Ref NoSBA/158/96
AltRefNoMB.26.69.71
LevelItem
TitleOral history project file, Catherine MacDonald née Hume ([Scottish Borders Memory Bank]
DescriptionInterviewed by ?

Indexing:
WORK: SERVICES: Retail, Hotels, Road.
WORK: MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES: Textiles
COMMUNITY: SOCIAL CUSTOMS: Community Events.

Transcript of 'History of Innerleithen Project' interview with Catherine MacDonald, with 58 No. audio recordings [file filed].
[Macdonald, née Hume; Catherine Alice (1905-1999)]

INTRODUCTION: Just so that we don't forget who we're speaking to, can you just tell me your name and your date and place of birth?
Well, I was born Catherine E Mc Hume, Hume. I was born in Sandridge Terrace in 1905 [the address does not appear to be correct but see note in Authority File]. I was 94 in this past year, so that's right. That's my own name, and I became MacDonald.
That's right. That's your name now?
That's my name now, yes. Catherine MacDonald but my own name was Hume.
FATHER: Yes, and your father was the Baillie in Innerleithen?
Oh, yes, for twenty five years.
Twenty five years, yes.
And on the day of his retirement, at that time, the council gave him a very nice silver cigarette case with the town's coat of arms on it.
Oh, very good.
So, we have that as a memento of him.
You still have the case?
Oh yes!
Oh yes.
He was interested in everything to do with the goodwill of the town, and he was very immersed in everything. So much so, you know the chair that the boys get, (. . X.. . .)
Yes, aye.
Well, do you know the story of that?
Well, I do but I would like you to tell me the proper story. I've heard, you know, versions of it.

NICHT AFORE THE MORN': It was during the giving of the nicht afore the morn' at the concert and in those days it was always a two part concert. The hall was full and it got warmer and warmer and the Dux boy fell off his chair. He must have gone to sleep.
Yes.
Daddy was on the concert party on the programme with the provost and the other town councillors and along with them was Mr George Hope Tait [Tait; George Hope (1861-1943); master painter and bailie] who was a very well known old ( ... X ... ) and a great friend of my fathers, and afterwards they were saying that the boy should never have fallen off the chair and it was decided there and then. George Hope Tait was a very, ... ( ... X ... )
Artistic?

COMMEMORATIVE CHAIR: Yes, and Daddy said, "Well, I'll present a chair, if you design it", and George Hope Tait had the chair designed down about Melrose somewhere, in a place where they made church ornaments and church screens and that sort of thing. Now I can't tell you the name of the people, but that's where the chair was made. Daddy presented it to the town council saying that the games committee get the use of it for the nicht afore the morn' for the Dux boy to sit on. And that's the story of the chair but ...
And it's still there?
When I was brought up, my father was so immersed in all the good of the village. We were just brought up to be like that, you know.
Yes.

GAMES CHILDREN PLAYED: It was very interesting but, as I say, when I was just a young girl, you know, the village was so different. We used to play games outside on the High Street
Aye, the Higt Street?
We'd play rounders or pitch and toss, anything you like, and we played on our bicycles. I think the only time we had to stop was when the milk cart came along. The milk cart came twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon and there was very little traffic of any kind.
Was that a motor lorry?
No….. Yes, it was!
It wasn't a horse and cart like, it was a motor?

TRAFFIC: It was, it was a little, ... I don't think it had a horse. They had two big metal milk cans on the back, you know, with the measures hanging on them and if you wanted milk you just went out.
Took your jug out, and he measured it?

DELIVERIES; MILK & VEGETABLES: He measured it out and you took your jug with you. Now the other cart that went round dispensing was in the morning, the back of nine o'clock. Mr Gardner who has the vegetable shop, where Scott's Corner ... Mr Gardner, had a vegetable cart that went round the streets in the morning. I always remember the name (. . X.. . .) what's his name again? Anyway, that'll come ... and if you wanted vegetables or anything, he just blew his whistle. You went out and got it and he used to come down the High Street and down round by Sandridge Terrace and up the street, you know? It was just round the village. Isaac Myrtle was the name of the man who for years drove the vegetable cart,
Oh, right.

LOCAL PEOPLE: Now, Isaac was an old soldier. He never married but lived in the village with somebody and then when they finally gave up going round with the vegetable cart he got a job at Leithen Mills. He was just a kind of odd man there and my young brother, who had left school and had gone into the mill to learn the business, got very friendly with Isaac.When Isaac turned ill finally, they had to take him to a military hospital near Edinburgh, where he more or less just lived his last days. When he died, he left my brother all his medal s... Well, he had been in all kinds of war and, ach I cannae go back to the war. David got his medals and also a grandfather clock.
Oh very good.
After he had to leave the mill and go to live in this hospital, my brother used to go and visit him and take him a cigarettes or tobacco, you know, little gifts like that, and the two of them, although one was very old - Isaac must have been in his eighties and my brother was maybe just left school, in his early twenties.
Yes.
There was a great affection between the two of them. So, that was Isaac who went round with the milk.
The vegetables, yes.
COAL: And then there was (.X. .) with the coal cart. You see, in these days, the wood, the coal came and it was dumped at the station in what we used to call "The Lies".
Oh aye.
It would come in a truck and it was emptied from the truck and left. The coal merchant of the village went and got what coal there was and went round the streets.
And delivered it?
If you wanted it, a ton of coal, or a bag of coal, whatever you want. But if you got a ton then it was just dumped on the street and you had to gather it up yourself. Really, there was so little traffic in the village, I can quite see how we used to play on the road.
Yes.

