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1900 - 1949

1950 - 1973


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The School Flat was in 5 Leamington Terrace. 



I remember going with a friend to see the Cilla Black and P.J. Proby Show.  However, Edinburgh City Council in their wisdom had banned P J Proby as he had split his trousers on stage too often, so we just had Cilla; a bit disappointing for us teenage Girls!!!  Dougie Gillon was there to take photos and he kept getting us better seats as the theatre was not full.  We ended up about five rows back from the stage.  Ah! the good old days.

Linda Rose 1962 - 66


Bruntsfield School

We went to Bruntsfield School for Laundry Classes and to the school house around the corner where they taught you how to run a house.

Florence McGee.  1955 - 58

James Gillespie's School

I was at Darroch when Gillespies's used it as an annexe in the late 1970's.  One winter the whole of Gillespie's was squeezed in for a wee while as the oil tanker drivers were on strike, but the Darroch boilers were coal fired.

Patrick Hutton 1976 - 77

Shops etc.

Anyone remember paying a penny for half a Woodbine cigarette or Turf, Players Weights or a three penny Capstan in Gilmore Place Newsagents? Most of the boys smoked the odd fag then - mostly in the playground toilet. We also used to buy a packet of Refreshers which were quite popular and a Gob Stopper. Oh, Halcyon Days.

James Kay. 1953 - 55

I remember the shop in Gilmore Place that sold home-made tablet.  The number of dinner monies there and in the chip shop in Fountainbridge, opposite Duncan's Chocolate Factory!  Oh happy days.

Catherine Clark 1953 - 57


As well as the smell of the Rubber Mill, a walk to school also involved passing MacKay's Sweet Factory [toffee and boiling's]  McEwan's Brewery and the distillery where they fermented the grain.
One of life’s most evocative memories -the smell of the rubber mill.  Its 'fragrance' lives with me still.

Derek Kellachan.  1957 – 59

The Union Canal

Filling screw topped lemonade bottles - a great sacrifice as they had money back on them! - with dry ice and throwing them into the water where, after a few seconds, they would explode like a small depth charge - much to the anger of the people in the boats.  I was interested to see this technique described in The Anarchists Cookbook !

David Millan.  1957 - 60

Canoeing on the canal in summer, sliding on the ice in winter - and getting a rollicking from the head-master for doing both!  

Derek Kellachan.  1957 – 59

The tales we were told of people drowning in it, being pulled under by reeds, yet we were still made to learn canoeing in it and how to capsize and re right the boat!  I never could understand why Michael Stewart actually decided to swim in it one day.  I was convinced he would drown for sure!

Lesley Hirstwood nee Palmer – 1971 - 74

Yes I remember it well including that swim.

Michael Stewart.  1971

One highlight of my time at Meggetland was being offered the chance to try out on the canoes on the Canal. The BBC came along and made a feature on us and Mary Marquis was the reporter.  I remember the producer wanted to get some boat to boat shots so I was selected to "power" the large three seat canoe taking the sound and camera guys along with their heavy gear. I certainly struggled to keep up with the single and double units. Still at least I did not capsize us all into the canal.  We all crowded around our TV in the evening hoping to catch a sight of ourselves.  

Graeme Scott 1963 - 66   

There was indeed an 'exercise' on the Canal probably around summer of 1966, my final year.   I was one of a number of lads involved firstly in the making of the canvas touring canoes (two and three manned) under the clinical eye of Ken Boxer.  We were to carry out a rescue operation in front of the TV cameras, and while I can't recall any of the other names, I do remember that the poor sucker 'chosen' to be rescued was David Russell.  He had to 'fall in' and the others had to go to his aid, at which stage he would climb on to the rear of the canoe.  I certainly rushed home to watch the resultant rescue on the tea-time evening BBC news.  The filming did take some time and involved some 'retakes', but the final edited TV moment passed in a fraction of time.

Douglas Hewitt 1963 - 66


My final advice from the School Careers Advisor, who I think was the Metalwork Teacher, was to go into a Salesman’s Job.  However I ended up being a Police Officer in Sydney, Australia.

David Dickson. 1956 - 59

Physical Education

The North Face of the Eiger

Climbing up the side of the school.  No such nonsense like going out on outdoor pursuits, just bang a couple of screws in the school wall, a length of rope, a couple of carabineers and away you go.  It's a wonder 'gym teachers' got away with this one; can you imagine nowadays sending the kids up this death trap!?  Character building stuff though!

Scot Wallace 1969 - 72

On seeing Scot Wallace's memory of climbing the school wall it brought back memories for me.  I reckon I must have been one of the first girls to scale the school wall, not that my daughter believes me!  As you say Scot, it would not happen today.  Health & Safety? - don't make me laugh!  Treasured memories though.

