Dumbiedykes Group

'The Embers'




Alan Bomford

Atlanta, Georgia, USA


It was good to receive a message from Alan Bomford, one of the five members of the 1960s Dumbiedykes Group, 'The Embers' .

Alan wrote:

'Top Story Club'

I have just found your Web site.  Your articles on Dumbiedykes caught my eye, in particular Jean Rae’s contribution and photos of the Dumbiedykes Group “The Embers”.

   'The Embers'  A group from Dumbiedykes ©

This photograph was taken in the 'Top Story Club' on stage.  The club was in Leith Street.  The club was run by Jimmy & Russell Craig."

Group Members

"I am Alan Bomford, 2nd from the left in this photograph of the group.  I am a native of 'Auld Reekie' [Edinburgh], and am now residing in the U.S.A.

Willie Syme ( 1st on the left) lived next to St Andrews Church, as Jean Rae said.  His dad was the caretaker there.

Jimmy (Hushy) Hush was brought up in a house above the small shops at the bottom of the Pleasance and was a joiner's apprentice.

With a local business in the Pleasance, later on he turned professional and the left handed drummer went to London and played in a Band.  ... Writing on the Wall.

Peter Bottomley was from the balconies on Dumbiedykes Road, I believe he had two sisters and two brothers named Chuck and Eddie.

Pete’s Mum let us silent practice in the bedroom until we could decide if we could be a band.


One of Peter Bottomley's sisters is now Jean Bell.  Today, she sent me a photograph of James Clark school which she attended.      -  Peter Stubbs:  August 28, 2008.

The Bottomley's house is in the background in this photo.

Dumbiedykes  -  "Wee Lane" to the Plantation ©

-  Peter Stubbs

Jimmy (Crooky) Cruickshank did live in a house at the bottom Drummond Street, but moved out to Prestonfield later on."

Old Scouts' Den

"The reason we got together was that Willie, Peter, Crooky and I were apprentices together with Ferranti’s and got talking about a band

Jimmy Hush was at school with Peter and Willie and I believe in the same Scout troop, which leads me to point out that as Jean said we did practice at Waterson Avenue. 

It was a converted stable turned into the Scout den and the troop was led by a gentleman whom I only ever knew as 'Skip'.

Not only did he let us practice there but helped get the church venues and in turn helped us buy our equipment, He was a very kind gentleman.

You can imagine the local Dumbiedykes folks reaction when the band struck up in the Old Scout’s Den!   I think that most of them didn’t seem to mind

We did have a few complainers, but after we were established I believe they were proud of their local lads' popularity."


"I didn’t feel I was imposing being a member of the band as I had  Southsider breeding in me.

Also, my Mother, her name was Irene Mc Ewan, was born and raised in the Canongate, up the front steps at the Tolbooth Clock, and relatives aplenty around, included the McFarlanes and the Laidlaws all raised in the Canongate and surrounding areas.

I myself was born in my Grannies house in Forrest Road so my roots were there also."

Church Halls

"Jean Rae mentioned that we did play at a lot of church functions.  That’s how we  five sixteen-year-olds got our start,

We could practice in the church hall, or in the case of the Canongate Church, in the basement.  The Rt Hon Selby Wright would come listen to us practice."

"The Attic"

"Our first break was at a small Youth Club ran by St Cuthbert’s, held in a top flat of a building at Surgeon’s Hall.

We would bring our gear to the venue on Pete’s Mum’s laundry pram, from Waterson Avenue and up Arthur street! We were keen to be famous some day!

We later named the club the “Attic” and we would play there every Monday night. 

It didn’t take long before the folks around, and people that had lived in the Southside and had moved out to new suburbs for new housing, started coming back to their old stomping ground to hear 'The Embers'."

Established Venues

"From that venue we blossomed out to the more established clubs and dance halls like  the Top Story and the Place, the Beehive at Gilmerton and even big events at the Waverley Market which at that time was a fruit market.

Big Name bands attended these shows.  The music scene was really thriving and, as another article mentioned, even the Palais De Dance changed its music taste.

Yours truly were one of the first to bowl out the big band of Ray McVey and other popular bands including ‘Shortie Rodgers' who had enjoyed big success there.

I believe he is still singing with a band.  Good on you ‘Shortie’, a true gentleman of Rock ‘n’ Roll, may I say."

Touring England

"However, nothing lasts for ever, and we had our share of success including touring England and playing in the World- famous club of the Beatles -  the’ Cavern’  in Liverpool.

We also had a Fan Club ran by Helen Campbell, a devoted fan from the beginning,  She also lived in the Canongate.  Our popularity faded as new younger bands came along, like 'The Beachcomber’ etc"

Pete Seaton’s Music Store at Hope Park Terrace was the Mecca for all the young aspiring musicians from the Southside, and there were many including young Kenny (Eckles)  McLean, now a prominent business man in the area."


It was great to see those photographs again after all these years and I know there were hundreds taken by Alex Lynn a close Friend and Southsider.

Again, many thanks to Jean Rae for the Memories."

Alan (Bommy)  Bomford. Atlanta, Georgia. USA:  January 9, 2007.




Bob Clark

West Edinburgh


Thank you to Bob Clark for contacting me on January 18, 2007.  Bob worked with Alan Bomford at Ferranti, and was for a short time a member of 'The Embers'.




Peter Bottomley


Thank you to Peter Bottomley for contacting me.  Peter is the second member of 'The Embers' in the photographs below (click on them to enlarge them).

Ian sent me his recollections of 'The Scotchie', Dumbiedykes.



John Wright


John Wright, Edinburgh, also remembers working with 'The Embers'.

John left this message in the EdinPhoto Guest Book.


"I was an apprentice at Ferranti with Jimmy, Peter Bottomley and the other guys in 'The Embers' band. 

 I met Jimmy Cruickshank in the Gordon Arms, about 3 years ago.  He was telling me about how Mr Blakie (the guy in charge of all the apprentices) was telling him off, in his office, for not being at work.

We were on about £??? a week and Jimmy said, 'If you think I'm losing 20 quid a week from my singing, you can take a jump in the lake'."

John Wright, Edinburgh:  EdinPhoto web site:  June 7, 2008


'The Embers'

   'The Embers'  A group from Dumbiedykes ©    'The Embers'  A group from Dumbiedykes ©



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