ROADS: (. . X.. . .) What was the other thing that I was thinking about one night? We had a watering can. It was like a great big watering can and it had sprinklers
Yes.
And this used to go round in the summer time to lay the dust on the streets.
Sorry?
There wasn't tarmac?
No, there was just, aye
It was just the dust. And the children used to get great fun taking their shoes and stockings off and running behind the can and getting sprinkled with the water.
Yes, aye.
It was a nice village to live in.
Oh aye.
And then we knew everybody.
Yes.
And you could tell where everybody lived and there was many a night the door was never locked. It never mattered much.
No.
And of course, I was brought up at the other end. At the Peebles end of the village and that's the bit I knew. Mother always used to say to us if we were going anywhere, "Now you've not to go over the bridge". Over this bridge, that was far away from home.
Yes, that was too far.
I often think about it you know.
Where did you go to school?

SCHOOL:
I went to the village school and then to the Peebles High School.
Aye, that would be up Leithen Road then?
We started off by going to what we called "The Wee School". Now that's where St Ronan's House is now.
Oh yes. The Maxwell Street School.
Yes. We went there first of all, to the wee school and then after, was it four years, there were so many classes there.
Yes.
We went up to what we called "The Big School" and that was up Leithen and then if you were leaving to go to Peebles, ... I think you left at the supplementary class. Usually you were about ten or eleven
Yes, I see.
So you went up to Peebles but it wasn't compulsory in these days. It was only I think if your folks didn't need your money
Aye.
You know.
I think it was only compulsory to age fourteen,
Yes.
And after fourteen you could leave. That's right, yes.

LOCAL TRADERS; VEGETABLES: Then of course, Mr Gardner, who had the fruit and vegetable shop. The man who had the vegetable cart going round the village - he had a great big nursery, up where Nursery Park is now. You know Nursery Park?
Yes, that's right, aye. I remember where the nurseries were, yes.
Up there were all fruit trees and strawberries and when they were ready to pick he used to employ all the children from the village.
Right.

You used to say, "Are you going to the picking?" It was just known as "The Picking".
Aye, that's right. Yes.
Now that was ...
There used to be nurseries at the Wells Brae. You know the Wells Brae, going up to St Ronan's Wells? There used to be fields there.
Yes, well I think, were these not the fields that were owned by Mr Gardner?
They could well be. I don't know.
I know that, you went into the Strand and they were on the right hand side.
Yes, but you don't know. You know the steep hill going up to St Ronan's Wells?
Yes.
Well in the Old Photographs it shows you fields with ... I think it was fruit and vegetables that they were growing there as well.
I don't know, but it was in there somewhere. I know that Mr Gardner had them. In the village there were so many little shops. Shall I tell you about the shops?
Oh certainly. Yes. What you remember, yes, surely.

THE DRILL HALL:
Well, starting at Murray Allen's, now Murray - you must tell me if you know all this - but Murray Allen's premises were what they called the "Drill Hall".
That's right, yes ... X. .) big hall.
Yes, at one time.
And there were all the balls and the dancing and all that sort of thing. That was the original.
It was built for the Territorial Army soldiers, wasn't it?
Yes.
That was why it was called the Drill Hall.

LOCAL TRADERS; BUTTER: Next to the hall was the Buttercup. Now the Buttercup people were a company that sold only butter and they had shops all over the place.
Aye, it was a kind of chain store, wasn't it, yes, aye, that's right.
And they did the tiling. Next to them was, now ... Andrew Caldwell's. Next to the Buttercup were the Caldwells. Now the Caldwells got that business from a little woman called Bella. She was related to them in some way. She was a tiny wee woman and she lived in the house next-door to the shop.
I think she was an auntie, wasn't she?
She's something of that sort.
I'm sure she was related to them, yes, aye.
When she died the Caldwells got it. Bella Lawson, is that her name? I can remember her, when you went into the shop you only saw her head above the counter.
Laughter.
Yes, aye.
(. . X. . .) and they always declared that she had a stool that she stood on. Now, the Caldwells have never shifted that counter. It's the same today as it was when we were wee.
That's right, yes.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE BARBER:
That was the Caldwell's shop and next to the Caldwells was Danny the barber. Now his own name was Danny Ingram but he had a barber shop there and then there was the close up to the pend. When you went up through they were big houses, high building on the right. I can't remember ever being there but we called that the Barracks Close.
That's right, aye. It was called the Barracks for some reason, aye.

LOCAL TRADERS; TWEED MERCHANT:
The Barracks and next to the Barracks Close was Euman, who sold any length cut. He was a merchant, a tweed merchant and he had that shop. Then, next to him ( ... X ... )
The bank, was it?

