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Schools in

Warrender Park Crescent

Boroughmuir School

THEN

James Gillespie's
High School for Girls

A.  Schools

B.  Classmates

C.  Recollections

D.  Questions and Answers

 

A.

Schools

Boroughmuir School  THEN  James Gillespie's School  AT  Warrender Park Crescent

W R & S Ltd photograph from around the early 1900s  -  Boroughmuir School

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

Year

Gillespie Crescent Warrender Park Cres Viewforth
1803

Gillespie school and hospital were established here  from a legacy left by James Gillespie, an Edinburgh snuff and tobacco manufacturer.

The school was based in Gillespie Crescent until 1914.

   
1905  

Renaissance frontage in pale orange sandstone facing onto Bruntsfield Links.

W R & S Ltd photograph from the early 1900s  -  Boroughmuir School ©

Built 1902. Officially Opened 1905 as Boroughmuir School

Later known as  Borough-muir School Annexe.

 
1914

The military moved into there during the 1st World War.

Gillespie school moved here when the building building was vacated by Boroughmuir.

Renaissance with  Byzantine details, a Doric porch and tall flanking towers.

Built  1911.    Boroughmuir School. moved here, in 1914

1922

The building was sold to the Royal Blind Asylum.

   

Colour Key above:       Boroughmuir       James Gillespie       Others

Acknowledgements

Architectural Details:  The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, John Gifford et al. 1984

School Occupants:  James Gillespie School web site

The photo below appeared in the WR&S Ltd album,  'Edinburgh and Vicinity'

Cover of a W R & S Album of Photographs  -  published in the early 1900s ©

B.

Classmates

Message

1.

Elma Cairns (née Reid)
Flint, Texas, USA

-  Classmates, 1950s

Message

2.

+ Updates
1, 2, 3

John E Kirkwood
Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

-  Classmates,  1950s

-  Meeting Again

Message

3.

Nancy Abbott (née Gilchrist)
South Africa

-  Classmates,  1960s

Message

4.

John E Kirkwood
Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

-  Reunion 2014

 

Request

1.

1950s

Elma Cairns, née Reid now living in Flint, Texas, USA wrote in the EdinPhoto guestbook

Classmates from 1950s

"I attended Boroughmuir from 1954 - 1958 and would love to hear from any classmates, especially June Oddie who came from the Dumbiedykes area.

I will be in Auld Reekie from July 27 until August 1, 2007 and may meet up with old friends"

Elma Cairns, née Reid, Flint, Texas, USA:  July 24, 2007

If you'd like to contact Elma, please e-mail me and I'll pass on your message to her.

Thank you.    -  Peter stubbs.

 

Request

2.

Classmates from 1950s

Thank you to John E Kirkwood for sending me these two class photos, taken at Boroughmuir School:

1949-50 - Class 1C1

   Boroughmuir School, Class 1c1, 1949-50 ©

1951-52 - Class 3B4

   Boroughmuir School, Class 3b4, 1951-52 ©

John would be keen to hear from others who remember him from school.

John E Kirkwood, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  March 9, 2008

Update 1  -  March 2011

John emailed me again in March 2011 to tell me:

Meeting Again

"I got a reply from classmate, Jim Mercer ,who had moved to Hamilton, OntarioIn fact, he was back in 'Auld Reekie' last year and we, along with our wives, met up and had a good blether.

Now I have had a reply from Lilian Young.  The three of us are now collaborating, putting names to faces etc.  Lilian moved to  New Jersey, USA in 1956 with her family.

Unfortunately I've had no word back from Rose as yet, but still early days."

Anybody Else?

"Jim Mercer and his wife are due back in Edinburgh for a month from mid-April 2011. Should anyone else from our era recognise us we would be pleased to meet up with them too."

John E Kirkwood, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  March 29, 2011

Class 1C1, 2B4, 3B4  circa 1949-52

Update 2  -  May 2011

Thank you to John for emailing me again and for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook on May 11, 2011.  John wrote:

Classmates

"I've just met up again with Jim Mercer during his recent visit to Edinburgh.  This time we also had the pleasure of the company of:

 -   Valerie (Trollope) Cant from Livingston and
-   Kathleen (Mathieson) Crawford from Currie.

We enjoyed a 3+ hour lunch going over old times at 'Burry' and the the intervening 59 years since we all last met.

Thanks must also go to Lilian (Raeburn) Young from New Jersey who put me in touch with the 'girls',  also through the EdinPhoto web site.

It's a pity that Lilian could not join usfor our thoroughly enjoyable meeting.

Here's hoping we might meet up with other members of our class in the future.

John E Kirkwood, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  May 11, 2011

Reply to John

"If you remember John or any of the others mentioned above, and would like to send a message to them, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to John.    Thank you."

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 12, 2011

Update 3  -  May 2011

Thank you to John for keeping me up to date with news from his recent reunion.