Carol Mitchell -??

Meggatland Sports Ground

Modern school with adjoining playing fields and steaming hot showers.  Definitely not Darroch in the late 1960's.  Do you remember getting on the specially chartered Edinburgh Corporation Bus - a dirty old red thing.  Once aboard we were off to the sports stadium known as Meggatland; the old ramshackle timber dressing rooms with the worn wooden floorboards.  You got splinters through the soles of your shoes.  After you had ploughed through the mud for 45 minutes or so you could have a lovely freezing cold shower before getting back on the bus and returning to school.  Ah yes, those were the days!!

George McGuire 1968 - 71

I remember the bus from the school to Meggatland.  On one occasion we were sitting in the front of the bus and the bus driver foolishly asked me if everyone was on board - to which I said YES!  He left with the bus half full and on arrival at Meggatland, Mr Boxer the P.E. teacher, tore into the car park in his car and demanded to know from the driver why he had gone without him.  The driver pointed to me and I got one big roasting whilst the bus went back for the rest of the class!

Andrew Ewing 1973

I remember the old blue minibus the school owned.  Kenny Boxer seemed to be the only person that tried to keep it going.  We would take it on canoeing trips and use it as a changing room as well as the transport to get to A and B.  Once the day was over standing outside in the wet and cold it would have to be pushed to start it before the trip home.

Michael Stewart 1971

Sounds like luxury in 1971.  In 1955 there was no such thing as a chartered bus.  You went to the tram stop in Gilmore Place and waited in the queue, rain hail or snow, for a number 9 or 10.  After ploughing through the mud at Meggatland you got changed.  Not such things as showers but if memory serves me correctly there was a couple of large tubs dispensing ice cold water!  Sports periods were always at the end of the day and so after them you made your own way home usually covered in mud and grime.  I must admit however that it never particularly bothered me.

David McBain 1957 - 57

George McGuire's comments on Meggatland reminded me of the best and worst of that hellish place.  My friend Muriel and I accidently on purpose forgetting our sports kit and being made to run cross country round Meggatland in our navy knickers and bare feet, with snow and slush patches still on the grass.  That was the worst.  The best was hating tennis but still learning to hit the ball so hard that it soared over the fence into the canal and then being made to spend the rest of the hour searching for the ball.  End of one tennis lesson.

Lesley Hirstwood nee Palmer 1971 - 74

Sporting Occasions

On some Saturdays as a 14 year old I looked forward to selling programmes at Murrayfield when ‘Home’ games were on.  Some boys and I were lucky enough to be programme sellers until half time, but because we were thought of as staff we got to go into the ground and watch the second half for free.  If we were really lucky the caterers would sling us some left over hot food at the end of the game.

Tom Henderson 1959 - 1962


School Dinners

No posh dining room for us.  School dinners were delivered in a big old green lorry.  We knew when the dinners had arrived because the smell of cabbage filled the school.  Lunch was served up to us in the Science Lab complete with Bunsen Burners for table decor.  If you didn't eat the cabbage you got no second helping of anything.  They always managed to make mashed potatoes look like grey concrete with black lumps.  And if we had soup for a starter - which was usually orange - there was never a dessert; just a wee shrivelled apple that looked more like a well used conker.  HAUTE CUISINE INDEED!

Lesley Hirstwood nee Palmer 1971 - 74

Re Lesley Palmer's comments about cabbages and smells.  In our early years the Bunsen Burners had a continual supply of gas at the turn of the tap at lunch time and what about the small pools of mercury we often found in the dents in the 'dinner tables'.  It was always fun poking and pushing that about with your fork and knife before you started to eat.

Neil Macdonald 1973

I remember all the bad things about the school dinners.  I wrote to 'The Scotsman' newspaper to complain.  They printed my letter and it got a mention from the editor.  I've still got a copy of the letter.  Very shortly after that they opened up the big new hut in the back playground.

Andrew Ewing 1973.   

Happy Lunchtimes.  We shot off to Dominic’s chippy.  Us girls all had such a crush on Dominic.  We would by fourpence worth of fritters, and we’d club the rest of our dinner money together and buy five Turf cigs which we thought at the time made us look cool.

 Margaret Cooper 1948 - 51


George Marshall was 2 years ahead of me at Darroch.  I’m a very good timekeeper but for a fortnight I arrived late 3 times.  George was Head Prefect on the lines and had to issue me with a ticket, which then went to Miss Leckie and after 3 times you got 6 of the belt.  I begged George not to give me it but he said other prefects were watching but just to scrap it – he was hero. George  left school but we started dating on 3rd September 1959 and 59 years on, we’re about to celebrate our 54th Anniversary.  I love him to bits!

Marion McLaren 1956 - 60