LOCAL TRADERS; THE PLUMBER:
No, it's Euman the plumber.
Did the bank not come before that?
Hmm?
The bank, British Linen Bank. Was that there then?
No, that's where Euman had his 'any length cut' shop.
Oh, that was before the bank. Oh right.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE SHOE SHOP & THE BAKERS:
It was the British Linen people who bought that bank but this was before the bank - that Euman and then there was Euman the plumber, that was John Euman. Then next to him was a little shoe shop. Jim Harvey was his name and then, there was the close up there, and then the houses and next to the houses was a baker's shop. Whitson the Baker.
Aye.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE BAKERS & THE SMIDDY:
And next to Whitson the Baker was the big pend into where they took their horses to be shod.
That's right, that was the Smiddy.
Dobie was the man's name. Remember Dobie who was married and lived down? .... No, I don't remember. It was Andrew Nicholson that had the Smiddy when I……
What was her married name? I can't remember. Anyway, her father was the blacksmith. Yes, and he used to make us girds. Now do you know what a gird is?
Yes, that's right, aye. It's an iron ring with the, the……
The metal ring?
The metal rod and it's got a loop on the end of it.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE DAIRY:
Aye, he used to do wee jobs. That was it. And then on the corner, where the butcher shop is, that was a dairy.
Aye. I remember that.
There was a dairy. And then next to the dairy was (.X. . )
The hotel?

LOCAL TRADERS; THE GROCER'S, THE DRAPER, THE SWEETIE SHOP & THE UPHOLSTERER:
There was, ... a grocer's shop, by the name of Ferguson. Because that big high building used to be called 'Ferguson's Building' when I was young. I don't know what it's called now but it was Ferguson the Grocer and Jimmy McNaught, the draper and then next to that there was a wee sweetie shop. I don't know the woman's name but I can see the wee sweetie shop and next to the sweetie shop was Anderson the upholsterer. He sold furniture or anything.
Right.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE RECORD SHOP:
And then when his son got old enough, he used to sell records.
Oh aye.
Because we used to buy our records there.
Aye, the old 78s.
Yes, (... X. .)
Aye, if you dropped them they broke.

LOCAL TRADERS; BITS & BOBS & THE BUTCHER:
HMV records and that sort of thing. Then beyond that was the hotel and then beyond the hotel was the (.X.. .) at the back of the hotel. Next to that was Wood's who sold bits 'n bobs and trimmings and that sort of thing. That's right, that's Wood's and then next to them. I've maybe missed one, but on the corner was Tait the butcher.
Oh, where the hotel is?

LOCAL TRADERS; THE BAKER'S SHOP: It was a baker's shop.
Where the hotel is now?
Mmm?
Where that corner house hotel is, yeah?

LOCAL TRADERS; THE HOTEL:
Yeah, and round the corner, where the door into the hotel was, the baker's two daughters kept a hotel and that was (... .)
Was that a temperance hotel?
A temperance.
Yes, aye, 'cos I remember people telling me that used to be a temperance hotel, yes, aye.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE DRAPER'S & THE SWEETIE SHOP: And on the other corner was Craig the Draper who had a big draper's business there. He also did dressmaking and men's tailoring. Next to that, I can't remember, was one shop there and then next to that was Agnes Burt. Agnes had a sweetie shop. She made her own tablet and her own chocolates.
Now, I think that's where the lawyer is now, isn't it?
No.
No?

LOCAL TRADERS; LAWYERS:
The lawyers are where the Dalgleishes were.
Ah, right. This is before that.
Before that, I knew there was a shop I'd forgotten. It was there that the Dalgleishes were. They lived in yon house and next to the house was Agnes Burt.
Right, yes. I know where you are.
We had a sweetie shop and then next to that was The Bank of Scotland. Across on the other corner was the man we've been speaking about.
Aye, that was Gardiners ... fruit and vegetables, yes.

And then Smail……..
Now there's a ...

LOCAL TRADERS; THE PAINTER & THE GROCER:
The painter, Smail, and then, who had your shop? Was that part of Temples? Because you see, there was Temple the grocer there ...

Ah yes.
And it went back through. That was where Ray retired from, because Ray Martin's father used to pay him as an assistant. I mentioned a grocer down on the other side, it was Ferguson the grocer.
Yes.
Well, Ray's father came from Galashiels to work ...

Yes
(. . X. .) there because Ferguson the grocer had two daughters and one of the daughters got married and the other one went with her as a nursemaid. So the father got Ray's father to come and that's how Ray's father came to Innerleithen.
Ah, right.
Then when Ferguson died, Ray's father took over the business and was there for a long time in Ferguson's building. Then of course Ray went. Next to you was Jimmy Temple who had a grocer's shop. He lived with his two sisters and one sister was a school teacher. She taught up the High School and the other one kept house for him.
Oh aye.
Then when he died that shop went through various hands until Ray bought it. He bought that premises there.
Aye, that's the one that's now the table shop.

LOCAL TRADERS; CHARITY SHOP:
That is now the thingmy shop.
The sort of charity shop, the TAVO (Tweedale Association of Voluntary Organisations)
Yes, the charity shop.
Aye, that's right. Yes.
Then beyond that shop was Dougal Pringle who was also a grocer but Dougal was famed because he was a most beautiful singer. He always, at the opera, we had a lot of lovely men singers and Dougal was a beautiful tenor, but he was a grocer there and then next to the grocer - I don't know, were chemists there?
I believe there was, aye.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE CHEMIST:
A chemist. Then you went further down and of course, there was another shop. I can't remember who was in it but the next shop was the provost, Provost Mathieson, who was the chemist on the corner.
Aye, aye, right, uhuh.
Now Provost Mathieson was an educated man, a very intelligent man, a far seeing man and I think he was Provost of Innerleithen for about forty years. A long, long number of years, Provost Mathieson.
Aye.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE HARDWARE SHOP:
Then on the other side, on the other corner, was a man by the name of Tait who sold just a wee bit of everything, paper and things. Nuts and bolts and everything like that.
Aye.
Almost the same as it is today.
Aye, a hardware shop.
I think he failed and had to take in a……I don't know who took the business after that.
Was it the Brodies that took it over?
Mmm?
Was it the Brodies, A Mr Brodie. There was a Mr Brodie had that shop at one time.
Ah well, that would be who took it. But I'm speaking about the days when it was, before that, it was Mr Smith ...

