Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Secret #Dumfries by Mary Smith and Photographer Keith Kirk

Delighted to feature another of Mary Smith’s local history books… Secret Dumfries in collaboration with photographer Keith Kirk.

About Secret Dumfries

Dumfries, in south-west Scotland, has a long history, much of it well recorded. However, as with most places there are more than a few secrets hidden away. First referred to as the Queen of the South by local poet David Dunbar in 1857, the name stuck and was later adopted by the local football team. Not many know that this makes it the only football team in the world mentioned in the Bible. Darker aspects of the town’s history include the burning of nine witches on the Whitesands in 1659 and the last public hanging of a woman in Scotland, Mary Timney, was held in Dumfries in 1862. There are tales of plague victims being exiled to Scabbit Isle, of murderers and grave robbers. Not all its secrets are so dark: there’s Patrick Miller and his introduction of turnips courtesy of King Gustav III of Sweden, and the exiled Norwegian Army making its home in Dumfries during the Second World War. And what is the significance of the finials depicting telescopes and anchors on the railings along the Whitesands?

Local author Mary Smith and photographer Keith Kirk take the reader on a fascinating journey through the town’s past, unearthing tales of intrigue and grisly goings-on as they provide a glimpse into some of the lesser-known aspects of the town’s history.

Head over and buy the book:

And Amazon US:

Other local history books by Mary Smith

One of the reviews for Dumfries: Through Time

What a wonderful book! Generously illustrated with Then/Now photographs, it takes the reader back in time to a thriving market town in Southwestern Scotland that has today become a busy city. Its once-separate villages are now its suburbs.

I was not familiar with Dumfries before reading DUMFRIES THROUGH TIME, but authors Allan Devlin and Mary Smith have gathered photographs that tell a rich story of the past, from Victorian times to the present. I found the details in the photos and the glimpses of life and people caught in time to be incredibly fascinating and moving. Each photo is a wonderful story in and of itself.

While it is sobering that some of the historical buildings and features of Dumfries have been lost, I was amazed and delighted at how much was preserved and is still in use. While this book is not meant to be a thorough or comprehensive history of the area – I’m looking forward to reading other books that are – it is a marvelous introduction to that history. In DUMFRIES THROUGH TIME, a picture really is worth a thousand words. (Note: Some terms may be unfamiliar to American readers, such as “close” for a type of narrow, covered passageway or alley, or “weir” for a low dam or flood-control structure. However, the meanings are usually made clear by the photos.) Highly recommended!

Also by Mary Smith

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Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads:


About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Connect to Mary Smith

Facebook address
New Blog:

About Photographer Keith Kirk

Keith Kirk is primarily a Wildlife and Natural History Photographer/Writer living and working in the Stewartry area of Dumfries and Galloway. Although he does undertake many other projects and commissions.

His day job was Countryside Ranger with Dumfries and Galloway Council Ranger Service, something he did for over 37 years. In what spare time he has he pursues his passion for the countryside which he shares with you on his blog:

If you live in the area, then why not join Keith on one of his Nocturnal Wildlife Experiences.
Be prepared to be amazed by what you can see and experience with the aid of our professional range of hand held night vision and thermal imaging wildlife observation equipment: Nocturnal Wildlife Experience

Thank you for popping in today and it would be great if your could share the news of Mary’s new book far and wide… thanks Sally

39 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Secret #Dumfries by Mary Smith and Photographer Keith Kirk

  1. Sally, thank you for sharing this book with us! I have just been through Dumfries and I am fascinated and caught up by the taster items about the town. Having read some of Mary’s other books I know she is an accomplished writer and along with the photographs I am sure this is a great book. One to keep in mind. Best of luck to both Mary and Keith! Wishing you all a very special Sunday! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Now this really is something to shout out! Of the five books pictured here, I have four. Some day, I shall have an entire shelf of Mary’s books. I shall add this newest one to my list and also keep watching for the one to come… Goldfish! xx

    Liked by 3 people

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  6. Pingback: The workshop in practice – Deep Mapping Dumfries

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