Dorothy Lister’s work as a hairdresser

Dorothy Lister was interviewed by Shonagh, a pupil at Burghead Primary School as part of a project about Fishing and their local community.

Dorothy  Lister was hairdresser apprentice in Glasgow in 1958 she was 14 when she got the job.

Liberace source wikicommons by Allan Warren

Liberace  in 1968 Source: Wikicommons by Allan Warren

” I had always wanted to a hairdresser. I was training for 5 years. It cost my dad 100 guineas to do the training as a hairdresser. The man I worked for was world famous .I worked the 5 past Eight Show Girls hair. I met lots of famous people, Kenneth McKellar’s wife, Shirley Bassey and I helped perm Liberace’s  hair. No-one had to know he had a perm, men didn’t in those days. I was given an envelope with £5 in it to keep my mouth shut!! I met my husband there. He was with my employer’s daughter  (a girlfriend).  I pinched him, married him and its lasted 51 years!!??

Holidays-Saturday afternoon and Sunday and 2 weeks off
Wage £1  9 /-  4d  and good tips! I had to give my mum my wage and I got a few shillings back.
Working day- I start at 9 am in Glasgow. I got tea break when you could Didn’t get lunch and finished at 6:30pm. Washed hair and coloured hair and then after 3 years of training perming hair. After 5 years I was qualified. I loved it ! It was tiring but glamorous and I modelled for my boss. Very long hours and didn’t dare complain! Saw how the over half lived.

Perming was unreal, little square sachets full of substance that was clamped over each  curler and up to a machine and heated hair to curl. It was not safe. I got burnt a lot and we cut hair with an open razor so cuts from that.

Training for the job – I went to a night school to get my diploma. 

I did lots of people’s hair to earn more money but if I was not doing people’s hair I would be at the cinema. I worked for 2 salons then ran one.  Married did neighbours’ hair in the spare room in our flat.

My husband has his own business in engineering and I helped with that for several  years. He did business abroad and I had lots of foreign house guests.  I found that very interesting went to Holland to attend a customers son’s wedding and that was very different from weddings here.

We bought a large guest house in Fort Augustus at Loch Ness. We could sleep 23 people so that sure was hard work. Once again I loved meeting the visitors mostly tourists come to see Nessie! I still hear from a few now 14 years later. ”

Dorothy Lister from Burghead was interviewed by Shonagh, a pupil at Burghead Primary School.

Additional Information

Scottish Cinema website has an image of the Alhambra Theatre before it was demolished in 1971.

A website describing the history of the Alhambra theatre

The Five Past Eight Show was shown on Scottish Television during the 1960s.
Details of the stage layout of the show which was filmed at the Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow.

Scottish Music Hall Information about the  Five Past Eight Show and a online article on the Herald website describing why the theatre closed.

A fascinating presentation about the Alhambra during the 1950s and 60s hidden in the minutes of a meeting of the Old Glasgow Club on Thursday 12th January 2012.

Glasgow Story Website has a great poster of the Five Past Eight Show


Mary Waugh’s first job working as a telephonist in Glasgow

An example of a telephone exchange from the 1950s

An example of a telephone exchange from the 1950s

Mary started work at the age of 14 in 1964. Her school had got her job for her. She doesn’t remember being asked what she wanted to do but she feels she could have chosen something else if she had wanted to. The Switchboard at Johnson Brothers in Glasgow was an old-fashioned one with sockets to plug cables into (see picture on the right). She was able to run up to four lines at a time. She worked there until 1969 when her daughter was born. Mary took a few years off and then went back to work as her daughter started nursery school. She was able to get a 9.00 a.m-1 p.m. shift which worked well with her family.

Corporation Public Baths Parkhead Glasgow-source- Geograph This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Corporation Public Baths Parkhead Glasgow-source- Geograph

The early years of her life had been spent in a tenement building in the Dennistoun area (Plant St) of Glasgow.  The family had two rooms. A kitchen and a living area. Both rooms had a bed recess with a double bed. Her parents slept in the one of the double bed sized recess and she slept in the other room. One toilet was shared by 3 flats and the building was very clean and tidy. Every week Mary went down to the Parkhead public baths with her parents so they could each have a bath. Each individual cubicle had its own bath in it. 

