Carrol Stewart’s first job as a nurse

Carrol Stewart’s first job was as a nurse in the Navy Army hospital in Wembley, London.   She started work at 17 in 1939 because she wanted to travel.  She earned £1.00 a week which she got to keep.

Her working day at the hospital started at 6:30 and she had one hour off a day and one day off a week.  She had lunch at 12:00.  Her working day ended at 8:00 p.m. unless she was on night duty.  Carrol enjoyed her job very much because she liked helping out.  She thought the working day was very different from today because it was very different hours with less pay.  She stayed at her job 10 years before her marriage.

In her spare time she cycled, climbed Ben Rinnis and sometimes went to the cinema if she could afford it. She used to teach 3 children in Zimbarab Redins (Zimbabwe)

This memory was submitted using the online form by Merlin, Lorna and Annemiek from Craigellachie Primary School, Morayshire. The children interviewed Carrol Stewart at Craigellachie Village Hall.


Jessie Robertson’s life as a farmworker in Alvah

“I had no secondary school education and had to obtain special permission from the local education authority to leave school early to look after my mother who had TB, and to work on the farm.  The farm was in Alvah near Banff.  I was 13 and the year was 1945.  I had one day off a week which was mart day at Tulloch, and I would go there with my father.  I was paid 2/6d every Friday.  My day started at 5.30am hand milking the cows and I would then go in for breakfast which we cooked over an open fire, and then out to feed the sheep and the cattle, then I would come back in and help to look after my mother.  Sometimes she was well enough to get up.  I also had to help look after my twin sisters and brother.  I had to help with the harvest, taking in the turnips, tattie picking, hay making, all done by hand.  We had 2 horses which we used for ploughing.  Basically, I worked all day until I went to bed, and then up again at 5.30am (I still get up at 5.30am)!  My mother died when I was 19 and I continued to work on the farm until I was 25, when I started my nurse training, and continued working as a nurse until I was 72.

We had no other help except at harvest and haymaking time, when all the farms helped each other, but we had lots of fun.  I remember a radio being delivered and thought it was absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed going out to Linhead Hall for dances when I could get away.”

Jessie Robertson was interviewed in Elgin by Heather Heppenstall, a WRVS volunteer

Additional information

Hike over bridge of AlvahDuffhouse and the bridge of Alvah walk.

This circuit from the magnificent Duff House – now a museum and part of the National Gallery of Scotland – takes in part of the former estate. The focal point is the 17th century Bridge of Alvah, towering high over the impressive gorge of the River Deveron.

Horse Ploughing
Click here to see a Horse ploughing film on Scottish Screen onlineWatch a 1955 film of horse ploughing 

The film shows everyday life and work of a Scottish ploughman, shot at Smeaton Farm, Dalkeith.
It was made in 1955 and lasts 11 minutes.

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

Nursing Auxiliary in Aberchirder

Rose Innes  Hospital link to the Foggie Gossip news with information about AberchirderMy first job after leaving school was as a Nursing Auxiliary.  I was 15 years old and the year was 1950.  I had always wanted to be a nurse but was too young to start my training, so worked in the Rose Innes Home in Aberchirder.  I can’t remember how much I earned but as I lived in I kept all of my earnings.  I had one day off a week and went home to the farm.  I had 2 weeks holiday per year.  The work was very hard looking after very ill people.  Some were physically ill, some were mentally ill.  It was very different from today’s nursing as most of the patients were in bed. They didn’t have a nice sitting room. There were no hoists or equipment to help lift the patients, no such thing as Health and Safety!  I enjoyed the work very much and it certainly didn’t put me off starting my training, which I did in Psychiatry at Bilbohall and then my general training at Dr Gray’s.  I continued working in psychiatry as a Nursing Officer until 1991.

Additional Information
Rose Innes Home Reunion- photograph of the reunion in 2006 and some information on the closure.

Picture of patients at Rose Innes Home in Aberchirder before it closed as a hospital in 1957 and became a home for the elderly. Another picture of Rose Innes Cottage Hospital, A picture of the Hospital Staff.

submitted by WRVS volunteer Heather Heppenstall

Working as a community staff nurse in Forres by Helen Main

Leanchoil Hospital in Forres, Leanchoil is the cottage hospital serving the town of Forres. It mainly offers respite and palliative care and convalescence. It was designed in 1889 by John Rhind, who died before it was built, and the design was taken over and progressed by Henry Saxon Snell and Son. It was completed and opened in 1892. Helen started training as a nurse at Leanchoil Hospital in Forres in 1964. She did her training before she got married. As a child her Father had the freehold of a pub in Burghead and she worked there rolling out the barrels and cleaning from the age of 10 years old.
Once she had qualified she was paid £25 a month live out or £15 live in rate. She took nine years out to have children and returned in 1976. There was no retraining, just straight back in as an SEN. She did a conversion course about 12 years ago changing from an SEN to an SRN and working as a community nurse with her own car. There was an allowance for petrol  and she wrote down the mileage to claim it back. 

Capercaillie This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.One of her most frightening experience was when she went to see a patient near Burghead. Driving along the front windscreen suddenly went dark when something landed on the screen. It looked like a prehistoric monster. The patient she was seeing was a gamekeeper and he told her there was a nest of Capercaillie nearby.

Memory contributed by Helen Main

Training as a student nurse by Moira Windwick

Moira was going to join the Wrens as a nurse but she had to wait 1 1/2 years before she could start training. She did her nursing training at Forrester Hill Hospital in Aberdeen. She completed two of the three years and then left to get married. She completed her training later when she was a single parent with two children. Her first job was at Bishopmill House as a care worker and then Assistant Manager. She gained a social work qualification. At Hallerman House (now converted into flats), Lossiemouth she was the manager. At Bishopmill House there were several shifts. 1 p.m.- 10 p.m.and then sleepover, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.  As Assistant manager she organised the shifts, record keeping, supported staff and supervised the medication. On a sleepover her Father looked after her children.

At the age of 50 she took early retirement from the council but got bored at home. The Mace store was next door so she went to work there for three years and really enjoyed that.

Before she went into nursing she enjoyed going to the Red Shoes Ballroom and listening to the Alex Sutherland Band.

Early memory
Home-made Clothes pegs from Artefacts at Elgin MuseumFrom the early 1950s Moira remembers a lady selling pegs. She wore a white apron and sold her hand-made pegs at certain houses in Lhanbryde (where Moira lived then). They were hand-made dolly pegs. Her mother would invite the old lady in for a cup of tea and the lady drank her tea from the saucer. Moira was told not to laugh at her.

Memory contributed by Moira Windwick

Additional Information

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

The Two Red Shoes ballroom and its place in History (1963) when the Beatles performed there.