John wrote

Classmates

"This is just to let you know that our group from Boroughmuir circa 1949-52 enjoyed another Mini-Reunion yesterday, 28 May, when the same group as last year met up for an extended lunch. Our group included:

Jim Mercer

Andrew Lauder

John Geekie

Valerie Trollope (Cant)

Kathleen Mathieson (Crawford)

Shirley Travis (Hartley) from Classes 1C1-2B4-3B4.

Should anyone recognize any of these names I hope they will get in touch."

John E Kirkwood, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:
Message posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook, May 29, 2011

Reply to John

"If you remember John or any of the others mentioned above, and would like to send a message to them, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to John.    Thank you."

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 12, 2011

 

Request

3.

Classmates from 1960s

Thank you to Nancy Abbott for posting messages in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Nancy wrote:

Boroughmuir School and Heriot Place

"I'd like to hear from anyone who attended Boroughmuir School in the 1960s or lived at Heriot Place then.  I lived there until 1969, when I left to join the army and become a nurse."

Nancy Abbott (née Gilchrist), South Africa:
Messages posted in EdinPhoto guest book, January 23, 2011

 

Request

4.

Classmates from 1950s

Following his earlier comments in Request 2 above, John Kirkwood has written again with the following message about the next Mini-Reunion that he is hoping to arrange soon:

Mini-Reunion - 2014

"I'm still looking for ex-classmates from 'bygone years', and am about to arrange a 5th mini-reunion within the next few weeks.  Hopefully, we will be able to add another couple of names to our list.

I'm looking for anyone who was at Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School between 1949-52 who:

was in Classes 1C1 to 3C3 OR

-  was in Classes 2B4 to 3B4 OR

who remembers any of the following:

Jim Mercer

Valerie Trollope (now Cant)

Kathleen Mathieson (Crawford)

Andrew Lauder

John Geekie

Shirley Travis (Hartley)

Lilian Raeburn (Young, NJ, USA)

-  John Kirkwood (myself).

John E Kirkwood, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  August 7, 2014

Reply to John Kirkwood

If you'd like to send a reply to John Kirkwood, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

      Thank you

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 7, 2014

Update

 

 

Request

5.

Classmates from 1950s

Following his earlier comments in Request 2 above, John Kirkwood has written again with the following message about the next Mini-Reunion that he is hoping to arrange soon:

Mini-Reunion - 2014

"I'm still looking for ex-classmates from 'bygone years', and am about to arrange a 5th mini-reunion within the next few weeks.  Hopefully, we will be able to add another couple of names to our list.

I'm looking for anyone who was at Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School between 1949-52 who:

was in Classes 1C1 to 3C3 OR

-  was in Classes 2B4 to 3B4 OR

who remembers any of the following:

Jim Mercer

Valerie Trollope (now Cant)

Kathleen Mathieson (Crawford)

Andrew Lauder

John Geekie

Shirley Travis (Hartley)

Lilian Raeburn (Young, NJ, USA)

-  John Kirkwood (myself).

John E Kirkwood, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  August 7, 2014

C.

Recollections

Recollections

1.

Ann Landels
Aberdeenshire, Scotland

-  1960s

Recollections

2.

Graeme Kerr
Aberdeenshire, Scotland

-  High School Annexe

Recollections

3.

James L Wallis

-  Today

Recollections

4.

Lilian Young
Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

-  The Queen in Coronation Year

Recollections

5.

John E Kirkwood
Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

-  Boroughmuir Sen. Sec. School

-  Mini-Reunion, 2012

Recollections

6.

John E Kirkwood
Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Boroughmuir Sen. Sec. School

-  Mini-Reunion, 2013

Recollections

7.

John E Kirkwood
Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Boroughmuir Sen. Sec. School

-  Mini-Reunions

Recollections

8.

Jim Vandepeear
York, Yorkshire, England

Boroughmuir School:  1945

-  Travel to School

-  My New School

-  Teachers

-  Gym Lessons

-  Accident

-  Hospital

-  No more Gym Lessons

Recollections

9.

Phyllis Rossiter
(
née Luke)

-  School Lessons

-  Remember Me?

Recollections

10.

John E Kirkwood
Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Mini-Reunion 2014

Recollections

11.

Peter Hoffman
Highlands, Scotland

-  Diaries - 1971

Recollections

12.

Peter Hoffman
Highlands, Scotland

-  Boroughmuir / Oxgangs Book

-  An Edinburgh Boyhood

Recollections

1.

Ann Landels

Aberdeenshire, Scotland

1960s

Thank you to Ann Landels,  Aberdeenshire, for the comments below Ann attended the school in the photo above in 1965/66, when it was James Gillespie's High School for Girls

"Although this building was built for Boroughmuir it was only Boroughmuir School for a very short time.

When Boroughmuir moved to current location, James Gillespie's moved in and it eventually became James Gillespie's High School for Girls until the current building was opened in the Bruntsfield House grounds in 1966.  Muriel Spark would also have gone to school in that building.

The building later became part of the Dean nursing college. It is now Edinburgh University student accommodation."

Recollections

2.

Graeme Kerr

Selkirk, Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Graeme Kerr, now living in Selkirk, Scottish Borders,  for the comments belowGraeme attended the school when it was Boroughmuir School Annexe in the '70s and '80s.

