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A photograph of the Gold Medal can be seen in the Awards Section (1962)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture on the left was kindly donated by Dougie Gillon who took numerous photgraphs of the group 'The Boston Dexters' of which Tam was a member.  Although the information states that he is from Murryfield, Tam was born and brought up in The Grassmarket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAMOUS PUPILS

 

Sean Connery

I saw the Big man again at the opening of the Scottish Parliament. As he walked down the Royal Mile the roar went up Sean for President. He loved it with a big grin on his face. As he got level I shouted out Hi Big Tam and he lit up again and I snapped the picture. I met him whilst he was on sick leave from the navy, he took me to the recruiting office and after 2 years I too had had enough. The sheer snobbery was enough for me. I remember that big lad in the playground. I had to carry him once in piggy back charge. My brother knew him better than me. We took over his milk run for a short while

Donald Veale. 1943 – 46

Big Tam Connery. When Miss Margaret Rosie retired it was reported that she recalled one encounter with the youthful James Bond. He once tried to scare her with two white mice. The ploy failed and brought about a new teacher - pupil respect. "Miss, ye werna feared," said Sean admiringly.

David Millan. 1957 - 60

Charles Gibb reports that he and another boy called Victor Briary stole a loaf of bread from St Cuthbert's in Fountainbridge and then waited for the milk float to come along when they grabbed a pint of milk and made off with it. The Milkman by the name of Tommy Connery chased them the length of Fountainbridge where he eventually caught up with them and apparently the bottle of milk went 'up in the air'. Charles doesn't expand on whether 'Tommy' also sent them up in the air.

Charles Gibb 1953 - 57

The following article by former pupil Craigie Vietch was printed in the Edinburgh Evening News in 1981.  It is reproduced, with Craigie's permission for the enjoyment of all.

James Bond's old school tie...

SECRET AGENT 007, who once held a home posting in Edinburgh, will be back on his old stamping ground in July when he will be awarded a Doctor of Letters degree by Heriot-Watt University.

THE ELEVATION of Sean Connery to academic greatness is, without doubt, a glowing tribute to that famous seat of Edinburgh learning, Darroch Junior Secondary school, now, alas, no longer functioning under its own colours.


Those of us who, all unwittingly, had the privilege of sharing an inkwell with the lad from Fountainbridge who was to achieve immortality as James Bond, will rejoice with Big Tam in his hour of glory.


And they will naturally recall the days of wartime rationing when we would attend morning assembly in the big hall and belt out the school song, Hail Darroch!, one memorable line of which said that "Darroch's ways are honest ways," and which always got the full-throated treatment despite the fact that a few of our numbers happened to be in Borstal at the time.


The name of Thomas Connery does not appear on the school roll. Neither do those of any of his contemporaries for the Darroch records have gone down with the old ship. It was that type of school. Unpretentious. Not quite in the educational mainstream and somewhat downhill and downmarket from its near neighbour, Boroughmuir, which creamed off the brighter blades of the Merchiston-Fountainbridge-Tollcross conclave, a notable capture at that time being one Lawrie Reilly, who was to achieve some small fame as a footballer, unhappily not with Hearts.

Uniform

A gaunt, grey building, Darroch was staffed by no-nonsense teachers with strong right arms, the better to belt you with, and attended by plus-12 girls in print dresses and rough-and-ready boys whose school uniform was a woolly pullover and short trousers with the shirt tail peeping through, topped off in winter with a balaclava helmet.


Pop Hendry, our English teacher, always insisted that the well-rounded man must be accurate in his spelling and he kept at hand a largish Chambers Dictionary which he would bounce on the head of any boy thick enough to think that seize was sieze.  The message sank in, although it did nothing for the shape of 007's head.


We were well versed in poetry, too, but I cannot recall Connery ever being called to the front of the class to recite lines from three epic poems which happened to be in vogue in the forties: Splendour Falls on Castle Walls .. A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea .. and something about a slave having a dream with his matted hair buried in the sand.


All meaty material which the young Connery must have absorbed and stored away for the day when his dormant artistic temperament would slowly blossom and come to full flower.


Yet there was nothing of the longhaired poet about schoolboy Connery. He was big and he was as hard as nails in an easy-going way and anyone at school who messed him about got a thick ear and a black eye; one torrid encounter, Connery v. Anderson, going the best part of 12 bloody rounds in the playground before the janitor and two teachers managed to break it up.

Ambition

In those far-off days it was the height of a boy's ambition to gain an apprenticeship or to get into the Post Office - a job for life - or apply for work in the rubber mill, that evil-smelling monstrosity of a factory that sprawled alongside Connery's tenement home in Fountainbridge and is now swallowed up by a brewery that has a slightly more agreeable pong.


Connery avoided all of these workhouses. He had a series of job encounters; a brush at the French polishing, a spell in the machine room of the "Evening News" and an open-air session as a beach bum at Portobello during his formative years when, like many other young men he was into the Charles Atlas kick with the chest expanders, the lifting of heavy weights and the cultivation of the body beautiful.


During his days of wine and roses when the Palais de Danse in Fountainbridge was his stamping ground and every cute little chick was his goal, the good-looking, semi-draped Connery got a toe in the door at the King's Theatre, carrying a spear, as they say, in "South Pacific."


