School One Morning- Work the next! by Marion Evans

Marion started work for the Co-op in 1951 at the age of 15.

“I didn’t choose to be a clerkess her mother and granny did!! (see later). As an Office Junior I was at everyone’s Beck and Call. There was a manager Mr John McNab, an undermanager, Mr Taylor and about 24 agents. I made tea and ran errands i.e. nylons to be mended. I had to keep the postage book, buy stamps and do the mail. Every bit of mail had to be recorded, weighed etc…. At the end of the week the Head checked my “accounts”. Often wrong I’d make up any discrepencies out of my meagre wages say 1 1/2d. or tuppence halfpenny!! So often it was just bad accounting on my part and the wee extra over went into the Tea Fund!!! I soon learnt to get it right. I was not allowed to use/answer the phone for the 1st year. I was “taught” how to use it once I got a “steppie” up and earned more responsibility. No-one I knew had a telephone at home.

Having been pretty clever at school my mother had me removed from the A stream at Elgin Academy in the 1st year. As a war widow she knew there was no money for University so Commercial training would ensure a job. Having just moved into 4th year I thoght my mother had relented and was allowing me to stay on. One day I announced at dinnertime (now lunch) that the Rector had announced a job vacancy at the Co-op Insurance Office- I NEVER WENT BACK TO SCHOOL- My Mum and my Granny marched me up there and then I started the next morning. I so resented leaving school which I loved!! But it never entered my head to refuse the job.

Peter's cafe in Cooper Park

Peter’s cafe in Cooper Park. It faced the Park and was apparently where the new section of Elgin library is now.

I have loads of memories of my girlhood in Elgin- local dancing, outings, youth club, drama group, church activities, local library, transport and cafés. Peter’s Café was in Cooper Park just behind where the Library is now. That was behind the present Library. It’s proper name was The El Nor. It was a meeting place for young people coming from the tennis courts and groups of pals/teenagers and young courting couples. Very very basic wooden building like a pavilion. NO alcohol just lemonade milk shakes, hot chocolate, coffee and tea even Bovril! Biscuits and Crisps are all we remember being eaten.
Then The Park Café opened -It looked out onto the Cooper Park at the end of north College Street near to the Museum. This was a very “posh” and rather exciting place for us. It had booths with fixed plastic topped tables about 8 could sit around in each booth. There was a jukebox with latest top of the pops records. THE place to be to meet and be seen. It was run

Formerly known as The Two Red Shoes Ballroom. The Beatles appeared there. © Copyright Ann Harrison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Formerly known as The Red Shoes BallRoom

by Albert Bonici who was very popular with all of us. He later went on to open The Two Red Shoes Dance Hall and brought big names to Elgin. Again No alcohol. I believe the Bonici’s had a café called The Savoy before the park café. It was in the block of the old arcade type buildings just before the Museum at the east end of the High Street beside the Little Cross…… ” 

See below to read more of Marion’s Local Memories in Elgin ……

Marion Evans of Forres kindly submitted her memories using the online form and by hand.

Additional information

Here are some other memories about Elgin written by Marion Evans (Age 77)
Memories from my Childhood 1943-1948 by Marion Evans from Forres
Odds and Ends from a childhood and youth in Elgin by Marion Evans
Autobiographical Story by Marion Evans
Random Jottings by Marion Evans from Forres

David Bogie’s memory of working for the Co-op in Elgin mentions not being allowed to meet the public when he worked for the Co-op in 1932. So the same rule that applied to Marion was there 19 years earlier.

Lido snooker advertLido- Lido snooker hall opening 1989 from Northern Scot . The Newspaper article includes a little about its history as a Dance Hall and Snooker Club.


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