High School Annexe

"After James Gillespies moved out, this building became Boroughmuir High School Annexe (Affectionately known as the junior school), attended by myself, two brothers and sister in the 70's and 80's.

W R & S Ltd photograph from the early 1900s  -  Boroughmuir School ©

The gable end in your picture, from the ground up, shows one of the science classes, the room above I think was a storage room and the top was history.

Shooting off to the right, unseen in the photo, was the maths corridor with the gym at the top. The attic with the bell tower contained one of the art classes and was a trek and a half up a narrow staircase to get to. Once again, fond memories.

I believe the Boroughmuir moved all its classes to the Viewforth building in the late 80's after filling in the central area above the gym halls to create more space. You'll know what I mean if you've been in the Viewforth building. (It is also the school's centenary this year.)"

 

Recollections

3.

James L Wallis

Thank you to James L Walls who commented:

Today

"This building is now part of Napier University.  It was vacated by the Education Department, when the new building was completed at Spottiswoode Street."

W R & S Ltd photograph from the early 1900s  -  Boroughmuir School ©

  

Recollections

4.

Lilian Young

Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Lilian Young who wrote:

The Queen in Coronation Year

"In 1953, the Queen's Coronation Year, pupils at  Boroughmuir were given gifts.  My gift was a propelling pencil, color blue with gold writing.

My cousin still has the glass mug she received at Balgreen School.

When the Queen came to Edinburgh, we lined up outside St. Giles Cathedral and were astounded at this beautiful young woman dressed in dark green velvet. She was so tiny and her beautiful smile was just wonderful.

Later that week there was a huge celebration at Murrayfield. My late cousin, Jean Hercus was in a pageant, her sister Dorothy was in a dance and I was a member of the choir, so our family was well represented at the Coronation Celebrations."

Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, England:  March 26, 2012

  

Recollections

5.

John E Kirkwood

Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to John E Kirkwood for writing again.

John wrote:

Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School

Mini-Reunion

2012

Numbers Increasing

"I've been going to sit down for ages to tell you that I enjoyed another Min-Reunion with Class mates from 3B4 in 1952, on May 8, 2012, in the Barmwell in Edinburgh.

This time, we added another two, and  a girl, Shirley Travis who was with me in 1C1(1949-50).  She came along and joined in. Once again we had a 'ball' discussing the 'Auld Days'.

Who was There?

As before, my original contact:

- Jim Mercer (Hamilton, Ontario) was home in Edinburgh on holiday.  Hence the timing.

We were joined as last year by:

Valerie Trollope (Livingston) and

Kathleen Matheson (Currie).

This year though, we managed to add:

John Geekie (Penicuik)

Shirley Travis (Penicuik) and

Andrew Lauder (Three Mile Town, Uphall) who used to play Jazz trumpet in the old West End Cafe scene.

Unfortunately:

Frank Hughes (Redhall) couldn't manage that date,

Lilian Raeburn (New Jersey) could not join us either, but she was there in ''spirit' and sent us a lovely letter which I read at the table.

The Future

"All in all, thanks to your web-site.  Without it, none of us would have been able to meet up again after 60 years to enjoy a get-together, which we hope will continue for a long time yet, hopefully remaining in touch & adding to our numbers along the way."

John E Kirkwood, Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland:  July 26, 2012

Messages for John Kirkwood

If you'd like to send a message to John, and perhaps join him at a future reunion, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 12, 2012

 

Recollections

6.

John E Kirkwood

Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

John E Kirkwood has now posted this message in the EdinPhoto guestbook:

Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School

Mini-Reunion

2013

"Is there anyone out there from Boroughmuir circa 1949-52, classes 1C1, 2B4 and 3B4 who would like to get back in touch.

Since contacting Jim Mercer 4+ years ago, we have been gradually gathering classmates.  We're now hoping to hold our 4th Mini-Reunion around late-May, 2013.

Anyone who wishes to meet with us for a 'natter' will be very welcome."

John E Kirkwood, Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland: 
Messages posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook,  March 27, 2013.+ May 15, 2013.

Messages for John Kirkwood

If you'd like to send a message to John, and perhaps join him at a future reunion, please either post a reply to the message that he posted in the EdinPhoto guestbook on March 27, 2013 OR email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 1, 2013

 

Recollections

7.

John E Kirkwood

Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to John E Kirkwood for sending me an update on the former pupils that he has now found for the Mini-Reunions that he mentions in Recollections 6 above.

John wrote:

Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School

Mini-Reunions

1949-52

Class 1C1, 2B4, 3B4

"I'm still looking for ANY of my class mates from these classes.  We now have a mini-group of seven:

Class 3B4

Mercer, Hamilton, Ontario

Lilian Raeburn, New Jersey

Valerie Trollope, Livingston

Kathleen Mathieson, Currie

Andrew Lauder, Three Mile Town, by Linlithgow,

John Geekie, Penicuik,

Class 1C1

Shirley Travis, Penicuik.

I'm in  fairly regular contact with most, Shirley and have also made contact with Frank Hughes, Redhall (Class 3B4).

I visited the 'Old School' Open Day recently, bringing back many memories

John E Kirkwood, Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland: October 13,2013

Update

In a message to the Edinphoto guestbook today, John added::

1949-52

Class 1C1, 2B4, 3B4

"I'm still looking for ANY of my class mates from these classes.  We now have a mini-group of eight.

A couple more names came up in conversation recently.  Does anyone have any knowledge of:

-  Elma Hamilton formerly West Pilton Circus or

-   Margaret Whitson of Saughton area?

John E Kirkwood, Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland
Message posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook, October 13,2013

Reply to John Kirkwood?

If you'd like to send a reply to John, and perhaps join him at a future reunion, please  email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  October 13, 2013

 

Recollections

8.

Jim Vandepeear

York, Yorkshire, England

Thank you to Jim Vandepeear, now living in York, for sending me more of his recollections of growing up in Edinburgh.  It's now over seven years since Jim first sent his Edinburgh recollections to me.

Jim told me when he sent his recollections below to me, that it was to be his 80th birthday the following day, and that he had initially started writing his notes as a tale for his granddaughters.  I hope that they will now be appreciated by a wider audience.

Jim wrote:

Boroughmuir School

1945

Travel to School

"As the war ended, I started at Boroughmuir School.

No more walking from home to school in a couple of minutes for me:  I had to get a tram every morning from Clerk Street and crush with other children to Churchill and Viewforth."

My New School

"Boroughmuir much bigger even than Preston Street’s red stone building.  Long and grey, it slunk along the slope of Viewforth.

An entrance for girls was at the hilltop.

-  Boys entered at the bottom of the hill.

Teachers and staff entered through the elegant main doors.

The school had huge tarmacadam playgrounds.  There were bike sheds and hundreds of children from schools that I'd never heard of.   No one else from Preston Street School went with me."

Teachers

"There were school rules and new teachers:

Miss Matthews was my form teacher, one of many retired teachers dragooned into wartime teaching.

Mr Ronchetti was the gym teacher, small and noisy, a teacher to whom I took an instant dislike."

Gym Lessons

"Mr Ronchetti bellowed us through all the usual running and climbing which was required.

The gymnasium was fitted with wall bars

-   Lethal ropes hung from the roof

-  Wooden benches and vaulting horses filled the spaces in the corners.

-  There were coir mats, here and there.

There are no showers, no washing facilities. After class, hot and sweating, we went back to our lessons to dry off and cool down as best we could."

Accident

"One day I climbed the wall bars, turned to face the gym, and jumped off, as instructed.  A crack told me, and the rest of the class, that an arm was broken. Looking at it, I saw that I  had two elbows, the usual one, and a second between it and my wrist.

Mr Ronchetti walked me to the changing room and back to the classroom. Another teacher got a triangular bandage from a cupboard and put my arm in a sling.

My shirt was half on, my sweater like a scarf round my neck, and school blazer slung over one shoulder like some Ruritarian Hussar. Shoes are put in the school bag.

'Keep the Plimsolls on.
Have you any money or a Scholar's Permit?'

‘Yes’.

- ‘Take the tram to the Royal Infirmary and tell them what happened.’

Hospital

"The National Health Service was not due to start for at least another two years.  There were no ambulances on call then.  So, I had a walk up Viewforththen got a tram.  I had to stand all the way.  Boys were to leave adults to sit down on trams.

After a lot of questions at the Royal Infirmary, I was led by a nurse to be anaesthetized and woke up with my arm in a half- plaster cast, supported by a bandage.

After a long wait, I was released and walked back home through the Meadows. I got a clip round the head, and some grief from my parents for 'not  letting them know'.  Gran told me that I should have been more careful

This all happened long before there were any mobile phones, or really any phones at all. Red phone boxes were the usual place to phone home from, if you had money and lived in one of the few houses that had a phone.."

No More Gym Lessons

"Two days later, my arm had turned colourful, and had swollen a bit, so Gran, annoyed, took me to the hospital again, but stayed with me as I was X-rayed and had my arm reset and a new full sized plaster fitted.

That plaster put and end to my school gym lessons, I was never required to endure Mr Ronchetti again. Maybe the school had a fright over the way I was sent off solo to get repaired."

Jim Vandepeear, York, Yorkshire, England:  April 2, 2014

 

Recollections

9.

Phyllis Rossiter (née Luke)

Thank you Phyllis Rossiter who wrote:

Boroughmuir School

1959-62

School Lessons

I attended Boroughmuir from about 1959 to 1962.  My name then was Phyllis Luke.  My classes ere:

Homecraft.

Biology.

French.

Arithmetic and

-  English.

Remember Me?

"I remember a girl called Moira Henderson.  I'd love to know if anyone remembers me.

I was living at Ashfield Children's Home when I attended Boroughmuir school."

Phyllis Rossiter (née Luke):  August 19, 2014

  

Recollections

10.

John E Kirkwood

Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

John Kirkwood has already sent reports of the Mini-Reunions of his class held in 2012 and 2013.  (See Recollection 5 and Recollection 6 above.)