From there to London, to elocution lessons, to a part alongside Lana Turner, to fame and to fortune as James Bond.

From the shores of Portobello to the sun-drenched millionaires' strand of Marbella, our man Connery's come a long way as the only actor ever to fill realistically the hand-made shoes of the character created by Ian Fleming.


He'll handle the July capping ceremony with style and with finesse, for didn't he, as James Bond, take a first in Oriental languages at Cambridge?


Something we all failed to do at Darroch, incidentally.

Craigie Veitch 1941 - 44

John Grant

John Grant was a professional footballer who played for Hibernian from 1949 until 1964.  He played twice for Scotland in the Home Internationals of 1959, and also represented the Scottish League XI.  John was a pupil at Darroch in the mid 1940’s.

 David McBain 1953-1957    

Allister Hutton

According to the Scottish Distance Running website, Allister Hutton was born in 1954, which makes his attendance at Darroch to be circa 1966 – 68.

In 1975, he won the Scottish Junior Cross Country title, was Scottish National Cross-Country Champion in 1978 and 1982, and competed in three consecutive Commonwealth Games for Scotland.   

It was however in Marathon Running he earned his most famous victory.  He was third in the 1985 London Marathon with a Scottish record time of 2:09:16, was third again in 1986, and achieved his ultimate goal in 1990.  A contemporary report states:

The 10th London Marathon saw the first British men’s winner since 1985 when 35 year old Allister Hutton left a quality field far behind. - In poor weather, reminiscent of 1986, Hutton maintained his form to the line, winning in 2:10:10. It was his first marathon win, but he was in such good shape that he even asked the early pacemaker Nick Rose to speed things up after only 10km.’

David McBain.  1953-57

(Rev) John Keddie

John attended Darroch from 1959 – 1962 as, in his own word he wasn’t ‘good enough’ to get into Boroughmuir.  Despite that earlier statement, in his final year at Darroch he was language Dux, received a hallmarked gold medal in recognition and in the summer of 1962 went on to Boroughmuir to complete his education.

 

After leaving School in 1965 he trained as an accountant and in 1971 moved to London where he qualified as a member of the Association of Certified Accountants.  John also had a spell as Commercial Manager of the Marketing section of Dunlop Sports Company - not a bad record for a boy who was not ‘good enough’ to go to Boroughmuir.

 

In addition to his academic ability he was also prominent in athletics, becoming Scottish Junior triple jump champion in 1965, playing senior rugby for his former pupils club [Boroughmuir], 1966-1970, and winning blue in athletics at Heriot Watt University, 1968.

 

John had a close interest in Eric Liddell, both as an athlete and a Christian/Missionary and assisted Colin Wellard, the writer of screenplay for Chariots of Fire in depicting the character of Eric Liddell.  John wrote the official history of the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association [Scottish Athletics] and subsequently two biographies of Eric Liddell: Running the Race; and Finish the Race. These books have gone through several printings and have been widely acclaimed.

 

In addition, John is the author of an outstanding biography of Scottish minister and theological Professor, George Smeaton as well as an influential popular book on the singing of Bible Psalms in worship, Sing the Lord’s Song.  He has also written widely for sports and Christian papers and magazines.

 

Entering the ministry of a Presbyterian Church in Scotland in 1987 he served at Burghead (Morayshire) and Bracadale (Isle of Skye) before retirement in April 2012. He continues to act as lecturer in Church History in the denomination’s Seminary in Inverness.

 

Married to Jean (since 1971) with 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

David McBain 1953-1957

Thomas (Tam) McKenzie

Tam McKenzie was a professional footballer who spent most of his career with Heart of Midlothian.  He captained Hearts during the 1949-50 season and was part of the side which won the Scottish Cup in 1956.  Born in 1922, he was a pupil at Darroch in the mid 1930’s.

David McBain 1953-1957

Robert (Bobby) Robertson

Robert Robertson is featured in the photograph of the Football 1st’s, 1966/67.  After leaving school he played as a Junior with Whitburn and gained a Scotland Junior International Cap.

He was subsequently signed by Rangers, and transferred to Hibernian in 1972.  On the Hibs website he is named ‘Bobby’ Robertson and it is noted that although he ‘played in two European competitions, he never made a single league appearance’.  Unfortunately he made only 5 appearances with Hibs over two seasons and at the end of season 73/74 was sold to Bonnyrigg Rose.

David McBain 1953-1957

He was very accomplished but still from time to time would come down to the Meadows on a Sunday for a kick about with the boys.

Gordon Moore.  1965-1968.

Billy Lyall.

Lead singer of the pop group Pilot and an early member of the Bay City Rollers  Another pupil of 'Henry' Hall's who kept in touch after he left school.  According to Wikipedia, Billy Lyall died of AIDS-related causes in 1989.

David McBain 1953-1957

William Owen

Went to Darroch around 53-54-55 and remembers being part of Andrew (Henry) Hall's music pupils.  Became famous in Melbourne Australia as lead singer of Billy Owens & the Thunderbirds.

William Owen 1953 - 55

Tam White

Well known blues singer and actor, Tam sang the part of 'The Knight' in the 1956 school production of 'The Blind Beggars Daughter'.  I still have the programme.  Tam died in 2010

David McBain 1953-1957