 22 June, the Great Day
  • 23 June, narration

Characters Edit

  • Queen Victoria, long-haul monarch
  • John Meikle, Minister of St. Ninian's Kirk
  • Robert Patterson, Town Clerk
  • Bailie Moffat, unfanciful
  • the Sheriff's Lady, knocked up again
  • the Sheriff, prodigiously progenyed
  • Mistress Dinwiddie, haberdasher
  • the Duchess & Duke of Strathardle, opener of hospital wings
  • Duncan the Red, Thane of Strathardle
  • King David I, promoter of Duncan
  • Sir Robert Maitland the first
  • Sir Robert Maitland the last, of periwig times
  • Bailie Morrison, firework enthusiast
  • William Scott, Grammar School headmaster
  • 'Daft' Geordie Breck, a large red-headed gardener, slightly slow-witted
  • Cardinal Richelieu, a rose's namesake
  • Geordie's Auntie Grizel, parrot-owner
  • The parrot, "a mite blasphemous in its talk"
  • Davey the town crier
  • Margaret Meikle, John's wife, keen on dress
  • Meg and Jennie, their daughters, the latter fanciful
  • wee Maisie Dundas, sick with excitement
  • Johnnie Gillespie, organist
  • Matron
  • Dr. Gilchrist
  • Tam Drummond, journalist
  • Jamie Wedderburn and Nat Thornton, carpet-rollers
  • Willie Henderson's dog Sandy, "of wide interests and independent spirit"
  • Archie Armstrong, the town drunkard

Places Edit

  • Drumfyvie, 760 years old
    • St. Ninian's Kirk, the Old Kirk, beside
    • Market Cross, Market Square
    • "Gilead" General Hospital, "Is there no balm in Gilead"
      • the new Accident Wing
    • the Grammar School
    • the Ornamental Gardens, Geordie's bailiwick, on the Headrow
    • the Castle
    • Threadneedle Wynd