Iona Kielhorn’s first job as a P.E. Teacher in Reading

James Ramsey MacDonald in his PM's office

Iona’s Grandfather, James Ramsey MacDonald in his PM’s office

Iona chose to become a P.E. teacher as she was good at sport. Iona enjoyed her teacher training course at Dartford P.E. College. It was a three-year course. The course included Tennis, Athletics, Hockey, Netball, Rounders and Swimming. There were also courses in Physiology, Physiotherapy and Anatomy. The course counted 1 1/2 years towards a medical degree at London medical School.

Iona with one of her Great grandmother Annie Ramsay's dresses.
Iona with one of her Great grandmother Annie Ramsay’s dresses.

After Iona began working as a P.E.teacher she still participated in sporting activities herself. She was a member of the Anglo-Scots Club, which was based in London. The club was developed for Scots who lived in England. Iona competed at an Anglo-Scots Event where she became Scottish Discus Champion. Her next school post was at a mixed school, Cedar Grammar School in Leighton Buzzard. She met her husband when he was an exchange student in the UK travelling from North Germany. He was attending Wurzberg University. They married and Iona moved to Germany, where she settled for the next forty years. They had two sons.

Pathe news Joan MacDonald wedding

Pathe news reel footage of Joan MacDonald and Alistair MacKinnon’s wedding in 1932

Both of Iona’s parents were doctors. Her Father, Alistair MacKinnon was born in South Africa. Her mother was Dr. Joan MacDonald. Her grandmother was Margaret Gladstone MacDonald and her grandfather was James Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister.

James Ramsay MacDonald was born in Lossiemouth, Moray. He had wanted to a teacher of Science.

Ramsay MacDonald on a Gordonstoun School boat

Ramsay MacDonald on a Gordonstoun School boat in the mid 1930s

He wrote poetry when he was as young as sixteen. Having held the post of Student Teacher at Drainie Primary School for a number of years he moved to Bristol and worked on his Science degree.  James helped his friend Kurt Hahn, former Headmaster of Salem School in Germany, to leave imprisonment in 1932. The letter James wrote is still on display at the school he founded, Gordonstoun in Moray. He also founded the Outward Bound Association, United World Colleges and Duke of Ediinburgh Award Scheme.

Memory contributed by Iona Keilhorn from Lossiemouth

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Additional information

Ramsey MacDonald Heritage trail brochureRamsay MacDonald Heritage Trail
There is a colourful brochure which accompanies an informative walk through the streets of Lossiemouth, his home town and beyond.

Picture library about Ramsey MacDonald

Picture library about Ramsey MacDonald. There are number of pages on this website which relate to the story of Ramsey MacDonald and his links to Lossiemouth.

Moray Connections- James Ramsay MacDonald

Ramsey MacDonald’s Family plot is in Spynie Churchyard

Here is some information which Iona wrote about her Grandfather and one of her Aunts.
Picture set 1
Mountain named after his daughter
Vancouver’s Tribute to Burns in which Ramsay MacDonald gave the Immortal Memory.

Spartacus International Ramsey MacDonald bookAn online article about Ramsey MacDonald including numerous orignal letters and links to the original sources.

Historic Visit to the US in 1929
As Prime Minister he made a historic visit to the United States in 1929. He was the first British Prime Minister to address the U.S. House of Representatives on October 7th 1929. He received a souvenir medal to commemorate the Historic visit.

The Straits Times, 15 October 1929, Page 12- US newspaper cutting

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Pathé News

Pathé News recently uploaded many of their films onto the internet. They include several showing Ramsay MacDonald and often his daughter Joan.

“Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection  85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.”

Ramsey MacDonald as prime minister and politician. Working in his study as PM.

Pathe news Ramsay MacDonald at work as PM

Pathe news Ramsay MacDonald at work as PM

Pathe news reel Chequers 1924

Pathe news reel showing Joan and her Father, James at Chequers 1924

Pathe news reel Ramsay Macdonald plane ride

Pathe news reel showing Ramsay Macdonald alighting from a plane ride


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.

Ina Murray’s work as a cleaner at the Steamboat Hotel in Lossiemouth

Steamboat Inn geograph © Copyright Ken Fitlike and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.Ina started work as a cleaner at the Steamboat Hotel in Lossiemouth in 1935 at the age of 14. Most of the hotel’s customers were Seine Net Fishermen. 

Later she worked at the Pneumonia ward at Spynie Hospital. Once she saved a woman’s life. The young woman was expecting a baby and she had pneumonia. She was in a cubicle by herself and Ina spoke to her every day as she cleaned around her room. The sick woman could not reply but Ina spoke to her anyway and told her she would come the next day. The patient’s eyes were open a little. The young woman told her later that Ina’s talking to her saved her life.

Memory contributed by Ina Murray, Elgin

Doreen Hopkins’ job as a chemist shop assistant

Lossiemouth from Prospect Terrace © Copyright Ann Harrison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.755422_a9495179 Lossiemouthgeograph

Lossiemouth from Prospect Terrace

Doreen did a variety of jobs at the chemist including cleaning the shop, serving the public, handling prescriptions and giving them to the chemist. She also decorated the windows and kept the shelves stocked. She started work there in 1955 and worked there for 4 years. During the summer the chemist was very busy selling sun lotion to holidaymakers from Glasgow. The trains to Lossiemouth were busy with people coming to Lossiemouth on holiday.

Memory contributed by Doreen Hopkins, Lossiemouth

Working for Moray the Bakers in the early 50s by Janet Smith

Janet started working at Moray the Bakers as she was asked to help out and stayed on for 22 years! She started work at 6 a.m. to meet the bread and then went home for breakfast. At 10 a.m. she went back and just got on with the work of the day. Her day finished at 6 p.m. She remembers one day in January 1968 when the Gales were really bad.

“Coming home from school on very snowy days and my mother had a big plate of Tattie Soup waiting for me and my brothers. We were very hungry and it was lovely and filling and warmed me up.”

She enjoyed her work earning £2.50 a week with a day off on Wednesday. She was given a week off in winter and two weeks off in the summer.

Memory contributed by Janet Smith, Lossiemouth

Rhona Hamilton ‘s work in a Fruit and Bakers shop

Rhona worked for a Fruit and Baking Shop on Queen Street. She was assigned different jobs every day. She worked until 7 p.m. every day and had one half day off a week. She took the job because it was the only one available at the time. There was little mention of hygeine and no training she can remember.

Memory contributed by Rhona Hamilton, Lossiemouth

Working a drapers shop in Lossiemouth by May Farquhar

May was a junior assistant. Her job included cutting faceclothes out of terry nappies and sweeping and brushing the floors.  Her boss was very strict and she struggled to understand him sometimes. She got Sundays off and worked a half day on Wednesdays. She was earning 9 /-  week in 1944 when she was 14. May did enjoy working there.

Memory contributed by May Farquhar

Elizabeth Grant’s work as a Warburtons Bakery assistant

Elizabeth started work as a bakery assistant in Yorkshire. She was 15 years old and it was 1947. She was waiting until she was old enough to start a nursing course. Her work involved making pastry pie cases, cake decorating, transporting food to the shop, keeping the shop stocked up and cleaning it. The kitchen was downstairs and the bakery was upstairs. Most days went well except for the day Elizabeth fell upstairs with a tray of jam tarts. There was a lot more cleaning to do that day.The bakery was upstairs and the kitchen was downstairs.

Memory contributed Anna Walker from Lossiemouth High School.
Elizabeth Grant was interviewed at Lossiemouth Darby and Joan Club