NEWSLETTER No 23 APRIL 1998
For our Society, the last few weeks have been a heartening illustration of the saying "many hands make light work". For example, eight members made direct presentations in our winter lecture series including a fine show of video footage shot over the years in Dunning, a memorable evening about "houses with stories to tell" featuring well-researched talks by four members and another solid video and slides evening put on by three more members. Contributing to the success were the unsung backstage people who provided technical help, refreshments, publicity, dishwashing, posters, etc. plus the people who helped create the videos. And working away in the background were committee and other members planning coming events, handling correspondence, planning our history database and so forth. This newsletter is another example of willing hands. Not only have several people cooperated to produce what you're reading (photocopying, addressing, stapling, mailing, delivering) but as with each issue a little miracle occurred. As soon as the last issue was out, members came forward to contribute new drawings, history clippings, information. Thank you everyone for lending those willing hands. Your continued help is what makes the Society such a lively organisation!
At long last, we can report the Society has its own official office! It's located in the old schoolhouse up the hill (past the Shetland ponies) at the start of the Dragon (Newton of Pitcairns), and is being leased from the Dunning Community Association. The Society's committee held their March 16 meeting there, and report that although the office remains to be completed, there's a new carpet and the furniture is starting to be put in place. In the next newsletter, we hope to report our new official address to you (we've been operating up until now out of several private homes), and to tell you what sort of facilities will be available in the new office. It's small, snug and our own!
Simon Warren heads the Society's Website subcommittee, which has been working on the dual task of establishing a presence for the Society on the Internet and setting up an electronic archives for digital storage of the historic material we are collecting: donated photographs old and new, graveyard inscriptions, documents, books, deeds etc. Two scanners to record photographs have been purchased and Simon reports that the initial Web pages have now been completed. He along with fellow members Felicity Martin, Ted Dorsett, Tom Barnard, Liz Fletcher, Colin Young, Ian Philip and Lorne Wallace will report on the subcommittee's work at the agm on May 24.
THANKS, AND WELCOME!
Since the Society began, we've kindly been given family history material and the loan or gift of cherished old photos, artefacts and other historic material about Dunning. Recently, for example, we received genealogical data about the Dougals, Balquhandy, from Jeanette Greenwell of New South Wales, Australia, and family history details from Mr. John Wallace of Belper, Derbyshire. Mr. Wallace also kindly loaned us two photos (one of them over a hundred years old) of his family posed in front of Dunning houses. With our new scanners, these photos have now been stored for our digital archives. Thanks to these people and many others for their kind donation or loan of historic Dunning material. And welcome to Mr. Wallace and the several other people who have joined us in 1998 as members.
AGAIN THANKS TO HENRY HOEY FOR HIS NEW SKETCHES THIS ISSUE, AND TO ALBIE SINCLAIR FOR HIS DRAWING
HOUSES WITH STORIES TO TELL: OSWALD VILLA
by Mrs. Margaret (Peggy) Smith
This was a talk given to the DPHS on February 19/98, part of an informative and entertaining evening on members' research into the history of their own houses.
When I am asked for directions to Oswald Villa I always say it is the house beside the golf course with the white bit sticking out. It was originally a typical Georgian villa of two storeys, looking much as Craigielea next door does today. There would be 4 windows of 8 panes.
I can not tell you exactly when it was built as the original title deeds had been lost in a fire, I don't know when or how. It was in a sorry state when I bought it and quite a few tried to dissuade me from having anything to do with it, but George Dougall, the builder who lived next door, assured me it had a good roof and I thought that was a great thing. There have been a few problems in the 31 years I have lived in it, but George was right about the roof. My daughter and I took a liking to it, though a great deal of work needed to be done. There was no hot water and no bathroom.
An old shed and garage at the back had to be taken down. When I came one day, the workmen who had been demolishing the outbuildings said they had found a stone with the date 1752 on it. When I asked to see it I was told it had been taken to the coup. I didn't really believe the house was built as early as that, but it may have been part of old cottages that were later taken down.
Ken Laing, who has studied the building that was done in the village, dates it from the end of the 18th century. He also quoted to me a clause which would be in the original title deeds, forbidding the erection of a tanwork, butchers' shambles (slaughter house, butcher stalls), candleworks, heckling houses (places for dressing flax) and other noxious or dangerous works, and no dunghills were to be on the front street. The more modern deeds express it more simply but less interestingly: "The Feuar shall not use any of the buildings erected or to be erected on the feu for the purpose of any trade or occupation which may cause a nuisance or danger or injure the amenity of the district without the Superior's prior consent."
