Working in Nethy Bridge by Margaret Lloyd

Nethy Bridge Hotel © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Nethy Bridge Hotel © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Margaret’s first job was working at the Nethy Bridge Hotel in the “still room”. It was a summer holiday job before going to college. Her job included making pots of tea and melba toast. Coffee was made in a Kona filter coffee machine. She remembers spending hours making toast in front of a hot grill. Margaret earned £8 a week and her board and lodgings. There was a substantial end of season bonus of  £40! The hotel customers were often involved in hunting, shooting and fishing pursuits. The customers’ hunting dogs had their meals prepared by the hotel’s chefs, often eating leftover meats from the restaurant supplies. Many customers were very wealthy and it was really the first opportunity for Margaret to meet and mix closely with wealthier members of society.

800px-Law_Courts_entrance,_Parliament_Square by Kim Traynor This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Court Sessions is held inside the Parliament Buldings, Edinburgh by Kim Traynor. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

At college Margaret studied hotel management. She decided later to take the civil service exam and went on to work for the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh. At that time everyone who wished to be granted a divorce in Scotland had to travel to Edinburgh to have their case heard. There were a variety of reasons which could be cited including desertion, cruelty, adultery, insanity and bigamy.

Memory contributed by Margaret Lloyd from Keith

Additional Information


This is the shop which her grandfather, James Ettles ran early in the 20th century.

Margaret’s grandfather was James Ettles from the Banffshire town of Keith where he ran a popular newsagent/bookshop/toyshop at the top of Mid Street. At Christmas time he changed the room at the back of the shop into a Santa’s Grotto. He often put aside toys for people to pay for in instalments and collect later. Traditionally Christmas day was a working day and New Year is a holiday. Some people chose to pick up toys to give on New Year. When James’ housekeeper retired Margaret moved with her family into the shop in Keith. Her Father, Bill gave up his job as a schoolteacher in Aberlour to work in the shop and help his Father. Bill found he did not like the job as much as his work as a schoolteacher and after two years returned to the “chalkface” in an English/Geography teaching role at Keith Grammar School starting at the new school building in 1964. Later he moved to Buckie High School retiring as Principal Teacher of Geography in 1983. The old Keith Grammar was used as a community centre for a few years and was eventually demolished. James sold the shop in 1968. More information here. 

Bill Ettles book about History of Keith SchoolsBill wrote a book later in life about Keith and its History of Schools. A portion of this book can be read in Keith Primary School Memory blog, where the section about Keith Primary School is reproduced (with permission).

Prior to coming to Keith Bill worked at the Orphanage School in Aberlour. The family had lived in a cottage up the Brae. There was a great social life in Aberlour. She remembers Dr John Caldwell and his Aunt, Dr Beatrice Sellar. Dr Bee once checked her ears to see if “the Measles were having a tea party”.

The location of Kate and Francis McConachie's Chemist shop in Keith

The location of Kate and Francis McConachie’s Chemist shop in Keith

Great Aunts Kate and Francis’ McConachie ‘s Chemist Shop in Keith– Her Great Aunt Kate took her Pharmaceutical Exam in Edinburgh at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. There was a tradition there that if you passed the exam you could leave the building by the front door and it not you left by the back and had to try again. Kate left by the front door. She had not attended a college but had learnt on the job. Her sister, Francis helped her sister in the Chemist Shop as an assistant.  

History of Pharmacy

Elsewhere on this Memory Blog Aberlour resident, George Watt has spoken about his memories of working for Kate and Francis during the 1940s. Read it here.


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