Tait. A Mr Tait? Was it, did you say?
It was a Mr Smith who had that shop.
Oh, right.
And he failed, because I think he got a bit…… I don't know what went wrong. I shouldn't speak about what I don't know, but anyway, they sold them up.
Yes.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE BAKER: (. . X. .) and then beyond that was, Forsyth's the Baker.
Aye.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE FISH & CHIP SHOP: Then I think you would know everybody else after that, after the baker. Then there was a chemist's shop and then there was Mrs Thingmy who had the fish and chip shop. Opened only on an evening, Mrs Gardner.
Oh yes.
You knew about her? She had the fish and chip shop at ... you know where Betty Crichton lived?
Aye,, I heard ...

(. . X.. .) Betty Crichton's grandmother ...

I heard that Betty Crichton's house was a chip shop as well.
She had a fish and chip shop in there. She opened only in the evening.
Yes.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE FISH SHOP: And then you went down, there were no more shops after that and then there was the opening that went round the back of the high building but on the corner was Mr Blyth who had a fish shop. He sold fish.
Yes..
LOCAL TRADERS; THE POLICE STATION: And next to him (. . X. .) was a grocers shop by the name of Pennel and then you came to the Police Station.
Yes, I know where you are.
LOCAL TRADERS; REGISTRY OFFICE: Next to the police station, was where you registered birthdays and marriages.
Aye, I can remember that, ...

LOCAL TRADERS; THE MILLINER'S SHOP: But before that, or was it ……no... before the birthdays, there was a milliners shop in there because when we were young we used to get our hats. You got a new ribbon on your last years hat and you got a flower put on or she would make you a hat. It was in there somewhere, Miss Murray was her name.
Aye, aye, it might have been next to, you know ...

That was the very last shop.
Oh, aye ... X.. .) beyond the Police Station.
Aye, that's a hairdressers now.
Mmm?
It's a hairdressers now, I think the one that you're talking about, yes.
Well, when I was a wee girl, if you got a new hat you bought a straw and then she decorated it, either with a bit of ribbon or a few flowers, according to the style of the day.
Aye, very good ... .
So, you were always up to fashion.
Oh, yes, that was Miss Murray. I remember her quite well. And then of course, going from the Provost's Corner down Morningside, there were quite a few shops down that way.
Yes.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE GROCER'S SHOP:
There was a grocer's shop.
I think there was a Mr Crabbe, was it not?
Mmm?

LOCAL TRADERS; THE TOBACCONIST:
A Mr Crabbe, in Waverley Road. I think, was he a tobacconist? Aye.
And he also had a pool table.
Oh, aye, aye. That would be unusual.

LOCAL TRADERS; THE CHINA SHOP & THE JOINER:
He was very, very thingmy with the football people. He had a lot to do with the football. Then there was another wee shop on the corner there by the name of Peggy Hogg. Now some people say it was 'Piggy' because she sold cups and saucers and ... .bits of china or whether it was 'Piggy' I don't know, but thingmy Watt, Munro Watt's father came to Innerleithen looking for a job. He was a joiner in Haddington. Now I had this story from his son so I think it's quite correct. Mr Watt set out from Haddington with his bag of tools looking for a job and he wandered on 'til he came to Innerleithen and he was offered a job at Innerleithen. There were two joiners in the village and one of them offered him a job. He took the job and the man who employed him sent him across the road to get lodgings at Peggy Hogg's and he stayed there for ten shillings a week and she gave him his room and his food and did his washing.

My goodness!
All for ten shillings. And that was how Mr Watt started in Innerleithen.
Aye, that was a long time ago ...

I remember Munro telling me about that.
Yes.
He must have worked there all his life after he got that job.
Yes.
But it was Munro who told me that he thought the old woman's name was Peggy but she got Piggy because she sold china and cups and ...

Aye, aye, pottery.
Little bits of household china, and I can remember when we were wee girls we used to go there and buy little wooden dolls that we used to dress with paper.
Oh aye.
THE WAR EFFORT: Little wooden dolls. Down there also was a sawmill, and during the First World War, our teacher at the school used to make us little pin cushions and we sold them for money for the war effort.
The war effort.
The Red Cross, the war effort.
Yes, yes. Very good.
We always had to be careful when we got the sawdust that we took some dry sawdust because I can always remember our teacher telling us that if we took damp sawdust it would rust the pins and needles.
Aye, that's right.
Isn't it funny the things you can remember ... .?
Aye, aye, they stick in your mind, yes, aye, ...

But that's where we used to get the sawdust, down on the left-hand side.
Aye ...

THE DOCTOR: And then of course Doctor McRobert lived down there. [MacRobert; Peter Carmichael (1870-1949); medical practitioner]
Aye, is that in the Runic?
No, the name of the doctor before Dr. McRobert. Dr McRobert lived in Runic Cross.
Runic Cross.
He had a thingmy in the morning, when that was finished he got on to his bicycle. He was a very neat little man. I can remember Dr McRobert as well as anything. He got on his bicycle with his attache case and he always had yellow chamois gloves on, and he went down, round the corner into Miller Street. If you wanted the doctor you just waited for him and gave him a shout and he came in ...

