John Gibson & Son

Garage at Jameson Place, Leith



John Fraser

Inch, Edinburgh

Thank you to John Fraser who wrote:

My First Job

"I left school in 1950 and started my first job in January 1951 at John Gibson and Son Ltd. in Jameson Place Leith.

I walked into their stores and asked the man behind the counter (Jock Naismith from Musselburgh, as I found out once I had the job) if there were any vacancies.

He went into the small office then came out and told me that the Stores Manager, Jimmy Farquhar, would see me.  After asking a few questions he told me I could start the next day.

I rushed home and told my mother and she took me to Clinkscales in Great Junction Street to get overalls.  I started in the stores, helping at the counter."


"Some firm had ordered a road spring for a lorry, and our blacksmith made one. I got the job of taking it to the station, Leith Central.  

I lifted it on to the two wheel barrow - it was quite heavy for a small lad like me at that time - and wheeled it down Leith Walk.  I then had to push it up the slope at Crown Place into the station. It was some push."


"Six months later I went out into the workshop to start as an Apprentice Motor Mechanic. I was put to work with Willie Yourston.

 I also remember:

Jimmy Foley, who only had one eye.

-  Bobby Buckle

Eddie Greenhill ,the foreman

Archie Kinloch, chargehand from Newhaven

Bobby Doyle

Willie Yourston

Davie Brough

Roy Bell

Bobby Buckle.

The apprentices that I remember were:

-  Willie White

-  Keith Ramsay

-  Archie McMasters from Broxburn

-  George Blair

-  Arthur Greenfield."

Other Workers

"I also remember

-  Andrew Brown, the Garageman who ran the fuel pumps and repaired punctures. He also pressed the solid tyres on steel wheels.

Wee Frankie Hay, the stores driver.

Ernie Smith, the lorry driver.  His son, Eric, was an apprentice electrician."

New Vauxhall

"Eric came into work one morning, all excited.  As he had walked down Sloan Street, a woman had come out off a house and stopped him. 'Here son, see that car'. She pointed to a brand new Vauxhall. 'How would you like it?. If you give me a pound it's yours'.

Eric couldn't believe it, but handed over a pound, and the woman gave him all the documents. It turned out that the woman's husband had cheated on her, so she gave his car away."

Twenty Four Years' Work

"I worked in Gibson's for twenty-four years before it closed. Maybe someone out there remembers the good times  -   Mr. George Gibson handing out sweets to the apprenticesHe was a true gentleman."

Refuse Lorries

"The firm made and sold refuse lorries to all over the place.:

-   Baghdad

-  Abu Dhabi

-  Sierra Leone

-  England and Wales.

Before BMC

In the days before B.M.C., we sold and repaired

-  Morris Commercials.

-  Austins.

-  MG and Morris cars.

-  top of the range cars in George Street. 

Other Garages

Other garages were:

-  Wilkinson's, Annandale Street.

Moir & Baxter, Comely Bank."

John Fraser, Inch, Edinburgh:  May 31, 2013



John Fraser

Inch, Edinburgh

Thank you to John Fraser for writing again.

John wrote:

Granton Harbour

Gibson's Marine Workshop

"When I was an apprentice at the John Gibson garage at Leith, I was asked if I would like to go on a boat at Granton.   As I lived in Wardieburn Place East, up the hill from Granton Square, I said yes.  This saved me travelling to Leith.

Gibson had a marine workshop on the East side of the Middle Pier at Granton Harbour, near the slipway where the Forth Ferries used to land.

My job was to go down at 7.30am and go onto the last Forth Ferry that had stopped operating to start up a generating engine in the engine room.  Gibson was altering old naval MTBs (motor torpedo boats) into private launches, and the generator was used for their power tools and lights.

For this, I got the princely sum of three-pence an hour, on-board money.

Gibson Marine Workshops

I saw a picture claiming to be the east side of the Middle pier. There was no coaling on the east side of the pier.  It was on the west side.

There were no cranes for unloading the trawlers on the east side of the pier, but boats would be berthed there after they had been off-loaded if there was no room for them to berth at West Pier

I've also seen a picture showing the ferry at Granton.  It also shows the Gibson Marine workshop at top of slipway. My Father worked for Carnie and Gibb driving a fish lorry. I used to go with my pal Ian Little, and go on the Ben Idris. His neighbour, George 'Dode' Scammel was the cook. My brother Davy also sailed from Granton, as did neighbours, the Woods ,Alec Snr. (Janders) who was a skipper, Louis, Alec Jnr, John and Brian. All deckhands. They all worked for T.L.Devlin."

John Fraser, Inch, Edinburgh:  July 8, 2013


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