Willie the Scythe

at

Liberton Filtration Plant

 

Willie the Scythe

In his recollections of working at Liberton Filtration Plant as a student in the late-1960s, Allan Dodds remembers 'Willie the Scythe':

'Willie the Scythe'

"To assist me in this Sisyphean task was 'Willie the Scythe', a retired man of about seventy-five years of age who came out of his retirement each summer to do casual work.

Willie may have possessed no teeth but he could scythe for Scotland!  He literally shaved the grass and his skill was remarkable and his rhythm impeccable."

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  November 28, 2011

Allan has now found the two photos below that he took of Willie, around 1969.  Thank you Allan for allowing me to add these photos to the web site.

Photo 1.

'Willie the Scythe'

At Rest

Willie the Scythe at Liberton Filtration Plant, around 1969

 Reproduced with acknowledgement to Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Photo 2.

'Willie the Scythe'

At Work

Willie the Scythe at Liberton Filtration Plant, around 1969

 Reproduced with acknowledgement to Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Allan added:

"I've just noticed the amazing muscles on Willies' left arm.  These were built up by working manually for an eight hour shift with only an hour's break for lunch and two ten minute breaks for a fag and a cuppa.

I wonder how many seventy-five year olds today could boast of such strength and stamina."

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  January 10, 2012

Recollections

1.

Ann Valentine

East Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Ann Valentine who wrote:

Willie the Scythe'

    Willie the Scythe at Liberton Filtration Plant, around 1969

"I've just been having a look through your site and came across the photos of Willie. the Scythe.  He was Willie Duncan, I can tell you.  He and his wife, Teenie, were next door neighbours and friends of of my grandparents for many years:

-  first in Ravenscroft Place, Gilmerton from the early 1920s

-  then in the new houses in Hyvot's Bank Avenue from 1939.

My gran died in 1980, almost 90 years old, but Willie, Teenie and my grandad were dead long before that.  It brought back a lot of happy memories when I saw his Willie's photo.2

Ann Valentine, East Lothian, Scotland:  January 14, 2012

Recollections

2.

Bryan Hogg

Gilmerton, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bryan Hogg for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guest  book.

Bryan wrote:

Willie the Scythe'

    Willie the Scythe at Liberton Filtration Plant, around 1969             Willie the Scythe at Liberton Filtration Plant, around 1969

"I've just seen the photos of Willie the Scythe, who was my great great grandad.  It's so weird but great to come across them, as he died long before I was born and there are hardly any pics of him left.

Bryan Hogg, Gilmerton, Edinburgh:  message posted in EdinPhoto guest book.

Note for Bryan Hogg

Hi Bryan: I've just received a message from Ann Valentine who tells me that she has a few photos of Willie and some of his family that might interest you. So if you can email me then I'll pass on your email address to Ann.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: February 2, 2012

 

Recollections

3.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Thank you to Allan Dodds, who sent me the photos of Willie for writing again.

Allan wrote:

Willie the Scythe'

"When Willie was working full time at the filtration plant, one of the young labourers turned up for work one morning very much the worse for wear, after an extended 'session' the night before.

Willie took pity on him as he was so ill that he couldn't work, but if he had cried off he would have lost a day's wages. Willie suggested that he sleep it off inside one of the huge iron pipes that lay around the site.

Willie covered for him and when the foreman asked where the lad was at break time, Willie said that he was working overtime at a distant part of the waterworks where nobody ever went.

No further questions were asked and the lad got away with it, thanks to Willie.  Willie was one of those people of whom Robert Burns said:

'The man's the gowd for a' that'."

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  February 3,, 2012

 

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