Yes.
You didn't need an appointment in those days.
Aye, he would go round at the same time every day.
Yes, the same every day. And you just knew when the doctor would be there. That was Dr McRobert. Now, he was a great tennis player and it was Dr McRobert who opened up the front of yon house. When we were wee you used to walk in, if you go down any time you're passing you'll see the mark on the wall. You walked straight in off the street, and straight up to the door and there was a big lawn on either side of the passage up to the front door. Well, Dr McRoberts filled in that door post, filled in the passage and made grass right across and he used to play tennis on there.
Aye it'd be big enough for a tennis court, yes.
He had two daughters. One was by the name of Jean and the other was by the name of Kathleen. Jean, eventually, she drove a car. We thought it was wonderful. A woman to drive a car. [MacRobert, Jean May (1898-?1989)] and [MacRobert, later Gunn, Kathleen Jessie (1901-1983)]
Aye, aye, very rare then I suppose, yes.
That was Jean McRobert. Kathleen was younger, but Dr McRobert was a great tennis player.
Would this be at the time of the First World War? Was this ...

Mmm?
Was this, you know, when you were very young?
Oh, yes. Yes.
About the time of the First World War?
That would be before the war.
Before the war.
Because it was, it was just at war time that we flitted from Sandridge Terrace up to Craig Dhu.
Yes, aye.
I think Dr McRobert was before the war.
Right.
I can't remember the name of the doctor who got Dr McRobert ... I do know that during the war, did he not go away to the navy? He enlisted as a naval officer.
Oh, that wouldn't surprise me. That wouldn't surprise me at all.
We only had the one doctor instead of the two. But that was during the war. I was away during the war because I got married in '36 and from Innerleithen.
This is the second war you're talking about now?
LEAVING INNERLEITHEN: It was just this side of the war. I had just been married about two years before the war and I went of course, we went, I was six months down in Manchester and then we went up to Aberdeenshire. I was there most of my married life. So, the war years, and the years after the war, I wasn't in Innerleithen at all.
Oh, I'll need to speak to somebody else about that!

Laughter
RETURNING TO INNERLEITHEN: When I came back to Innerleithen, there were about two generations of people that I didn't know.
Oh, aye, aye.
Because I was away for about twenty seven years.
Quite a shock really, wasn't it, coming back to see all the changes?
It's only the very early part, when I was quite young that I remember about Innerleithen. What else can I think about to tell you?
You told me about ...

MORE BUILDINGS IN INNERLEITHEN: I was going to tell you about when you went down……. I was thinking about this the other night. Say that you were down at the foot of Miller Street and instead of turning right, you turned left. Well, where all these houses are on the right hand side was a field.
That's right.
And on the other side, Willie Oliver's grandfather was the last house. There was Sandridge Terrace and then there was where Ian thingmy lived.
Ian Rorrison's house, yes.
And the next house, was built by the Olivers. They were the builders and then beyond that, right down to the start of the high building, that was a field, and it belonged to Tweedbank Farm.
Yes.
Then beyond that you came to the station. Now in the olden days, we could walk up the back of Sandridge Terrace, along a path 'til you came to the railway and then we could turn right and go down to Leithen, down to the Tweed.
Yes.
But on the roadside after you had passed Sandridge Terrace there were two houses, the field and then the big high building
Devon Place.
You came to the station rails.
Yes.
THE NAPPER: Across the rails and you came to the cemetery. Sitting on the side of the road on the way to the cemetery was a man who sat and broke stones. He sat the whole day breaking. He was what they called a 'napper'. Now, the stones were used to build into the street. He sat there, and I can remember his name as well as anything…. he sat there and broke stones and he always had goggles on. I think there's still a bit of that wall that goes in like that
That's right, there is.
And that's where he used to sit. Now his name was Thingmy Liddle. We were always frightened of him. He would be a nice old man, but to wee children, if we were down that way, we always hurried past quite quickly because he always sat there breaking stones.
And they would use that to surface the road with?
Mmm. I don't know, somebody once told me that they were used for making ... in those days, the streets were all dust.
Aye, that's right.
So whether that was the start of building roads or not, but anyway he ...

