[1958:] As regards the gifted Alicia Anne Spottiswode who composed the tune to the immortal song [Annie Laurie], she modified the wording of the second verse and added the third. [There is an account of her in] Lord John Scott's book "The Fleeting Opportunity," published in 1940 by Wetherby, Ltd. "[...] It was in her maiden days at Marchmont, ten miles from Spottiswode, where her sister Lady Hume Campbell lived, that she wrote the modern version of the song by which she will be remembered. Her own account of Annie Laurie, given many years later to her old friend Lord Napier, was as follows: -
"I wrote the lines very long ago to a ballad, originally Norwegian, called 'Kempie Kaye.' Before I married, I was staying at Marchmont and fell in with a collection of Allan Cunningham's poetry. I took a fancy to the words of Annie Laurie and thought they would go well to the tune I speak of. I didn't quite like the words, however, so I altered the verse 'She's backit like a peacock to what it is now and made the third verse Like dew on the gowan lying,' myself, only for my own amusement."
Annie Laurie appeared anonymously in 1838 without Lady John Scott's knowledge or permission, and she always thought the air and words had been stolen, when she sent her music-book to be re-bound. The song was attributed to various people, and it was only when she gave the MS with several others to a publisher after the Crimean War, to produce them for the benefit of the widows and orphans of soldiers, that the real author became known. She had no children, and lived for many years, after her husband's death in 1860, alone at Spottiswode."
She died in March 1900, in her 91st year, and after her husband's death, reverted to her paternal name of Scott. She was the daughter of John (Laird of) Spottiswode, and succeeded to the large estate about 1870. (Letter from R. A. Anslow, Hailsham, Sussex, Weekly Scotsman, Nov 6)
[1981:] Three or four years ago they were clearing a part of
Glasgow called the Calton, and there was an old lady who didn't
want to leave her home because she'd lived there all her life.
Adam [McNaughtan] wrote the song about the rather callous remark
that was made by a supermarket manager when he heard of the death
of this old lady. (Intro Iain MacKintosh, intro 'Singing from the Inside'))
[1987:] By Glasgow standards of the past Bain Street had been
quite a good street, but now [c. the 1960s] the Calton area in
which it was situated was crumbling under the combined efforts of
natural decay and of the hammers and bouncing balls of Glasgow's
demolishers who were having a bonanza smashing into smithereens
the masonry, timbers and bricks of a couple of centuries and
creating a dust to tickle the nostrils and lungs of the few old
Caltonians who were intent on sticking it out to the last. These
consisted in the majority of solid, respectable and decent
working class folk and a small minority of poorer souls who had
been destroyed by a number of environmental factors and drink.
(McGinn of the Calton 95)
[1994:] In some parts of Glasgow after the War there were 400
people to the acre and to rehouse them at minimal cost took
precedence over what they wanted. People who had lived for
generations in cramped conditions with outside toilets and no
bathrooms needed better housing, but they didn't want to leave
the areas where they had grown up and the close communities they
lived in. It became a common sight to see sad little groups
watching bleakly as their former homes, and those of their
parents and grandparents were demolished. But the politicians
still knew best. (Meg Henderson, Finding Peggy 89)