National Records of Scotland

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Robert Garioch (1909-1981)

Robert Garioch (1909-1981)

Poet and translator

Robert Garioch is the pseudonym of Robert Garioch Sutherland. He is best known for poems in the Edinburgh dialect which were enhanced by his studies of Scots language and literature. He also translated from Latin, works by the 16th century humanist, George Buchanan, and sonnets in the working-class dialect of Rome by the 19th century poet, Giuseppe Belli. During the Second World War he served in North Africa and later published a memoir of his time as a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. Following retirement from teaching in 1964 he was a literary adviser to the journal 'Scottish International Review', writer-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh and a contributor to the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST). He performed his own poetry including 'In Princes Street Gairdens', ‘Fitbaw in the Street’ and 'A Wee Local Scandal' up to his final months. The Robert Garioch page on the Scottish Poetry Library's website includes a bibliography and transcriptions of some of the poems.

Birth in 1909

Robert Gariock Sutherland was born at 6:45 am on 9 May 1909, the son of Robert Gariock Sutherland, Housepainter (Master), and Catherine Mathewson. The entry in the statutory register of births for the district of St Andrew in the burgh of Edinburgh gives the place of birth as 109 Bellevue Road, Edinburgh. The middle name of both father and son has been corrected and ends with a 'k' rather than an 'h'. There's an annotation for the clerical errors in the left margin of the register page 'In col[umn]s 2 and 4 read Gariock'. Interestingly his father's birth entry gives the middle name as Garrick (National Records of Scotland, 1873/685-1/274).

Birth entry for Robert Garioch

Birth entry for Robert Garioch Sutherland (Robert Garioch) (67 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1909/685-2/412

1911 census

In 1911 Robert G Sutherland, 1, was enumerated at 109 Bellevue Road, Edinburgh with his parents. The census return for the district of St Andrew in Edinburgh shows his father, a house painter, was an employer and that his mother was born in Leith. The schedule continues on the next page and shows that the household included his aunt, Jane Mathewson, 50, a school teacher.

1911 census return for Robert Garioch

1911 census return for Robert Garioch Sutherland (Robert Garioch) (17 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/685-2/6, page 19

Marriage in 1942

Robert Garioch Sutherland, 32, School Teacher (Signalman, Royal Corps of Signals) married Margaret Lillie, School Teacher, on 26 January 1942. The entry in the statutory register of marriages for the district of Haymarket gives the place of marriage as the Office of the Registrar for the District of Haymarket, Edinburgh and 'in the presence of the said Registrar in accordance with the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939'. His usual address was 109 Bellevue Road and it is recorded that he was 'now engaged in War Service'. At the time of the marriage his mother, Kate Sutherland, was deceased.

Marriage entry for Robert Garioch

Marriage entry for Robert Garioch Sutherland (Robert Garioch) (80 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1942/685-1/85

Death in 1981

Robert Garioch Sutherland, writer and poet (retired), died on 26 April 1981. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the district of St Andrew in Edinburgh gives his age at death as 71 years. (National Records of Scotland, 1981/734/245)