Born in 1898 to John Soutar, a well-established joiner in the town, and Margaret Smith, he spent his childhood
years firstly in a flat in South Inch Terrace and later at Taybank Cottage near the harbour. From here he crossed
the South Inch to attend Southern District School where, in those early days, he shone as a sportsman and gained a
reputation as a rebel by leading a school strike.
Between 1912 and 1916 he was a pupil at Perth Academy, which was then situated in Rose Terrace opposite the North
Inch. Here again he excelled both in the classroom and on the sports field, and was a popular character in his year.
His literary skills were also developing at this time and the school magazine, the Young Barbarian, published
some of his youthful poems.
At the start of 1917 he joined the navy and served two relatively quiet years before demobilisation. However, his last few weeks were spent on leave as he was already in pain from the first symptoms of the disease that was later to immobilise him.
Dauvit Horsbroch of the Scots Language Centre interviews Ajay Close, writer in residence at the Soutar House.
Detail from the Soutar House.