Jimmy’s work as a mobile library van driver

Jimmy’s work life continued as a mobile library van driver in Banffshire………………..

Jimmy left farm work in 1966 to work for the library service. He had to leave Bomakelloch because the farmer’s son took over and he had four sons so Jimmy had to leave. He got a house in Keith very quickly. His work was to drive the library van in Banff County. There was no special test to be allowed to drive the van. Jimmy really enjoyed his job. He travelled over the whole of Banffshire on eight routes with Monday free when the van could be cleaned, books restocked etc… Each route was revisited every two weeks.  Avoiding Mondays also meant that as most local holidays fell on a Monday then it was rare for the van route to be cancelled. Books were changed every three months. People could ask for specific books and Jimmy would get copies ready for the next time he saw them. Romantic Historical novels were very popular e.g Jean Plaidy as were Mills and Boon novels. In the farming areas they liked, not surprisingly books about Farming. Autobiographies were also popular. He found that the men preferred the westerns and a good story but not the historical fiction. There was an old man in the Ben Rinnes area who used to arrive at the library van stop off with an old suitcase full of westerns stapped to his bike. There was no restriction on the number of books people could borrow. Occasionally there were library users who wanted to advance their education via the library books they borrowed. Some may have missed out in their education in some way and others just wished to add to what they knew. There were a number of very well read individuals in the farming communities of Banffshire judging by the range and level of books they regularly borrowed from the mobile library. One woman would ask for special books in advance. Each week she wrote farming articles for the Press and Journal Newspaper. Over time the mobile library became so popular another van was added. Jimmy chose the hill route and remained based in Keith. His route was Botriphine, Dufftown, Archiestown, Glenlivet, Edinville, Tomintoul, Cabrach, Rothiemay and Newmill.

Jimmy retired from his position as mobile library driver in 1994. During his retirement years he has been a Caring Bus Driver for WRVS and is an active member of Keith Rotary’s Probus Club.

Another interesting facet of his life has been his involvement in the Royal Observer Corps. Originally set up after the Second World War the ROC had the objective of observing plane activity over Britain. Jimmy joined in 1950 and remained with the organisation for the next 42 years. They met in Keith once a week or once a fortnight. Though initially looking at aircraft the ROC changed to one preparing the country in case of nuclear war. In 1955 an underground room was built at Drummuir. Synch rooms were built at other locations in Moray including Cabrach, Grange, Tomintoul, Archiestown, Dallas and Findhorn. The one at Drummuir can still be seen with it’s distinctive square lid. There is a famous one in Fife known Scotland’s Secret Bunker. The capacity of the ones which Jummy knew about were for about 5 people. Enough for a small command centre but not sufficient as a place for the local population to hide from radiation fallout.

Additional information

Google image search for pictures of ROC posts Moray. Numerous photos of the underground rooms in Moray.

Fife's secret bunker websiteInformation about Fife’s secret bunker. A much larger version of the underground rooms that were built in Moray. Scotland’s best kept secret for over 40 years, Hidden beneath an innocent Scottish Farmhouse, a tunnel leads to, Scotland’s Secret Bunker. 24,000 square feet of Secret accommodation. The size of two football pitches, one on top of another, On two levels 100 feet underground.


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