Here, he writes about his recent 2014 Mini-Reunion

John wrote:

Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School

Mini-Reunion

2014

Our Visit to the School

"I enjoyed another Mini-Reunion with my Boroughmuir classmates a couple of weeks ago when we had another great natter about old times.

The week culminated with my taking Jim Mercer who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and Valerie Cant (née Trollope), who had not managed to visit the Boroughmuir Open Days last year, back to our School for a walkabout, very kindly arranged by Head Teacher Mr David Dempster who also took time out to sit and have an extended chat with us.

We Thank David for his hospitality!"

Future Mini-Reunions

"I'm still on the outlook for anyone else who would like to join us in the future."

John E Kirkwood, Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland:  September 9, 2014

Messages for John Kirkwood

If you'd like to send a message to John, and perhaps join him at a future reunion, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh, September 9, 2014

  

Recollections

11.

Peter Hoffman

Highlands, Scotland

1971 Diary

Thank you to Peter Hoffman for letting me know that he has started writing a daily blog for the Internet, based on his 1971 diary, written when he was living at Oxgangs and attending Boroughmuir School.

Peter plans to add more to his blog every day during 2016.

Here is a link to his blog: 

Oxgangs Boroughmuir Diaries

Acknowledgement:  Peter Hoffman, Highlands, Scotland:  6 January 2016 + 7 February 2016

 

Recollections

12.

Peter Hoffmann

Highlands, Scotland

Thank you to Peter Hoffmann for writing again, telling me about another book that he has written.

Peter wrote:

An Edinburgh Boyhood

"The Top Secret 1971 Oxgangs/Boroughmuir Diaries
 of Retep Nnamffoh Aged Fourteen And A Hauf!"

Volume 2 (Edinburgh Trilogy)

"My latest book (title above) was published today.   I thought it might be of interest to you and your Oxgangs / Boroughmuir followers.  Details of the book can be found on this Amazon page."

Peter Hoffmann, Highlands, Scotland:  September 23, 2016

 

D.

Questions and Answers

Question

1.

Doris Shore
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 1

George T Smith
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 2

Stephen McMahon
Munich, Germany

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 3

George T Smith
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 4

Neil Anderson

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 5

Betty Smith (née White)
Holywell, near Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 6

Betty Smith (née White)
Holywell, near Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 7

Alastair Adams

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 8

Don Sandilands
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

-  Boroughmuir School Song

Question

1.

REPLY 9

Jim Cairns
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland

-  Boroughmuir School Song

 

Question

2.

Evan Reid
Ayrshire, Scotland

Athletics 1955

The Boroughmuir Team

Question

2.

REPLY 1

Bob Fairley
Palma, Majorca

-  Classmates + Rugby Colleagues

Question

2.

REPLY 2

John E Kirkwood
Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

-  Classmates + Rugby Colleagues

 

Question

3.

Margaret Kortas
British Columbia, Canada

Friends

Tommy Gifford

 

Question

4.

Paula
Virginia, USA

Searching for Robert Burnett

 

Question

5.

Roy Jordan
Canberra, ACT, Australia

Junior Annex

Question

5.

REPLY 1

Neil

-  Junior Annex

Question

5.

REPLY 2

Roy Jordan
Canberra, ACT, Australia

-  Junior Annex

Question

5.

REPLY 3

Lesley Scott

-  Junior Annex

Question

5.

REPLY 4

Chrystine Stubbs
Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

-  Junior Annex

 

Question

1.

Doris Shore

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Boroughmuir School Song

Doris Shore, formerly of Edinburgh and now living in Canada, asked the following question.  If you can help to answer it, please e-mail me, and I'll tell Doris.    Thank you:  -  Peter Stubbs  April 16, 2007

Doris wrote:

"I am trying to find the lyrics to the Boroughmuir School song."

Doris Shore, Montreal, Quebec, Canada:  April 17, 2007

Reply to Doris?

If you'd like to send a reply to Doris, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to her.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs

Reply 1.

to Question

1.

George T Smith

Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to George T Smith, British Columbia, Canada for the suggestion below.

George wrote:

"While I remember the first line " We are vassals of the Muir" the 
rest escapes me . I think though if your correspondent contacts the  Boroughmuir school web site  she may get the full lyric or, more likely, an up dated version in hip-hop mode

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:  April 16, 2007

Reply

2.

to Question

1.

Stephen McMahon

Munich, Germany

Thank you to Stephen McMahon, Munich, Germany, for the suggestion below.

Stephen wrote:

"All I can really recommend is that someone e-mails the school office.  They can probably help through their network of former teachers.

Otherwise: The Press department (Culture and Leisure) at the City Council helped me trace a 1970s school concert programme. They have links to music teachers in the city who may know someone who knows someone….."

Stephen McMahon, Munich, Germany:   April 17, 2007

Update

I've now e-mailed the Boroughmuir School Office to see if they can help.

Neil Anderson has replied.  See 'Answer' below.

-  Peter Stubbs:  April 18, 2007

Reply

3.

to Question

1.

