Students' Rag Week
Thank you to Keith Main, who wrote:
remember Students' Rag Week.
was actually called something else, not 'Rag'.
My sis will know. She
was crowned (1st ever) Mis Heriot Watt in
1969, so was heavily involved in fund-raising!
At the end of the
summer term, students at Edinburgh's Unis
(Universities) and Colleges
held various charity fund-raisers.
The week culminated
in a big procession along Princes Street on the
well attended event with crowds five deep along
Each year had a different theme,
and the students
became creative with their fancy dress.
Nights: the tongue-in-cheek
fund-raising slogan was Sheik Ya
Money (Sheik Yamani).
pipers, marching bands and majorettes
jugglers and clowns
open floats with dragons,
knights' castles, pirate galleons
and farmyard scenes, or elaborately decorated
Chitty Chitty Bang
other popular films.
I even remember
one done up as the Beatles'
You had to dodge the flour bombs being
hurled at the crowd by the participants. People always ended
up with white hair that day - and your Mum would not be
happy about the state of your clothes when you got home.
Keith Main, London: December
Thank you to Bob Sinclair, who wrote:
The Students' Procession
"The big day
was known as The Students Procession. My
most vivid memory of the day, around 1950,
concerned a man who had a real go at a
student for rattling a can under his nose while he was trying to
access his wee tobacconist's shop just
north of Drummond Street and opposite the Old Quad.
He was a regular.
He parked his car there and went in for his pockle - a daily
The Following Day
"The students were ready for him the
following day. They were equipped with barriers,
bricks and quick drying cement.
his car approached the
tobacconist's a few of them went in at the back of each other.
In turn, they asked as many awkward
questions about the products they were buying as they could think
outside, the barriers were put in place
and a little wall was erected around the car,
about two or three bricks high. Before he exited the tobacconist's
all the barriers and work gang had vanished.
I was on the
opposite side of the road when the man came out.
Though I could not hear what he said,
for the sound of the traffic ,I could see
the colour of his face quite distinctly.
After he calmed
down and paid up, and the offending wall
was pulled down."
"I worked in the Natural Philosophy
(Physics) Dept and we had an engineering
capability. So we used to help the
students build some of the floats used on Procession Day.
It was good fun
and we didn't mind putting in a bit of
unpaid overtime to see the job completed."
Bob Sinclair, Queensland, Australia: January