This memory was contributed by Mary Waugh from Keith

Additional Information

Parkhead History website

Working as a librarian by Myra Murray

Myra started working as a librarian for Elder Park Library in Glasgow when she left school

John Elder  © Copyright Leslie Barrie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

John Elder © Copyright Leslie Barrie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

at the age of 18. She chose that job because she enjoyed books and reading. She took librarian exams at the College of Commerce in Glasgow. She completed the training on a part-time day-release course.

The library was located on the corner of Elder Park and gifted to the town by Lord and Lady Elder. She earned £4 a week paid monthly. The library was arranged using the Dewey system. There were large hardwood shelves and a library for the blind containing Braille books. There was also a large reference section. The little museum attached to the library displayed items such as the last birch used as a public punishment. 

Templeton's Carpet Factory
Templeton’s Carpet Factory © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

She remembers the streets in Glasgow were named after places in the West Indies because of the links with sugar and the Tate and Lyle Sugar Company. One of the most interesting buildings in Glasgow was the Templeton Carpet Factory, which was built to match the Doge Palace in Venice.

Later on she joined the Civil Service as a temporary Clerical assistant working for te Ministry of Works completing order forms and filing them. She left the Civil Service in 1966.

Memory contributed by Myra Murray at the 2013 Maggie Fair, Garmouth

Additional information

Background behind the Dewey System. Slideshows showing the history of the system and how it works.

Ruby Borthwick’s first job at a Rubber Stamp Company

Ruby went to work for David Fleming at Hope Street in Glasgow in 1940. She liked working there. Later in life she went to Northern Rhodesia with her late husband, who worked in the copper mines. When she was young she lived in a tenement on London Road.

Memory contributed by Ruby Borthwick from Aberlour

Additional Information
More information about David Fleming Rubber Stamp Manufacturers- advert

Chorister at Holy Trinity, Elgin by Grenville Johnston

Grenville and his twin sister

Grenville with his twin sister

Grenville’s first job was as a chorister at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Elgin when he was around the 6-7 years old (1951). He was paid as a choir member for weddings, earning 2 /- per wedding. In those days the choir filled both sides of the pew. His father had been a founding member of Johnston and Carmichael Accountancy firm and the family lived in Nairn. They moved to Maine Road, Elgin when Greville was very small.. The location is important in the next part of his working life as it was close to Bilbohall farm where Greville was sent tattie picking each summer from the age of 9-10. Greville’s father believed that idle hands needed to be kept out of trouble especially those of young boys on holiday. Another summer job was working with his friend, Graeme Riddoch (a fellow chorister) on the Rothiemay Estate killing vermin (crows, rats, mice and foxes) using a .22 rifle. Graeme was related to the Riddochs of Rothiemay. During the Christmas holidays Greville was found another holiday job with Gordon and McPhail in their cellars. The Christmas Trading Period was extremely busy for the firm and they took on extra staff to help. It was all hands on deck. Greville and his friend, Ian Urquhart were sent to work in the cellars, which run under the shop. When an order came in e.g. Martell Brandy the boys would know where everything was so they found the appropriate bottles quickly taking them to a central place where a cardboard carton were kept to gather the total order. The order was taken up the steps by the men though Greville remembers he never dropped a bottle in all the time he worked for Gordon and McPhail. He can also clearly remember how to make up the cardboard cartons. Easter holidays involved exam revision and so it was that Greville and his friends were kept gainfully employed until they left school.

Grenville left at the age of 17 1/2 to commence training as a chartered accountant. This began in 1963 as an apprentice General Accountant (GA) at Scott Moncrieff Thompson and Sheilds. He stayed until 1968 when he qualified as a chartered accountant. During this period he lived in digs in Edinburgh. Initially he was in “ghastly digs” but he soon moved to stay with Miss Dolly Mulholland of 5 Coltbridge Avenue. The Terraced house was situated in a little cul-de-sac near the Football stadium and Edinburgh Zoo. Dolly was a very good landlady. Grenville was fed well and she knew that there were two concerned parents at home. Soon after he moved there his parents came down to see him. It was obvious to them and to Grenville that Dolly really cared. Though unmarried she described her time during the Second World War as having a sailor in every port. She owned the house of which she was the landlady.

