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EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks

 

Edinburgh Recollections

Tramcar Adventures

1.

Bryan GOURLAY
Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

1a  The Other End of the World

1b  Liberton Brae

1c  Conductresses

1d  Seating

2.

Jim VANDEPEEAR
York, Yorkshire, England

Trip to the Sea

3.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Marchmont Circle

4.

Ronnie Elder
Kandy, Sri Lanka

Tram to Liberton

5.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Tram to Portobello

 

Recollections

1a

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

'The Other End of the World'

"Until they were tragically killed off in 1956, tramcars were a vital ingredient in Edinburgh life – and a source of sheer wonderment and pleasure for us small boys.

A 1d or a 1½d fare would take you to the other end of the world and back, and frequently did. In addition to going to school, swimming and the pictures, we’d use the tram to explore the city’s extremities  -  Portobello beach, it’s fairground and shows, Fairmilehead and the Pentlands, the Zoo and, just for the ride, far-flung Levenhall to the east of Musselburgh Race Course, the furthest-most point of the tram network. Although, my dad said the trams once went as far as Port Seton.2

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland,  April 24,  2006

 

Recollections

1b

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Up the Brae

My most frequent tram route was from the East Mayfield stop, at Newington, to the terminus at the top of Liberton Brae. Quite how a fully-loaded tram ever got up Liberton Brae still defies belief.

The Brae’s steepest point was on the bend half way up the hill. The tram would groan, screech, wheel slip, smell and lurch, while standing passengers swung perilously from the ‘safety straps’, if they could catch one, that is. In desperation, they would often grasp the nearest seat back, someone’s shoulder, arm, head or worse.

Somehow, the tram would miraculously struggle and heave itself past the worst and, with a heavy groan, reach the safety of the shops and, ironically, Liberton cemetery.  All the while, the tram driver, perched on his stool up front, seemed totally indifferent, as he hunched over his two levers.

Everyone disembarked (staggered off) at the terminus at the top of the hill opposite the Post Office, still there today, and still very much in 1930s-mode.

The Last Tram down the Brae

"All too often, the tram would be sitting there menacingly, empty, like something out of a Stephen King movie. The driver was already in Formula I mode, psyched-up, sullenly waiting for the off.  Going for broke, I’d climb the stairs and take up pole position in the very front seat ready for take-off. The driver had only one thing in mind – the race back to the Shrubhill depot – before the pub shut.

I was never disappointed. When the light went to green, the driver would lean on the lever and we’d streak off into the night, and oblivion – lurching and swaying, over the precipice, careering down towards the dreaded corner halfway down the Brae. A tramcar, flat out, made the most toe-curling, screaming-banshee-sounding noise. I’d be hanging on to the seat, for dear life, my legs wrapped round whatever stanchion I could find. My mother was downstairs somewhere and, on the last tram, the conductress was invariably nowhere to be seen.

Every time, I was utterly convinced we were going into the front garden or living room of one of the nice houses on the corner and, every time, the tram somehow went screaming round the corner in a shower of sparks – before accelerating madly down the hill and along the straight towards Newington.

I’m sure that, on at least one occasion, I heard of a tram jumping the rails and ploughing into one of the houses on the corner of Liberton Brae.* "

Accident

*  The day after writing the notes above, Bryan sent me details of an accident on Liberton Brae.  Bryan wrote:

"I was right; a tram did go off the rails into the houses on Liberton Brae.

It happened on Saturday June 1 1929, when a No 7 tram ran all the way down the hill from the terminus, about half a mile to the bend, then straight into a front garden. The four passengers on board were not seriously injured.

Apparently, the tram had been left unattended for a few minutes, with the handbrake not properly applied."

Bryan Gourlay,  April 25,  2006

 

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland,  April 24,  2006

 

Recollections

1c

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Conductresses

The Scourge of Small Boys

"Apart from changing the electric supply pole to the other line at the terminus, and walking through the tram pushing the seatbacks so they faced the other way, tram drivers where generally invisible. The same cannot be said for conductresses, however.

We were convinced Edinburgh Corporation had a factory that manufactured conductresses to tried and tested specifications. One popular model was the scourge of small boys. Instantly recognisable, nor more than 5 feet high, very amply proportioned, with peroxide blonde hair (often in a hair-net), bright red lipstick, and a truly majestic bosom, painstakingly designed to give shelter to the all-important ticket machine.

These ‘ladies’ were not to be messed with. They were in total control of all they could see, which probably explains why tram drivers tended to cower in the safety of their ‘dookit’."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland,  April 24,  2006

 

Recollections

1d

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Young Boys on the Trams

"There was a distinct seating batting-order travelling on trams, with young boys right at the bottom. When the tram was busy, we sometimes had to reluctantly go downstairs.