The feu duty of 4 shillings and tuppence was payable at Martinmas and for the first two or three years of my occupancy it was collected by the late Stewart Henderson, Lord Rollo's factor.
The house is not as big as it looks from the outside. There are just two rooms on each floor, so only four rooms in the house originally, quite large rooms. Just as well, considering the number of people living in the house at times.
By referring to the censuses from 1841-91 I have found out something of the history and residents of Oswald Villa.
1841. Station Road was called High Street. It was obviously a weaver's cottage. There were only 3 residents on census day: John Guild, 85, John Guild, 45 and a handloom weaver, and Janet Guild.
1851. The house is called 4 Muckhart Road. John Guild is listed as 65, (he had aged 20 years since 1841), and his sister Janet is 45. Also living there were 4 lodgers (a weaver, a baker and two agricultural labourers), and another family, John and Margaret Smith and their 3 children. A total of 11 people in the house.
1861. The house now has no number but is on Dalreoch Road. John Guild is now listed as a cotton weaver. He is now aged 70, and his sister Janet 50: they have added only five years in the last decade. Another family called the Wilsons live in the house with their infant son plus Francis Livingston, a brother-in-law, who was born in St. Petersburg, a British subject.
1871. It is now 4 Dalreoch Road and has 4 windows. John Guild is no longer listed but Janet Guild is now 71, having gained 21 years since the last census, and other parts of the house are occupied by a family of four called the Browns and the Wintons, a family of three.
1881 The house is now on Station Road. A widow called Catherine Clark, a dairykeeper, is now head of the house, 2 unmarried daughters, 1 granddaughter and 6 grandsons. The Clark family were to own the house for some eighty years.
1891 Still in Station Road, still no number. Catherine Clark has put on 12 years, and four descendants and one lodger live with her.
Now, I believe the eldest grandson, Adam Clark, inherited the house but he didn't live in it. He moved to west Scotland and his brother Alex lived in it. It was, I think, a distant relative, George Clark, from whom I bought it. He worked in Glasgow, and had only lived in it during the latter part of his life.
I know the top floor was put on in 1898, because it says so on the wall. It was plastered by Mailer of Auchterarder and papered by Mrs. Clark. Jimmy Smitton, an elderly man who lived in the village and whom some will remember, told me he recalled it being added when he was a boy of 13, and that tallies.
I don't know if the jutting out bit was added at the same time or not. Its purpose was to provide a toilet and washbasin and I don't know if people in rural areas were doing that sort of thing as early as 1891. It was more likely to have been added in the 1930's. It is just part of the landing now. I was able to use a small room off one of the bedrooms and a strip off the bedroom to make a corridor to a decent-sized bathroom.
So it was first a weaver's cottage then a dairy. The byre was what is now the shed where the tractor for the golf course is kept. There was a little wood there at the time, but it was fenced off and the cows grazed around it.
A friend, Mrs. Robb, who was a McLellan and whose family also had a dairy, in Circus Street opposite, remembers Mrs. Clark as Kitty Clark. I had always assumed that when the McLellans brought their cows (they had 8) across the road, they would come in by what is now the entrance to the park, but there was no entry there then and they came through the alley between Craigielea and Oswald Villa.
How Oswald Villa got its name is a mystery, though it has been suggested that Oswald was the maiden name of Mrs. Clark, and there were Oswalds in the village. When I bought the house it was just after Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested for the murder of John F. Kennedy and my mother thought it shouldn't have such an ignominious name and I should change it. However, I've always thought of Mr. Oswald as a benevolent old gentleman. and I couldn't think of anything else anyway.
Now, weaving and dairykeeping weren't the only trades carried on in Oswald Villa. In the 1930's, before the last war, fish and chips were cooked there and ice cream was also sold. I was told they were sold upstairs, but that was denied by somebody else. I could really believe anything though.
When I first went into the sitting-room, what struck me was the number of wires going from the light to the TV, reading lamp and other appliances. I thought, no wonder the deeds were burned. The light is not in the centre of the room nor is the fireplace, because there had obviously been a box bed taking up about 1/4 of the space and you can still see where the partition was.
The house is excluded from the conservation area 1. because of the jutting out bit and 2. because I was made to enlarge the kitchen window in proportion to the size of the room and I did the same with the sitting room to balance it. Anyway, I preferred the bright rooms and I was able to go ahead with double glazing all the windows later.
George Clark, from whom I bought the house, was an invalid. He had been a lawyer in Glasgow and had apparently had a very grand lifestyle in the west. He would bring his friends to Dunning for weekends and holidays. He was obviously popular, even in retirement, judging from the number of callers he had (I think from the nearby hostelry) on the few occasions I saw him. He was very gentlemanly. In later years he lived in two rooms and let others have the rest of the house. There are several people in the village who have lived in it.