Aye, maybe, aye, be used for repairs, need to fill in potholes, that's what they would use them for. Nowadays they have big machines that crush the stones up but at one time it would have to be men just bashing on the hammer. That's right, I remember reading about that. I think it's one of John Anderson's articles.
I think his name was somebody Liddle but that was where he was, down there.
You told me you used to be able to hear the corncrakes in that field.
WILDLIFE: Oh yes, the corncrake always came in the summer and it was always in at the field between Olivers' house and the corn. The field belonged to Tweedbank and there was always a corncrake in that field. It used to go on the whole time.
And did you not used to sit on the back of the grass rakes?
Mmm?
Did you sit on the back of the hay rake, I think you told me?
Oh, yes.
Get a hurl?
HAYTIME: When they cut the hay and that. It had a steel blade that came down and if the weather was warm the blade would be warm. When we sat on it we used to get a ride down to the farm and then they would take the hay off and bring us back. To this day I can remember the name of the man who was the servant at Tweedbank. Hewitson, Dave Hewitson and his mother and sister lived in the village and of course…….
Did they use a tractor or was it horses. Was it horses or a tractor?
Oh, it was a horse!
That was a horse, aye.
Oh it was a horse! It was a very low, low thing and it had like a metal blade that shape and when they lifted the corn you slid it on you see, and you took it from the farm down to the farmyard.
Yes.
Oh yes, you used to get a ride from Davie Howatt, (X. Hewitson) It was nice. But it was a very flourishing farm at thingmy in these days.
Oh yes, aye.
It was two brothers who had it.
Aye you can tell that from the farm buildings. It's all been made into a house, but it's been a really good substantial steading.
A beautiful big house and there were the two brothers who had it.
Aye.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE BUTCHER: That was the shop I missed on the High Street. Bryden the butcher. One was a butcher and the other brother managed the farm.
Aye, and supplied the meat!
Mmm?
He would supply the meat on the hoof, aye.
GARDENERS: The one that l stayed at home at the farm was a well known gardener
Oh, aye, aye. I think you told me about this.
He could grow all sorts of wonderful things and eventually when I was in my teens, I got to know there was quite a history there. I used to go quite a lot to the farm and he grew most lovely great big arum lilies. You know, white lilies, like the bride used to carry.
Oh yes, aye, aye.
He grew them there and he used to let us see them. Neither of these men ever married but he used to let us see the lilies. "Now don't touch them because they're very petted" he used to say.
Aye.

He also grew a lot of fruit because right up in the garrets in that house, he had all his staples laid out and beautiful pears. You could smell the pears through the house.
Oh yes, lovely. How are we doing for time?
You must tell me if I'm blethering!
Oh, no, no, crikey! Keep going, keep going!
THE MILLS: Leithen Mills was owned by a man called Walter Smail and Walter Smail was married to my mother's uncle who was a Ballantyne. You see, when the men came to make the mills at Walkerburn, my grandfather was a son of one of them. My grandfather's father had died and there was my grandfather and old Auntie Betsy, his sister. The two children were left without a father and they brought my grandfather up to Walkerburn to be in the Mill when they made it. Now, Auntie Betsy was married to a man called Smail and Smail had Leithen Mills but he was more interested in other things than making the mill profitable and he went and failed. He was married to Auntie Betsy who was one of the Ballantynes, a cousin or something. He got the Ballantynes to pay him out and of course they paid off his debt but they took the mill as security. Well, the mill went, he went back to work and of course, the stupid thing, he went and failed a second time. So the Ballantynes of Walkerburn, they wouldn't sue him. They took the mill from him but they had their own mills at Walkerburn and my father was married to, another Ballantyne. Mother was a Ballantyne and they sent for Daddy and said to him, would he take on the mill and try and make a working job of it. Daddy was employed at Selkirk at the time.
Oh, yes.
So, nothing daunted, Daddy took over Leithen Mills and started to make it pay and that was the start of Leithen Mills. Now they were spinners, that's what they were, and he used to sell a lot of wool and stuff to the Hawick hosiery trade. Then the Ballantynes got Caerlee Mill. They knew nothing whatsoever about hosiery but they got some of the men from Hawick to come and start up the hosiery at Caerlee and amongst them was a Mr Clark who came as manager. Daddy knew Mr Clark from his dealings with him at Hawick and when Mr Clark came to Innerleithen to start at Caerlee he got in touch with Daddy. One day he said to Daddy, "Dae ye ken onything aboot this cashmere?" and Daddy said no, he'd never spun any of it but he said, "I'll get some and we'll try it". Well Mr Clark said, "I think it's something we should do about". The only person who sold cashmere in those days was Joseph Dawson and he was down in Yorkshire somewhere and that was where the first cashmere was bought. Daddy spun it at Leithen Mill and Mr Clark knitted it at Caerlee Mill. That was the start of the Ballantyne ...

When was this? Can you remember roughly, when was this? Before the first war or .