George T Smith

Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to George T Smith, British Columbia, Canada for the further message

George wrote:

"Ken Smith of Calgary says he remembers the first line as I  did and it continues - he thinks - with something about the Borestane  (which is part of the school badge).

He also thinks it might have been composed by a Mr Moyes,  a music teacher who went on to higher things in the music world.

While the name is familiar  my own recollection  is of a Mr Whitfield who talked of "tone colours", a concept that  went over my uncomprehending and tone deaf head.

I am sure that your enquiries will reveal the song's lyrics and perhaps the rather turgid  music to which they were sung by my class of  uninspired teenagers.  (Yes, we had them in those days too.)

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:  April 19, 2007

 

Reply

4.

to Question

1.

Neil Anderson

Answer

Thank you to Neil Anderson, Boroughmuir School for replying, giving me the lyrics to the school song. 

"We are Vassals of the 'Muir, Vassals of the 'Muir.
In silent vigil at her shrine,
We pledge fealty to the 'Muir.
"Justus!  Serve the cause of right:"
"Tenax! keep the scutcheon bright."
And we proudly bear the banner,
The liege Vassals of the 'Muir.
The 'Muir, The 'Muir, Vassals of the 'Muir,
Rally to the Borestone, O Ye Vassals of the 'Muir.
To the gate that opens wide,
To the lamp that burns inside.
To the gate that opens wide,
To the lamp that burns inside.
To the Borestone, To the Borestone,
All Ye Vassals of the 'Muir."

Neil Anderson, Boroughmuir School, Edinburgh:  April 19, 2007

Update 1

Thank you to Irene Beaver, now living in Kirkliston, Edinburgh, who sent me the same words as above.

Irene added:

"To the best of my knowledge, these words are correct, although how I managed to remember them when I forgot half of what I was taught beats me.   :)  

There's another version which starts 'We are vessels of manure...'  - much more popular with the pupils."

Irene Beaver, Kirkliston, Edinburgh, September 29, 2007

 

Update 2

Thank you also to Rosemary Macleod for sending me very similar lyrics.

Rosemary added:

"I think the lyrics were composed by history teacher, Mr Harris, ("Felix").  He was a lovely little man, but not quite of the world as it was then.  The words made us laugh helplessly!"

Rosemary Macleod:  September 21, 2009

 

Reply

5.

to Question

1.

Betty Smith (née White)

Holywell, near Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England

Thank you to Maureen Ritson (née Pyper), now living in Holywell, Northumberland, who attended Boroughmuir from 1958 to 1964 for sending me the  message below.

Maureen wrote:

'Pupil Version'

"I left Boroughmuir in 1964 and can still remember the tune of the school song. I managed to remember most of the words as well.

There was also a 'pupil version' which my mother said began: 'We are barrels of manure'!

She was at the school way back in the 1920's, I think.

Maureen Ritson (née Pyper), Holywell, nr. Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England:  April 25, 2007

 

Reply

6.

to Question

1.

Betty Smith (née White)

Thank you to Betty Smith (née White), now living in Italy, who attended Craiglockhart Primary School, then Boroughmuir, for leaving a message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Betty wrote:

School Song

"On the subject of the Boroughmuir School song. I still have the original music should anyone want a copy."

Betty Smith (née White),  Message left in Edinphoto Guest Book,:  December 3, 2008

Reply

7.

to Question

1.

Alastair Adams

Thank you to Alastair Adams who wrote:

School Song

"I remember the exact moment when the old School Song fell into disuse.  It was in October 1962, when one "John Vassal" was convicted in a rather unsavoury spy/sex scandal.

The School Song began "We are Vassals of the 'Muir'."

Alastair Adams:   June 7, 2009

Reply

8.

to Question

1.

Don Sandilands

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Don Sandilands who wrote:

School Song

"After reading the comments above, I've been way down memory lane.

I went to Boroughmuir form 1940 to 1944 (leaving age 14). I am 82 years old now but still remember most of the words of the Boroughmuir  school song, composed by the music teacher and I think his name was"  Moir" or "Moyes". My class did not learn much about music for, when rationing began, my music period consisted of completing ration books for the public from forms.

The words of the song went something like this:

'We are Vassals of the Muir (or moor), Vassals of the Muir

In silent vigil at the shrine,

We pledge fealty to the Muir.

Justus! Serve the cause of right!

Tenax!  Keep the scutcheon bright,

As we proudly bear the banner

The true Vassals of the Muir'."

These words agree almost exactly with the first few lines of the verse in 5 above.

Don added

Up at 5am

"That's about all I remember about the school, except for getting the strap almost every morning for being late, as I had to get up at 5.00am to deliver rolls and milk for the Dumfries Dairy and newspapers along the same route for a newsagent on Gorgie Road.

Needless to say, my school years from age eleven at Boroughmuir do not evoke happy memories - not that it was the fault of the school! 

Being up at 5.00am had its advantages, however:

-  I was able to breakfast on rolls and milk, courtesy of Dumfries Dairy.

-  I was one of the first kids on the street to gather shrapnel after an air raid!   It made great souvenirs."