The house has, of couse, recently added another chapter to its history, when it represented Kirkhaven Surgery, Dr. J. Vickers (by a strange coincidence Vickers was my name when I moved into Oswald Villa) in the science-fiction film "Invasion Earth" which was filmed in Dunning.
Mr. Hamilton, who retired to the West End of the village but who had come to Dunning for holidays as a boy, told me it had always been a happy house, always lots of life about it.
Well, in the last 30 years, it will have been much quieter, but I am very happy in it and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
There is another sad postscript to this. Oswald Villa is still moving with the times and now has sensor lights and a burglar alarm.
Jim Smith, thanking Peggy Smith for her talk, added that the jutting out toilet which had been added pre-war to Oswald Villa, was the bane of plumbers like himself: one degree of frost, and it froze up. He also recalled Mr. Clark rushing directly from the byre to serve ice cream or chips, only wiping his hands on his apron as he came to serve the food.
This is the first in a newsletter series on "Houses With Stories to Tell". We hope to bring you transcripts of other talks from the delightful evening of Feb. 19/98, plus hopefully other similar programmes in the future.
VIDEOS SELLING BRISKLY
Brisk is the word to describe recent sales of our Society-made videos. "Dunning 1997: A Year to Remember" has already sold close to 70 copies at £6.99 to members, £8.99 to non-members (plus postage/packaging of £1 Britain, £2:50 overseas) Several people also took advantage of our 2-for-1 offer for earlier programmes, and at the same price as above have bought some 20 tapes (each tape including 2 programmes selected by the buyer) chosen from "An Introduction to Dunning", "The Thorntree", "The Return of the P.O.W.", "Tattie Holidays", "Tattie Memories", "The Butler's Son", "The Patient Art of Fieldwalking", "Dunning Flood 1993", and two versions of "The Evacuees". Now on sale are two new productions "Tradesmen's Tales", which was first shown on March 19/98, and "Memories of the Kirkstyle" a chat with several recent Kirkstyle Inn owners. The new programmes come singly at the same price as above. They're available from Dunning post-office or by writing or phoning David Williams, Burnbank House, Kirkstyle Square, Dunning PH2 0RR, tel 01764 684 232.
Late Bulletin - DUPPLIN CROSS DECISION
On Monday, March 16, just before our deadline for this newsletter, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Donald Dewar, announced his decision on the relocation of the Dupplin Cross.
The fate of this beautiful carved stone, said to be over 1100 years old and a relic of the first Scottish king Kenneth McAlpin, has been the centre of local and national controversy for four years, since it was first announced the Cross was deteriorating badly.
The Secretary's decision is that the Cross, which stands in a field in the estate of Lord Forteviot near the village of Forteviot, Perthshire, is to be taken immediately into State ownership.
The Dupplin Trust, technical owner of the Cross, will receive tax concessions for giving it to the State.
The Dupplin Cross will then be moved to Edinburgh for conservation prior to it being displayed in the new Museum of Scotland "for a period of three years, following its opening at the end of November of this year".
Then, according to the letter from F.W. Lawrie of Historic Scotland, "the Secretary of State has decided that the Cross will thereafter be returned to its local area and be housed in St. Serf's Church, Dunning, which is in State care. This final move is in line with Historic Scotland's declared policy, endorsed by the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland, that where it can be shown that it is in the best interests of a stone to move it, this should be to a sheltered environment, in the local area as far as possible."
"Some alterations will require to be carried out to St. Serf's Church, Dunning, before it can accommodate the Cross. These alterations will be carried out while the Cross is in Edinburgh."
Since 1994 the acquisition of the Cross by the new national Museum and its move to Edinburgh had been vigorously fought against by many groups and individuals for whom the Historic Scotland principle of keeping monuments as close to home as possible seemed to be eminently sensible. Leading the struggle was a small Forteviot-based group called Friends of the Dupplin Cross whose secretary the Rev. Colin Williamson is the minister at Aberdalgie and Forteviot Churches. The Friends' proposal was to preserve the weathering Cross by moving it inside Forteviot Church. With strenuous effort they had obtained the funding to accomplish this and also the necessary church permissions.
But their proposal and the proposal by Lord Forteviot's Dupplin Trust and the National Museum to move the Cross permanently to the new Museum were both rejected following a public inquiry in December 1995. The then Secretary of State Michael Forsyth left it open for talks to be held with local groups to agree on a local solution.
