Evacuation from Edinburgh during World War II


Lyne Valley, Peebles

Peebles is in the Scottish Borders, about 25 miles to the south of Edinburgh

Thank you to Brian Fox, who attended Trinity Academy, Edinburgh from 1940 to 1946 for recalling his evacuation from Edinburgh in 1939.

Brian wrote:


"My sister and I were evacuated in 1939 to a schoolhouse in the Lyne valley near Peebles.  We lived with the schoolmaster Leslie Souter, who was a friend of our family and his wife, Muriel.  They made my sister and me very welcome.

The school was attached to the house.  Mr Souter was a good teacher.  He taught about 20/30 pupils, aged 5 to 11, in one large hall.  Being 14, my sister had to attend Peebles High School, and was taken there every day by taxi."

Electricity, Water and Oil

"The schoolhouse was not connected to mains electricity and only received water from the local Manse when the Church of Scotland minister decided to turn on the supply.

My job was to get drinking water from a little spring nearby and bring it back to the house.  The 39/40 winter was very severe and my hands could hardly cope with the cold and the task of dipping the bucket into the spring and not disturbing silt.  I also had to keep the oil lamps in good shape and change the mantles when required."

Electricity, Water and Oil

"Across the road from the schoolhouse was a blacksmith's forge.  The blacksmith used to allow me to help him.  Along with his other skills, he made horse shoes and cart wheel steel rims.

The furnace required firing up to make the metal red hot before he could hammer it into shape on his anvil.  He allowed me to work the bellows.

The local farmers used him to shoe their horses and make and repair their carts.  There were very few tractors in those days.  Watching his skill was fascinating and a real practical form of education, especially the putting on of cart wheel rims.  He also sold petrol from a hand pump as a sideline.  He really was a nice person and a true artisan.


"We used to run wild over the hills and play in the river Lyne.  I loved it but my sister yearned to go home, which by Christmas we had both returned to Edinburgh.

[On a recent visit to Edinburgh we took a run down to the Lyne valley and stopped at the schoolhouse.  It had long since ceased to be a school.  We spoke to the owner's father and he gave us a nostalgic trip around.  He remembered the Souters but they had left the area long long ago.]

Brian V Fox, Wells, Somerset, England:  January 10, 2008




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