Here, we were constantly on the watch as the seats filled up. Once all the seats were taken, we were honour-bound to surrender our seat to the next adult, particularly old ladies, who boarded the tram. Not to do so, invited lots of muttering, grumbling and glares from adult passengers, and risked a whole lot worse from the conductress. 

Shortly before trams were decommissioned, I well recall the Rector assailing us at our early morning school assembly – “Around quarter to four yesterday afternoon, a boy in our school uniform, was on the No. 7 tram on the North Bridge, and failed to get up and give an old lady his seat. She’s been in touch with me to bring it to my attention. Will that boy come to my room immediately after assembly, and explain himself!”

"We all knew the boy would go and, that ‘explaining himself’, really meant six or 12 of the belt – the infamous thick leather tawse*, otherwise known as a ‘Lochgelly Special’. Teachers kept their tawse draped over their shoulder underneath their jackets, like gunslingers ready for a quick draw, and dished out such punishment in multiples of six for some reason"

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland,  April 24,  2006

Tawses

*  The day after writing the notes above, Bryan sent me further details of the leather school straps, or tawses, referred to in the paragraph above. 

Bryan sent me a photograph of 9 different styles of tawse sold by J Dick, Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland, together with their price list, dated 19 July 1966.  The price list read:

Price List of School Straps

Length of straps 21"

Light weight

15s 0d

Medium weight

15s 6d

Heavy weight

16s 0d

Extra Heavy weight

16s 6d

Three tail straps - all weights

19s 6d

Length of straps 24"

Light weight

£1  2s 0d

Medium weight

£1  2s 0d

Heavy weight

£1  2s 0d

Extra Heavy weight

£1  2s 0d

Above prices are inclusive of postage
and sold only to teaching profession
for use in the classroom.

Bryan tells me that the tawses can still be bought "for display purposes only".

Recollections

2

Jim Vandepeear

York, Yorkshire, England

Thank you to Jim Vandepeear for sending me many memories of growing up in Edinburgh during and following World War 2, including the following, probably from around the late-1940s:

Trip to the Sea

"I ran from Preston Street to Waterloo Place to save a penny fare, then got on a tram and, for a penny, went all the way to Levenhall, miles away through Portobello and Musselburgh.

At Levenhall, the terminus was near the grass of the racecourse, by the sea.  I watched the driver pull the pantograph from the overhead wires, and walk round the tramcar to put it back on the wires, then go to the other end to take the tram back to Waterloo Place.

After a run across the grass to the sea across and back, I had a penny ride back to Waterloo Place, then ran over The Bridges to home.  Two pence worth of adventure in an afternoon!  Our tram tickets were printed with 'LorD'.  We were Lords. The conductor told us that it meant 'luggage or dog'."

Jim Vandepeear, York, Yorkshire, England:  April 1, 2010

Recollections

3

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Margaret wrote

Marchmont Circle

"I've been reading your recollections of Tollcross and the tram cars.  My friends and I used to get on the tram cars.  I think the one we liked best was called the Marchmont Circle.

For twopence, pre-decimal, you could get on this to help the war effort.  It was so exciting.  We could get on outside the Francis Café go all the way past the Meadows and carry on round till we reached Princes Street, up Lothian Road and wind up back at the Francis Café."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North  London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book: 11 June 2011

Recollections

4

Ronnie Elder

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Thank you to Ronnie Elder who wrote:

Tram to Liberton

"I can recall, as a very small child,  Sunday visits to our maternal Grandmother. We would board a No 23 tramcar at Granton Road Station tram terminus. It trailed along Inverleith up to Canonmills.

We changed onto a No 7 at the GPO and it went  over the Bridges to Newington, and reached Liberton, where we descended and walked all the way up Esslemont Road to the King's Buildings and my Grandmother's home.

We always managed to occupy the upstairs front section above the driver, a favourite seating area for  children of all ages(Father was a passionate and unrelenting cigarette smoker.

The tramways were our lifeline throughout the city then, for work and play.  I cannot remember ever traveling by bus within the city."

Ronnie Elder, Kandy, Sri Lanka:  June 10, 2011

Recollections

5.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper who wrote:

Portobello

"A tramcar trip to Portobello, back in the 1940s, was the ultimate joy.  We'd get a tramcar from Tollcross to Joppa and walk the rest of the way.

The Sea

It was always freezing at Porty but my sister and i would bravely put on our cossies and run into the sea, only to emerge seconds later having turned blue.

By this time my Mother would be settled in a deckchair with our coats and jumpers wrapped around her.  'Och, you'll soon warm up' she would say.

Funfair

There used to be a funfair at Portobello.  I remember paying a precious sixpence for a 'LUCKY BOX' and wound up greetin' 'cos all that was in it was a horoscope.

In spite of all this, we had a great time and went home convinced that we had a bit of sunburn."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, October 28, 2011

 

Edinburgh Transport

Recollections
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Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks