Thomas Robertson's Yard

"Wingy Robertson"

Leith  - 1930s

Thomas Robertson's workers

 Thomas Robertson's Workers  -  1932

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Norma Brodie, Auckland New Zealand and John Stewart, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland.


Thomas Robertson's workers

Thank you to:

-  Norma Brodie of Auckland, New Zealand for allowing me to reproduce the photograph above.

-  John Stewart of  Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland, formerly Leith for sending a copy of the photo to me.

-   James Bruce Durie, Leith,  for leaving a message about this outing in the EdinPhoto GuestBook



Recollections  by John Stewart

and replies

John Stewart wrote:

Tam's  Yard

"Thomas Robertson (Tam) aka Wingy, was the owner of the yard.  He is seen in the trilby hat.  I never knew him without one.

Jimmy Morrison was the chargehand of the yard. He is at the rear with the railway cap.

Old Andrew Robertson was the owners father.  We knew him as 'Auld Andy'.  He is at the front of the photo."

John Stewart, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  April 2, 2007

Norma Brodie wrote:

Works Outing

"Thomas Robertson was a general dealer way back, initially in Giles Street, Leith.  He lived at Dudley Avenue.

This photo was taken in 1932.   (I've checked with my mum, here in New Zealand, now nearly 88!).  The photo includes my  dad, George Power, the blonde fifteen-year-old, 2nd from right, front row.

My dad worked for Thomas Robertson, then after WW2 he successfully started up a similar business and Thomas was like a mentor to him.  They were very close.  I office-worked for my dad for ten years, firstly at Pitt Street, then Trafalgar Street till his death 1964 aged 48.  Sorry, don't know details of 'Wingy' passing on.

The girl in the pic. is Wingy's oldest daughter, Margaret."

Norma Brodie (née Power), Auckland, New Zealand:  March 24 + 25, 2007

James Bruce Durie wrote:

Works Outing

"The photo was taken in 1935.  My wife is the little girl in the front, next to her grandad."

James Bruce Durie, Leith:  November 13, 2007



More Recollections  by John Stewart

John Stewart wrote:

The Yard

"I stayed in Cables Wynd, Leith, and our communal balcony overlooked the Wingy Robertson's yard.  Many times, as young boy, I would look down on the work there.

Jimmy Morrison, to me as boy, was always shouting and never seemed to have patience with any kid that would venture through the yard gate.  He never flinched at shouting and swearing at us to get the hell out of there.  I can laugh at it now. didn't like him then.

Even old Mr Robertson who night watched for them and was a kindly soul shouted at you, but I think it was all put on.  Sometimes he would allow a few of us in at night to play in the old scrap cars they dealt in.

As I said before, they gave us plenty of firewood, etc., for our victory bonfire."

Wingy Robertson

"Wingy Robertson's left arm was always at a right angle over his chest and front.  I think this was a result of an injury or some affliction.  You can see in the photo him holding on to it with his right arm. It always looked like a folded wing.  That's how he got the nickname 'Wingy'.

His father, the watchman stayed in the men's lodging house in Parliament Street, Leith.  Wingy  used to sponsor Christmas Parties for the OAPs of the area. He even hired the State Cinema for a day in December for the pensioners."

Double Car Seat

"Wingy always made sure my grandmother had a double car seat on her balcony. He renewed it regularly.  He knew her as 'Ma Patterson' and my grandad as 'Auld Jock'.  He was a kindly man.

Here is a photo of me in 1947, aged 13, with my cousin, Eveline, on the balcony, sitting on the seat that Wingy gave us."

John Stewart and cousin Eveline, on the balcony  car seat given by 'Wingy' Robertson ©

John Stewart, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  March 17+ 30 + 31 and Apr 2, 2007



Recollections  by Bob Henderson

Bob Henderson wrote:

The Yard

"I studied at the old Nautical College for a year of night classes to get my Amateur Radio Licence 36 years ago,

Wingy Robertson's yard was the place to buy ex-MOD radio gear.  He used to go to all the MOD sales and buy huge mixed lots of stuff.

One set of gear he used to get was photographic equipment.  When there was a ship being decommissioned at Rosyth, he would attend the sale and buy everything that was being taken off the ship.  This always included any unused photographic paper and film.

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  December 21, 2007



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