Oh yes, oh yes. It must have been about 19, or it must have been the late 1920s I would think.
Aye, after The First War. After The Great War?
Just after The First War. Now, how the Ballantynes got Caerlee Mill I have no idea because you see it was Sir Henry's lot and ... there was the Henry crowd at Peebles and then there was the Walkerburn Ballantynes. That was, you remember Walter, Walter Ballantyne and his three sisters? They lived in Walkerburn. Now, that, Jeremy, you know Jeremy?
Oh, aye.
Well, Jeremy's father was one of the sons. There was ever so many sons (. . X. .). There was Douglas, JK, that was thingmy's father. There was Norman was the eldest, he lived in Caerlee and he went bankrupt. There was Colin who was Jeremy's grandfather, there was Norman and Colin and Jack (?) and Frank, who lived in Walkerburn, in the big house at Walkerburn, the family house. He was never married until he was, och he was about, well up his sixties when he decided to get married. He married his housekeeper and when he died the housekeeper and her sister were left the big house that's now the hotel.
Oh, the Tweed Valley?
That was where the family lived, that was (. . X. .) and, no, no no. Tweed Valley belonged to Jack, ... thingmys man, the eldest one. No, no the other……
Is it the George Hotel?
The family home was at Sunnybrae It's on the market at the moment,. You see there were the two brothers and when they each got married they each had big families and the Sunnybrae, the thingmy crowd, they went away to Peebles. That's where David Ballantyne, that's the side of the family that he comes from.
I think they called that company 'David Ballantyne Bros' or something, wasn't it? Ballantyne Bros.
That's the (. . X. . .) Peebles
They had the March Street Mills at Peebles, aye.
That was Henry's family and of course the Walkerburn lot, ... there was John, and thingmy and then he married and there was a lot of sons, one girl but Walter is off that lot, Jeremy's off that lot and there were Jean and Allison but it was their grandparents who rescued Uncle Watt as we called him and that's how they got Leithen Mill. They had a very big family these, because they were all Mother's cousins that I know about and I can remember being taken to visit what Mother called 'Old Auntie Betsy'. That was, the widow of the man who always failed.
Aye, right.
And ... that was how the Ballantynes got Leithen Mill.
Aye, that's interesting, that.
They sent for Daddy to put it on its feet because they didn't want anything to do with it and the old man of Walkerburn, at the mill when they appointed Daddy said to him, "Take it away Jeck" his name was John but he always got 'Jack' or 'Jeck', "and make a kirk or a mill o' it".
Ah well, he succeeded.
Mmm?
He succeeded.
Oh yes. That was………….
They used to do silk in the Leithen Mills at one time. Do you remember that? They used to spin silk in Leithen Mills.
At the little factory.
Aye there was a separate factory for that.
Oh yes, it was the little silk mill but I don't know if they ever worked silk. I know I don't think Daddy did.
No, no, I think that's going back quite a bit that.
Eventually, many years later, they took the little mill, because they used to have it as a storeroom, up in the little square.
Aye that's right, just past the lodge on the right hand side I think, if I remember rightly.
That's right. Oh it's an awful lot of history when you think of it.
Oh yes, aye, there's a lot that's never been written down you know. It's never been recorded you know and it's only what people remember so………
Yes, and you know, as the years go past, at least I'm beginning to forget things, like the names of people, but I can see them you know.
Aye.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE HIGH STREET: Oh, I can see lots of things and the shops on the High Street I can see quite well. We had everything we needed on the High Street. Then of course when the Co-op started you went up Chapel Street and on the left hand side there was a shop owned by John Ferguson and he was known as 'Honest John', anybody just called. Now that is where the Co-op butcher shop used to be because when the Masons had it, that was the hall for one of the churches. When the Masons have their………..
Was it, I think that was a congregational chapel at one time.
Mmm?
The Masons Hall was a congregational chapel I think it was, yes.
And then next to that……
'Cos the Masons used to meet in the drill hall and then I think they moved to Chapel Street at some time.
They used to go up a stair round the back of the drill hall.
Aye.
They had a place up there.
Aye, the upper hall I think it was. Something like that. Yes, aye. That's right.
Oh you fairly were up at that far and old John Ferguson, one side of his shop was a grocer's shop and the other side he sold nuts and bolts and anything like that. He also had a tricycle because we used to get our coffee there and we used to love to go for coffee because inside the door he had a grinder and we used to turn the handle and…….
Oh aye, grind the beans.
And I'll tell you where he lived. Hill House. You remember Hill House?
Aye.
Well, that's where ( ... X ... ) and then on the other, oh and next to it there was still a little shop, there was a woman there. She sold china and bits and bobs and knick knacks and her name was Mary Ferguson. I can always remember that. She had been a lady's maid at one of the big houses. Who I don't know. Then next to that you went up a close and there was a laundry up there.
Oh, I remember being told that, a long time ago.
And then of course next to that was where Jenny Mercer lived. That's where the photographer is.
Aye that's right, aye. That's called 'Backroft' that house, yes, aye.
LOCAL TRADERS; THE CO-OP: That used to be a shop. It went through various hands and then of course on the other side was the co-op. The co-op of course had a butcher's shop there and when you wanted anything for kitchenware you had to go right through and up a stair and go upstairs in the Co-op shop.
Aye.
When you went in you put your book in a box and then they pulled out the box so that nobody would get it before anybody else. Say that you and I were going in - you would have a co-op book and I would have a co-op book and you just put your book in a box and then when they came to the next person to be served, they pulled the book out and called your name.
That's right. Ah well, if you go in a super………
Do you remember that?
No, I don't remember that, but if you go in a supermarket today, if you go to a counter, they give you a ticket, a number, and you just have to wait your turn.
Well, it was a box just inside the door and you put your book in the top and they pulled a book out and called your name.
Can you remember your co-op number?
Mmm?
Can you remember your number?
No.
Our co-op number when I was wee, was 178, and the dividend book you know. That was the number.
I can't remember Mother's number.
Do you remember them building the Memorial Hall?
THE MEMORIAL HALL: They never built it. It was a bit built on.
Aye but can you remember.
No, I don't think I can. No. It would be built when I was away.
Well, it was built in 1922, I think.
Yes, well I was married by that……. wait a minute, no, no, no I wasn't.
No, I think you'd be in the town. You said you were married in 1936.
No, no I wasn't married, but I don't remember them building that.
Och, I suppose, it might not have been………
You see that house started, people by the name of Smail lived in it and there was a great big high wall all round it. It was called Home Villa.
Aye.
But I don't remember
You don't know which Smail that was? It wasn't the printer?
I think it was. Because there was Cowan's father.
Robert Cowan, yeah.
And his brother, Adam. Adam was never married and he was killed by lightning, fishing on the tweed.
Aye, I believe that………
They sold the………….
Well, there's a plaque where they went to pay the rent, to say that the building was donated by one of the Ballantynes. Your relatives again, it was.
It was opened by them.
Was it not, no, did they not purchase the building?
Oh maybe.
I think they did, yeah, they ... I think one, I can't remember which one it was but it was one of the Ballantyne family that purchased that building and donated it to the town to use as a………
I don't know who it would be.
I must go and read the plaque again but………
If ever you're back, have a read of the Ballantyne because it would be, I've no idea ... I just can't remember which one it was but I'll jot it down. I'll be coming back to see you again anyway to let you know how the recording went.
Any other blethers you want to know about?
Oh, aye, aye, come along any time and have a bit blether, aye. I'm quite delighted to………
Have I been of any use to you?
Oh, crikey, yes, aye.
Are you sure now?
Oh certainly, aye.
I can't think of anything else that I could tell you about. But you'll get the names and thingmy off the shopkeepers and you keep these papers 'cos they're no use to me.
Well if you're sure.
Yes, I'm quite sure and if I come on any programmes or anything like that I'll pass them on to you because they can be destroyed if they're no use.
No, no. I mean, old things like that, you don't destroy them nowadays because a lot of the time that's the only sort of record or evidence that something happened. Its ...