Don Sandilands, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  July 17, 2010

Reply

9.

to Question

1.

Jim Cairns

Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland

Thank you to Jim Cairns for letting me see the sheet music for 'Vassals of the 'Muir', published by Rae MacIntosh & Co Ltd, 39 George Street, Edinburgh.

The song is described as:

Broughton Secondary School

Rallying Song

Poem by: U A Harris                          Music by:  Frank Moyes

The sheet music has a green cover with an illustration of three soldiers (or similar) background is another on horseback and a Saltire, with a backdrop of Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park.

Unfortunately, I'll not be able to add this music or illustration to the EdinPhoto web site for copyright reasons.

Acknowledgement: Jim Cairns, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland:  November 29, 2010

Question

2.

Evan Reid

Ayrshire, Scotland

Evan Reid, now living in Ayrshire, Scotland wrote:

Athletics  -  1955

"I recently came across a short reference to the Edinburgh Schools Athletic Team to meet the Glasgow Schools at the annual inter-city athletic contest which was held at Scotstoun, Glasgow in June 1955.

I know it is a long shot but I wondered if anyone had a full copy of the Edinburgh Team List covering the three age groups which were:

 Group A (17-19)

Group B (15-17)

Group C (13-15).

I took part in that contest and was in Group B and therefore have a particular interest in that list.

The Boroughmuir Team

I was at Boroughmuir at that time and some of the other Boroughmuir lads who were in the team that come to my mind are:

-  Arthur Leitch

-  Tom Gifford

- John Hughes

-  Brian Blisset

-  J. Trench.

I also remember:

-  Roger Macdonald (Heriots)

-   Eddie Keating (Heriots)

-  Lorimer (Watsons)."

Evan Reid, Ayrshire, Scotland:  December 19, 2009

Reply to Evan?

If you'd like to send a reply to Evan, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to him.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs

Reply

1.

to Question

2.

Bob Fairley

Palma, Majorca

Thank you to Bob Fairley who wrote:

Class Mates and Rugby Colleagues

"I've just discovered Evan Reid’s interest in:

- Arthur Leitch

-  Tom Gifford

- John Hughes

-  Brian Blisset

They were all classmates or rugby colleagues and friends.

I still have contacts with:

 Larry Hutchison (antiquarian)

John Gray

Harry Pincott (Scotsman, sports)

After 43 years in Germany, I am now retired in Palma de Mallorca."

Bob Fairley, Palma de Mallorca:  July 2, 2010

Reply

2.

to Question

2.

John E Kirkwood

Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to John E Kirkwood who wrote:

Sports

"I was at 'Burry' 1949-52 (1C1 then 2/3B4). I played rugby under:

 'Honk' Ronchetti

'Tas' Taylor

George Johnstone, Tech

I played alongside:

Fraser Henderson

Arthur Leitch

Gordon Irving

Dod McKie

Kenny Ross

I also played cricket.

Mini-Reunion

"I'm at present trying to gather classmates for a mini-reunion, to be held in May 2013.  It will will be our 4th.

-  The reunions started off with myself and Jim Mercer from Hamilton, Ontario (formerly Colinton Mains).

-   For the 2nd reunion, another two girls were added.

-  For the 3rd reunion, last year, there were seven of us.  It was great to catch up!  I'm hoping to 'nail' one or two others this May. I've also caught up with Lilian Raeburn (now Young) who lives in New Jersey.

John E Kirkwood, Livingston Village, West Lothian, Scotland:  April 19, 2013

 

Question

3.

Margaret Kortas

British Columbia, Canada

Former Boroughmuir pupils have been asking more questions than visitors to the web site who attended other schools.  Is this a result of the way they were taught at Boroughmuir?

 Here is another question.  It comes from Margaret Kortas who now lives in Canada.

Margaret wrote:

Friends

"I attended the Muir from 1952 until 1958 and was in the same class as John Gray, Harold Pincott, Tom Gifford and John Hughes at various times.

I read some time ago on a Muir website that John Hughes was running a business in Sweden and that Tommy Gifford had died very young. They were both gifted linguists and were the first pupils in the school to learn Russian."

Tommy Gifford

"Tommy lived downstairs from my friend.   and am curious about what career he followed and when and how he died.  He was a very low key but nice fellow."

Margaret Kortas, British Columbia, Canada:  October 17, 2010

Reply to Evan?

If you'd like to send a reply to Margaret, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to her.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs

 

Question

4.

Paula

Virginia, USA

Thank you to Paula who wrote:

Searching for Robert Burnett

"I'm searching for Robert Burnett for a friend who tells me that:

-  Robert graduated from Boroughmuir High School around 1955-56

-  His father lived at Archer's Hall

-  Robert worked as a mechanic in Merchiston Mews.

-  He also worked as a delivery boy for Teinish Chemist Shop.

- He worked as a mechanic on cars for a Scottish Racing team while in Merchiston Mews.

He was an avid cyclist, lol, and rode his bike to work every day.

-  He played rugby (not professionally) for a local team.

He had an older sister possibly named Elaine.

