George Gibson & Co




Robert Fender


Thank you to Robert Fender, now living in England, who wrote:


"I went to Leith Academy Primary and Secondary School, leaving in 1951."


"I went to work for George Gibson and Co in Commercial Street Leith. (They better know as the Gibson Rankin Line.)   Their ships came into Leith regularly during the week mainly from France and Belgium  -  ships like the Melrose, Bucklaw, Heriot.

I remember having to be down at the docks at 6am on a Monday morning to collect the ship's box with all the bills of laden and take them to the office, so that the perishable goods, mainly vegetables, could clear Customs for 8am then be collected by the likes of Rankin, the fruiters etc.  Then, off up to the Custom House with all the documents. 

I left Gibson's in 1956 for pastures new down in England.   When I came back a few years later, Gibson's had gone.   I never found out what happened.   I still have the letter of reference they gave before I left."

Robert Fender, England:  September 22, 2007



Eric Gold

known to many as Eric McKenzie, East London

East London, England

Thank you to Eric Gold, who wrote:

"Robert Fender brings back memories to me.

When I was in Edinburgh between ships, I went down to Gibson Rankin Line every day to see if there was any jobs too, as they carried 12 passengers to the continent, but the guy in charge (I've forgotten his name now) always used to say to me "Not a sausage today but come back tomorrow".

Well this went on and on for 2 weeks, then when P&O  cruise lines phoned me up as their brand new cruise ship, 'Pacific Princess', was due to sail from Vancouver to the Caribbean.

I jumped at the chance. I went down to Gibson Rankin Line again to tell the guy I would be gone in a couple of days to Canada, but before I could tell him, he said "Not a sausage today but come back tomorrow".

I then went in to a local butchers shop at the foot of Leith Walk and bought 5 lbs of beef sausages and went back to him and he still said the usual sausage routine before I could speak, so I said "There are plenty of sausages now mate" and threw the sausages on his desk (ha ha ha ha).  It was funny but I don't think he saw the joke (ha ha ha ha).

Later on, when I was on leave and in Leith drinking in my usual haunts, I told all the seamen and dockers alike about the sausage saga, and they thought it was funny, even the tough girls out of the Jungle and Tower bars, not forgetting Fairleys too."

Eric Gold, East London:  September 26, 2007


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