You can always maybe get a little bit out of them to fill in something.
Because I'm trying to build up a picture of what the town was like. What the people used to do, you know. What they had for entertainment, where they worked, you know. Oh, I expect nearly everybody worked in the mill.
CONCERTS: If I come on any programmes - you see my sister was a great pianist. Mrs Jackson, and she always played at all the concerts. Of course concerts in these days were a different thing, the only form of entertainment. The night the boys got their medals, on the nicht afore the morn', there was always a concert and they always got a party out of Edinburgh - professionals.
I've got some of these, I've got some of these programmes actually.
Yes. And it was at one of these that the Dux boy was overcome by the heat. But Jean…….
We call that the 'Cleikum Ceremonies' now.
My sister played, often played for these concerts if they didn't bring their own pianist.
Can you remember what used to happen at Games Week then? Can you remember the Games Week?
GAMES WEEK: Oh yes. There was always the concert.
I mean, now we have something on every day of the week, but it never used to be like that, did it?
No. It started on the Friday and Mother used to pull the garden to bits. We used to spend the Friday tying up bunches of flowers and putting them in plates because the children all came on a Saturday morning and those who hadn't a garden of their own, Mother gave them a bunch of flowers to take in the procession. Now the Games started on the Friday night with the concert and the Cleikum Ceremony and then in the morning, on the Saturday morning, the town council always rode in a cab or a (.X. . .)
Carriage, a horse, I've seen pictures of somebody sitting in the carriage, that's right.
The De'il was carried in the front of it. One of the Scotts for years carried the De'il. Then there was the Town Council, the band and the children. We all carried a bunch of flowers and we just went round Miller Street and down the High Street as far as I can remember.
Aye. They've got to go further down, they've got to go way up to the Strand now and then come back down.
Then we went into the park and they had great big baskets from the mill, with lids, and you handed over your flowers, they put them in the basket. You got a threepenny, and then you went away home and had some dinner (?) and then back to the Games in the afternoon. The Games always finished with the boy running up the hill and, I mean, that was just the Games.
They wouldn't have shows or fairground then did they?
Oh yes. Oh they'd have shows.
Even then, yeah.
The usual, shooting and throwing, coconut shies, well just all the things you had.
That would be in Victoria Park, was it?
QUOITING: At one time they had quoiting matches because I remember being taken by my father or somebody to watch Adam Sanderson. Do you remember Adam Sanderson? Do you know thingmy Sanderson?
Eddie?
Eddie's father.
No, I didn't know him.
Eddie's father was the champion quoiter and you know what the quoits were, they were metal and this was the final of some big competition.There was a big crowd and the commenting was held up at the Green. You know, right up there, when it was big open. I can't remember who won but there were great crowds and I remember being taken to see Adam playing the final quoiting. He was a great quoiter. Oh Yes. But that's where the shows used to go. Up to the Green.
Oh aye.
At one time there were shows at the Green but in these days there were a lot of these travelling fairs that came to the village. You know what I mean. They would be up there for a night or two. But our entertainment was very different in those days. Nowadays you have your television. You get everything worldwide. Now, we made a lot of our entertainment.
Oh yes.
Now, I'll tell you what there used to be. Alongside the opera there was, there was ... now do you want to stop?
Oh, I've run out of disc. It's still running. Aye, if you just tell me about this opera and I think that'll be about it for that disc.
KINDERSPIEL: Yes. There used to be what they called the Kinderspiel.
I've read about that, aye.
It was for all the young girls and boys, just, what you might call the children's Kinderspiel. Instead of your opera for the grown folk, this was for the children and it was always run by a woman called Paula Ferguson.
Oh, aye, and was it the children that performed?
Mmm?
Did the children do the performing?
Yes.
For other children?
She trained us all. Dancing and all that kind of thing and it was always like a story of some kind. The Fairy Princess, something like that.
Oh, I see, aye.
That was Polly. It was her father who had the grocer's shop in Chapel Street. Honest John.
Very good, aye. Aye 'cos ... I did a lot of research when I was doing an Open University Course. I did a lot of research, reading the old, St Ronan's Standards and they used to get reports about the Kindersfield (Kindersfield or Kinderspiel?) in them.
Yes.
Oh well, we can stop there I think. That's got to about the end of the disc.
[END]
Access StatusClosed

Show related Persons records.

    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2020