-  Robert had a friend, Edwin McCall who married Maggie Nicholson.  Edwin lived in 'The Terraces' and worked for Robertson's Fruit & Vegetable shop as a delivery boy.

I figured that the best way to find Robert, since he has such a common name, is to look for alumni of Boroughmuir HIgh School who may have known him and hopefully have stayed in touch over all these years."

Paula, Virginia, USA:  June 12, 2013 (2 emails) + June 13, 2013

Reply to Paula?

If you'd like to send a reply to Paula, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to her.

Thank you.  

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  June 12, 2013

 

Question

5.

Roy Jordan

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Thank you to Roy Jordan who wrote:

Boroughmuir High School
Junior Annex

1955

"I'm trying to locate on a map the school I attended in 1965 in Merchiston, Edinburgh.  It was the junior annex to Boroughmuir High School, and I was in the first year. The school was co-educational and as far as I recall it was among terrace houses in Merchiston.  It was definitely not the main High School which appears still to be on Viewforth Street, as I recall walking to the main school on several occasions.

My Journey to School

"I got off the bus (No. 16, I think) from the Colinton Oxgangs area where we lived in Dreghorn Gardens and turned left and walked down 2 or 3 streets (all drab terraces) until I reached the school. A reference on TV to Napier of Merchiston the other night rekindled my interest in the school and I tried to find it again."

Is the Building Still Standing?

"The building no longer appears to be the High School annex.  I was wondering what it had become and if it was still standing.

 All attempts to find it have failed. I thought it might have become Bruntsfield Primary School but that school does appear to be it. That building seems too close to Boroughmuir High School."

A Different Annex

"Some of the recollections are from people who went to the school and the annex, but they appear to be referring to another building.

Graeme Kerr talks about attending an annex in the 1970s and 1980s but the building in the photo appears to be James Gillespie's High School for Girls which is in a different location, not all that near to Merchiston.

Would you by any chance know the building I am talking about? I now live in Australia and so it's not easy for me to just go to Edinburgh to try and find it for myself."

Roy Jordon, Canberra, ACT, Australia:  June 5, 2014

Reply to Roy?

 I don't know the answer to the question that Roy asks above.

Maybe there is a former pupil of the school who will be able to provide the answer, and possibly a few memories of the Junior Annex.

If you'd like to send a reply to Roy, please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Thank you.  

  Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh, June 5, 2014

 

Reply

1.

to Question

5.

Neil

Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Neil for replying to Roy Gordon's Question 5 above.

Neil wrote:

Boroughmuir High School
Junior Annex

1955

"This Edinburgh Council document confirms that the Junior Annex of Boroughmuir High School was the school which stood in the corner of Tay Street and Watson Crescent.  Later, it was known as North Merchiston Primary School.

Sadly, the school was destroyed by fire in 2002 and a care home now stands on the site."I'd like to

Neil, Midlothian, Scotland:  June 8, 2014

 

Reply

2.

to Question

5.

Roy Jordan

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Thank you to Roy Jordan (who asked Question 5 above) for acknowledging the reply from Neil above.

Roy wrote

Boroughmuir High School
Junior Annex

Thank You

Location

"I'd like to  thank Neil for the location of my old school, Boroughmuir Secondary School Annexe (latterly North Merchiston Primary School).

After checking a map, it fits the bill exactly.  No wonder I couldn't find it when I searched for it, as the building no longer exists. Also, I wasn't looking far enough to the west I was beginning to realise this  as I thought about the relative location of the Annexe and themain school on Viewforth.

Stone Cleaning

One thing that strikes me is that is the terraces all around the school, which I remember being a sooty black colour, now all appear to be brown in colour. Perhaps they have all been cleaned since 1965!

I recall the National Gallery of Scotland in the city centre being cleaned in 1965.  It changed colour over a period of a few weeks.

Roy Jordon, Canberra, ACT, Australia:  June 10, 2014

 

Reply

3.

to Question

5.

Lesley Scott

SE Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Lesley Scott who added:

Boroughmuir High School
Junior Annex

"I attended the Boroughmuir School Annex in 1971/2.  It was in Bryson road, in an area between Merchiston and Dalry Road/Gorgie Road.  I think there is now a care home on this site - North Merchiston Care Home.

I have visited this Home and from memory it seems to fit geographically. There was also another Annex at Bruntsfield (Links) which may have been formerly James Gillespies’ school, used by Boroughmuir at that time.

You’ve probably had many replies already and figured this out, but hope it is of help!

I attended Boroughmuir for 6 years until 1977

Lesley Scott, SE Queensland, Australia  June 23, 2014

 

Reply

4.

to Question

5.

Chrystine Stubbs

Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Thank you to Chrystine Stubbs who added:

Boroughmuir High School
Junior Annex

"I attended the Boroughmuir School Annex in the late-1960s, for two years.  The Annex was in Tay Street, off Dundee Street.

Mr Shaw was the Headmaster in 1966 when I started.  We were at the Annex for the 1st and 2nd year, before moving up to the Viewforth building."

Chrystine Stubbs, Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland:  September 20 + 22, 2015

 

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