Tom Garvin 



Tom was born in Galston in the Newmills area in 1686. As a student of medicine at Glasgow University he supported himself by working in the physic Garden where they grew herbs for medicinal purposes. Once qualified, Tom travelled Europe.

When Peter the Great became Czar of Russia he decided to make Russia more modern. He called in many people of all skills, many from Scotland, and amongst them, Tom Garvin took up practice in St Petersburg. The Emperor of China sent an envoy to Russia asking for doctors to be sent to increase the venery and improve the sex life in the Chinese court. Tom Garvin was amongst a group of doctors selected by Peter the Great to travel to China. The group set out in 1713 and 12 out through the mosque or Urals, Siberia, Lake Bakal and Mongolia and on to the China wall. Tom was therefore one of the first Scots to see the China wall and he finally ended up at the Chinese court having travelled the distance of all the 4500 miles.

The Emperor of China was very impressed with the work undertaken by the group of doctors and he gave them many gifts. Tom finally returned to Scotland and married the sister of the Earl of Eglington and became Provost of Ayr. He still holds the record for being the Provost of Ayr seven times running.

Tom Garvin was a remarkable man.