Each night as he came home from the office he had supper and then went up to his room to work for a couple of hours returning downstairs for a cup of tea and a bun then bed. There was no curfew as each of the tenants had a key to the front door. Although Grenville committed himself to work hard and pass his exams he was able to find time to enjoy himself e.g.playing hockey.

Having qualified as a chartered accountant in 1968 his father expected him to return home to Elgin to join the family business of WD Johnston & Carmichael. This he did not do choosing instead to move to Glasgow and the firm of Thomson McKlintock & Co. He remained there for two years from 1968-1970.  He did eventually move north in 1970 when WD Johnston and Carmichael had several branches in Alford, Banff, Elgin, Nairn, Maud, Keith and Turiff. In the 1970s the firm moved from the Union Buildings at 81 High Street to new offices on the upper floor of 164 High Street, opposite the playhouse. He continued to work in the family business as a partner, senior partner and consultant until 2005. This was the same year he was appointed Lord Lieutenent of Moray.

Memory contributed by Grenville Johnston from Elgin

Additional Information

Brief background information about Greville’s military career in the Terrotorial army

Lord Lieutenant of Moray  – a role Greville has held since 2005. It is an honorary position representing the Queen at a variety of local events and attending her when she does visit the county as she did in 2012. Delivering whisky to the Queen in her Jubilee year.

Other posts include Chairman of Caledonian Marine Assets Ltd

Ian Urquhart– is part of the Urquhart family which has been involved with Gordon and MacPhail from its early days. He retired in 2007.

Urquhart Dance at the Assembly Rooms

Urquhart Dance at the Assembly Rooms reproduced with kind permission of Greville

© Greville Johnston

Memories of Elgin
Greville grew up in Elgin during the 1950s and 60s. He remembers many of the  businesses which were a feature of a busy High Street and South Street area.
-The Palace Garage on South Street with its Rolls Royces.
Austins Tearooms were opposite the Picture House Bingo, also on South Street. The distinctive stained glass windows can still be seen on the corner of the building. The building is still in use for the Elgin Bridge Club with interior shots of the building on their website. 
– The Creamery at the junction of Thunderton Place and South Street. It eventually became the Tesco site with the multi-storey car park next to it on South Street.
Assembly Room Dances. It had a wooden sprung floor and was purpose-built for dancing. The Assembly Rooms were unfortunately demolished in 1987.
Elgin Drill Hall  Greville remembers being taken to the top room at the age of 5 or 6. His father, William Dewar Johnston was in the Territorial Army as was Grenville later in life.
– Moray and Nairn Courant Newspaper was run from a printing press on South Street by the Grant Family.
– The tenements of Harrow Inn Close were very scruffy. They were renovated in the 1970s.
– Smiths warehouse was a fabulous toy shop. George Alexander Smith became the Provost of Elgin (1964-1970).

Ruby’s work for a shoe manufacturer in Glasgow

Ruby was brought up in the East End of Glasgow in a nice house. It had an entrance and two rooms. One room was the kitchen and there was a box bed in the wall with a curtain. Her parents slept in there. She learnt to type and had shorthand lesson to help here find a job. She got an office job in 1940 when she was 14, where she was able to use her newly learnt skills.

Memory contributed by Ruby, Aberlour

Additional Information

Glasgow tenement recess beds information from the Glasgow Story website.
National Trust have a tenement house to visit in Glasgow

Working as a doctor in Glasgow by David Cameron

David’s family lived in Blantyre which is about 10 miles from Glasgow. It was holiday work.
His father was a Senior Officer in the Health Department and his mother was a well-qualified nurse. His mother had trained from 1915-1916 in Newcastle. When she got married she had to give up work. Later on she was called up in 1939 at the outbreak of WW2 to care for wounded soldiers. His mother continued to work after the work ended. His father ran the Senior Ambulance Service and was present at the Clydebank Blitz.

