Portobello Marine Gardens Ballroom

and

Jock Herbertson

Dance Band Musician

 

Portobello Marine Gardens Ballroom  -  1930

Portobello Marine Gardens Ballroom

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Craig Herbertson, Witten, Germany                                                 Photograph taken 1930

Portobello Marine Gardens Ballroom

Craig Herbertson, who provided the photograph above, was born in Edinburgh and now lives in Witten, Germany.  Craig comes from a musical family.   He plays the fiddle, banjo, mandolin, penny whistle and piano.

Photos and Memories

Craig is keen to see photographs of dance halls in Edinburgh from the 1920s to the 1950s, and to hear of any memories that people have of the vaudeville scene in Edinburgh. If you can help, please e-mail me and I will pass on your messages to Craig.

Craig wrote, of his father's family:

Grandfather
Jock Herbertson

2nd from right

    Portobello Marine Gardens Ballroom

"There has been music in my family for a long time.  My grandfather, Jock Herbertson was a violinist who learned by ear.

Jock played a multitude of venues from silent films to theatres and dancehalls. He even learned the English concertina at a late age and was capable of playing some very difficult pieces on it.

Jock  was a multi talented man.  One of his talents was journalism."

Great Grandparents

"Fortunately, most of Jock's published articles were on his boyhood in Dalry, Edinburgh and he mentions the fiddle playing of my Great grandfather.

I know that my Great grandmother would sing the family favourite "The Rowan tree" and the whole family would be expected to contribute to musical evenings, typical probably of many Scottish families."

Grandmother

"Jock married my Grandmother Vida La Court who had been on the stage in vaudeville since the age of 14. She was a contralto, a friend of Gracie Fields and accompanied Caruso on an Irish tour.  She apparently had a beautiful voice."

Grandfather
Freddie Buglass

The Black Watch  -  a group including Freddy Buglass, grandfather of Craig Herbertson

My mother's father, Freddie Buglass owned a fiddle and one of the best collection of 78 records imaginable, kept in the guests room in a tenement in Tollcross, Edinburgh.

He was a sergeant in the Black Watch and fought in both world wars.

Father

"My father, a singer, learned the trumpet in the Harry James style, toyed with the clarinet, and saxophone and is a fine pianist. He has been playing regularly in clubs for more years than he cares to remember."

Craig wrote, of his mother's family:

Mother

"My mother never sang professionally, but I always remember her singing beautifully when she was on her own."

Grandfather
Freddie Buglass

The Black Watch  -  a group including Freddy Buglass, grandfather of Craig Herbertson

"My mother's father, Freddie Buglass owned a fiddle and one of the best collection of 78 records imaginable, kept in the guests room in a tenement in Tollcross, Edinburgh.

He was a sergeant in the Black Watch and fought in both world wars."

Craig Herbertson, Witten, West Germany:  April 28, 2006

 

Reply

1.

George T Smith

Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Craig Herbertson asked for information about the Edinburgh dance halls scene of his grandparents.  This brought a quick response from George T Smith of British Columbia.

A few hours after I added this page to the web site, George wrote:

Herbertson Brothers

"I do not know if there is any connection,  but two of my  schoolmates were brothers Douglas and Kenneth Herbertson who lived in the Hutchison area.

Their mother was a former singer and I knew her as Vi .  I always thought this was Violet.

Their  father was reputedly a musician in a dance band.  I recollect that they, father and mother, had performed at Happy Valley sometime pre-war.

I can not remember if the mother was a widow at the time I knew them, 1940-50.  Both boys went to the Royal High School, as far as I can  remember.

I have memories of 'adventures' undertaken with  Douglas (born about 1930) but his older brother was a more studious lad."

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada,  May 14 2006

 

Reply

2.

Jean Carlyle-Lyon

Thank you to Jean Carlyle Lyon for sending the message below.  Jean, like Craig Herbertson above, is a descendant of Jock Herbertson.

Jean wrote:

Jock Herbertson

"My father was Jock Herbertson, who played piano and trumpet and also led the band called New Tivoli Orchestra.  He also played for silent movies in the 1930s.

His sons, by his first marriage, are Douglas and Ken Herbertson.  Ken is now 81 and still plays music with a band in Edinburgh.  Douglas is now deceased.."

Jane Carlyle Lyon:  November 27, 2010

 

Portobello Marine Gardens Ballroom

Portobello Marine Gardens

   J S & S, Edinburgh  -  Portobello Marine Gardens

Buildings from the  Scottish National Exhibition at Saughton Park in 1908, including the ballroom above, were re-erected at Marine Gardens, Portobello, in 1909.

Marine Gardens Pleasure Park had a ballroom, theatre, amusement park and figure of eight roller coaster. 

Here is a view of some of the entertainers in the ballroom.

 

Thumbnail Images

Portobello              1908 Exhibition

 

 

 

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