During the war years when David was 9/10 he would travel around picking up salvage, particularly Aluminium. He found it lying in the street. He didn’t get paid. It was just a good deed. David’s first job was holiday work working in Blantyre during a week-long traffic survey. David qualified as a doctor from Glasgow University in 1955. His second job was as a Junior Medical Officer at Stobhill hospital on 1st August 1955. He became a pediatric specialist at Northampton General Hospital. He took a medical diploma in public health (DPH). In 1974 he came to work in Moray as the District Medical Officer. His work included infectious diseases, public health and looked after radiography organising their work.

Bellie Church in Fochabers © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.In retirement David continues to be active in his community. 
He is Clerk to the Parish Church Board dealing with the management of the Bellie Church. This includes the pastoral and the secular work (housekeeping, building, money and cleaners).
He is on the Local Community Council, the Development Association for Fochabers and finally the Village Association which organises the yearly gala.

Additional Information

Clydebank Blitz.

Link to the Education Scotland website with information about the Clydesdale Blitz in 1941On the nights of 13 and 14 March 1941, German bombers attacked the munitions factories and shipyards of Clydeside. Education Scotland have more information on their website (see left).

Covesea Dairy Shop Assistant by Mary More

Mary worked at the Covesea Dairy from 1949. She was 16 at the time. Covesea Farm dairy was based at Queen Street in Lossiemouth. It sold milk in glass bottles, eggs and vegetables. She scrubbed the concrete floor with a pail, water, a scrubbing brush and a bar of hard soap- Fairy Soap. She did this in between serving customers even on a Sunday (though most people went to church).  She worked Monday to Saturday and every second Sunday morning 9.00 a.m.-1 p.m. At the dairy there were office girls who also worked on a Sunday.

Scotch pancake and Scottish crumpet: Photograph taken 6 February 2006 by User:Dave souza. Any re-use to contain this licence notice and to attribute the work to User:Dave souza at Wikipedia.From Monday to Saturday her first job was to make pancakes on a large griddle. She made the recipe with pints of milk, eggs, self-raising flour. The special ingredients was danish fat. Monday morning- The Ladies Guild came in for a smaller size of pancakes which they picked up on Monday morning. They were ordered at the weekend. Local customers bought pancakes. Made a couple of batches for a couple of hours each morning. Bread came from Austin the bakers under a glass case. Everybody brought their own basket or bag. In the late 40s and early 50s eggs were rationed. Nearly had a job at the Egg Packing plant in Elgin but got the dairy job.

Horse and carts did three rounds delivering the milk around the town. They collected the money from the customers. Other people came in to pay as “shop customers”. They also sold vegetables, potatoes (tatties), carrots, turnips (neeps) and cauliflowers. Fruit was sold in season. Had an orchard @ Covesea. Crab apples were in demand for crab apple jelly. There were blackberries in Findrassie. Lots of people came from Glasgow to Hopeman. They were called Broons if they came from Glasgow. Lots of tourists had holiday homes in Lossiemouth including the Wills Tobacco Family. Some people took in summer visitors.

She changed her accent for the English. There was a navy base in HMS Fulmar (now RAF Lossiemouth).

Spynie Hospital
Her sister got scarlet fever in 1939 at the age of 4. She went to stay at Spynie Hospital. The house was sprayed including the living and the bedroom. You couldn’t see her except to bring her to the window and you could wave at each other. The doctor’s visits cost a guinea but the hosptial was free. Their doctor was Dr Brander. Her sister remembers eating rice pudding.

Memory contributed by Mary More at the Duffus Fair 2012

Additional Information

Marion Ingram has written about the origins of the Hopeman Gala and the role of the Broons its creation. Read her memory here.

Wool Spinning on a mule in Glasgow in 1940s by Rachel Brown

Rachel started her working life in 1948 at Templeton’s Carpet Factory at Bridgeton (district on the east side of Glasgow City Centre).  The factory provided the best paid work for girls at this time. The carpets were made of wool.  (Nylon carpets only began in 1947). The wool came in as a fleece and was put into a machine.

Mule-jenny. This example is the only one in existence made by the inventor Samuel Crompton.
This example is the only one in existence made by the inventor Samuel Crompton.

It was teased by hand and then put through the machine to be put onto bobbins. Next it was put in the mules. The bobbin was put on top and it was then spun through the machine. Had to walk with the machine which ran the length of the room. Other people twisted the wool into plys (2-ply and 3 ply). The wool was a natural creamy colour.  It went into bundles to go out to the manufacturers who made carpets such as those in Bridgeton at Glasgow Green Park. Her cousin worked on the weaving side.

Glasgow tenement life
She was born in 1934. Her family lived at Crail Street in the Parkhead area of Glasgow. It was a back end with a single room. During the war years eight people lived in a single room. As you entered the back end there was a small lobby and then the door into the room. A mattress was behind the lobby door and this could go down a night in the lobby as a bed. There was a built-in bed. Her Mammy slept on a bed which hidden in a wooden cabinet. It then lifted down to make a double bed. There were no beds laid down during the day so the family had more floor space. The fire had a grate and an oven.  There was grey cooker with two rings above it to cook on and a pottery white sink. Her Dad was a hawker as a boy with a horse and cart collecting rags. During the war he was called up.

Memory contributed by Rachel Brown from Elgin

Additional Information

Link to more information about Glasgow tenement stories >>>
A very detailed account of street traders, hawkers and buskers– actually for model making but interesting nonetheless. Hawker = have a horse and cart  Peddler= no horse and cart

Spinning Mule
Origin of mule spinning  390px-Samuel_Crompton This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

“About 1779, Samuel Crompton succeeded in producing a machine which spun yarn suitable for use in the manufacture of muslin, and which was known as the muslin wheel or the Hall i’ th’ Wood (pronounced Hall-ith-wood) wheel”

Hall ith wood home of Samuel Crompton inventor of the spinning muleHere is a link to a website with photographs of his house Hall i’th’ Wood. 

James Templeton & Co more informationJamesTempleton  & Co. Factory Carpet Designs

The Glasgow based carpet manufacturing company James Templeton and Co, had been producing carpeting from their factory at Bridgeton since 1839. By the 1851 Great Exhibition held in London, the company was barely a decade old. However, the company no doubt saw the Exhibition as an ideal opportunity to both publicise their output on a larger stage and to procure orders, hopefully on an international scale.”

James Templeton & Co. advert

James Templeton advert on the website Glasgow story

Here is an advert for James Templeton on the website Glasgow Story. “The advert shows the glorious carpet factory designed in the Italian Gothic style by William Leiper.”

Glasgow’s Parkhead area.history.

Gilmour Bakers on Govan Hill by Margaret McLean

Margaret’s Father owned the bakery business on Niddrid Road on Govan Hill. She started work at 3 a.m. and worked until breakfast time (7 a.m.). Then she went to school. She made rolls and cakes. After school she went to work for Jeffreys Chemist until 6 p.m. that night. She didn’t get paid for working for her parents as the money was needed to support the family. She also handed over all her chemist shop wages as well. On Sundays she went to an Open Air Service at 10 a.m. There was then an indoor service at 11 until 12. Lunch was next. Sunday School was from 1/4 to 2 until a praise meeting at 3 p.m. Then home at 4 p.m. Local Parents didn’t attend the afternoon church activities which kept their children well occupied and gave them a break. Margaret’s father was a self-educated man and had a broad knowledge of many subjects. Anyone could pick a subject and he would then talk about it. His own schooling had been curtailed by the early death of his Father and he had to leave school to enter the workforce. The libraries were very important to working people who could not afford an extensive library and he made good use of them.

Margaret left school at 15 and went to work for Boots the Chemist. Her family needed the money. She became a beauty consultant for Helena Rubenstein and got a percentage of the sales. She decided to become a nurse and trained at Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow in general nursing. She also worked for the homeless.

Memory contributed by Margaret McLean from Elgin

Tenement Upbringing

Mitchell Street, Glasgow

Mitchell Street, Glasgow

Margaret was raised in a Glasgow tenement at 3 Mitchell Street. It had a room and a kitchen. She was born in a “hole in the wall” bed where her parents slept. Margaret slept with her sister in the bedroom. Her Father made a cabinet bed which was a wooden frame on the wall and the bed folded up into it. She was born in 1944. Her Father was posted in Germany as a baker and cook for period of WW2. When she was one she caught scarlet fever. She so sick that her Father was brought home as it was thought she wouldn’t survive.

Memory contributed by Margaret McLean from Elgin