At the inquiry, the possibility of moving the Dupplin Cross to St. Serf's Church in Dunning had been mentioned by Historic Scotland as a third option, but no formal proposal was made. And at the inquiry, with Kirsty Doig our eloquent spokesperson, the Dunning Parish Historical Society had supported Forteviot Church as the logical site (it was closer to the Cross location, was an active church, and already had advanced plans for the relocation), with St. Serf's our distant second choice.
Together with the Friends of the Dupplin Cross, the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, the Dunning Parish Historical Society had formed an alliance in the summer of 1996 to redraft the Friends' original proposal to make the Forteviot Church site proposal more acceptable. We waited to be invited to the "local talks".
In the autumn of 1996 we learned to our dismay that a secret deal was on the point of being struck between the Dupplin Trust and the National Museum to move the Cross "temporarily" to Edinburgh. Under instruction from a full meeting of our members (which was held in St. Serf's church, by coincidence, and addressed by the Rev. Colin Williamson), our allied groups quickly called a well-attended national media conference and the public was informed of the deal being struck behind closed doors.
In a second media conference a week later in St. Serf's and in Forteviot Church, we unveiled our renewed proposals for the Cross to go to Forteviot Church, and revealed the name of the American businessman with local roots who was willing to underwrite the move.
The publicity stopped the deal proceeding last year. Unfortunately, an uneasy stalemate ensued with the Dupplin Trust , owner of the Cross, still unwilling to consider the Forteviot Church site.
Reaction to the Decision
When Mr. Dewar made his March 16/98 announcement, the first response everyone wanted to hear was from the Friends of the Dupplin Cross. Their spokesman, the Rev. Colin Williamson, issued this statement:
"Friends of the Dupplin Cross welcome the fact that a decision has at last been taken which provides for the local conservation of this unique national Christian treasure and they are grateful for the personal interest of the Secretary of State.
"The principal concern of Friends has always been that the Cross should not leave the Earn Valley and they recognise the appropriateness of its being housed in the St. Serf's building at Dunning.
"Whilst understanding that conservation work upon the cross itself and alterations to St. Serf's must be carried out, Friends must conclude that it is indeed fortuitous for the National Museum in Edinburgh that it should have the Cross for display at the time of its opening and regrettable that the Cross should still be in exile in Edinburgh at the point of the Christian millenium. Friends are puzzled as to how an arrangement could be arrived at with a museum regarding a scheduled monument without any canvassing of public opinion."
The response from others? According to the Herald, the National Museum was delighted that the decision "will give many visitors a chance to appreciate the significance of this unique monument". The Perthshire Advertiser headed their story "Dupplin Cross Hi-jacked to Edinburgh", quoted the Friends of the Cross as also saying the Cross was being hi-jacked. The P.A. also quoted the Dupplin Trust as maintaining its "strong preference" that the stone eventually be located in a proposed new wing of Perth Museum.
The Courier quoted MP Roseanna Cunningham as being "extremely pleased" with the decision to house the Cross locally. However, she was concerned there might be a "slippage in the timescale" in returning the stone to Strathearn from Edinburgh, and is asking the Secretary of State to see if the Cross could not start the new millenium as it saw in the last, standing in Perthshire.
BBC Scotland called the decision "a victory for local campaigners".
Our own Society chair, Ian Philip, said on Tay Radio that "the Cross only makes sense in the area in which it was erected. Its significance lies in this area, and it should really be preserved here. We were sincerely pushing for Forteviot as the best site, but we are delighted that if it couldn't be there that Dunning has been chosen." Like many others, Ian expressed cautious hope that the word of the Secretary of State to return the Cross to Strathearn will indeed be honoured.
You'll undoubtedly be hearing much more in future newsletters about the Dupplin Cross and its announced permanent home in St. Serf's.
SOME EVACUEE MEMORIES
--Sketch by Albie Sinclair
Here are edited transcripts of three interviews with World War II evacuees who came to Dunning from Glasgow. These were recorded at the evacuees' reunion during the Floral Festival, August 1997. Interviews like these are currently being collected to form the content of a coming Society publication on Dunning and its evacuees.
The first interview.
Bill Smith was born February 20, 1930:
I arrived at Alexander Park Station in Glasgow with my mother, my brother and my sister to take the train to Dunning, though I'm not sure we knew where we were headed. I was 9, my brother Eric was just a year younger than me, and my sister was only 4 at the time. That's the reason my mother came along, because if there was a child under school age then the mother could come with the family. My father was in the airforce. I remember arriving at Dunning station, but how we got to the school I can't remember. We were billeted in Thorntree Villa with Miss Mailer, the aunt of Mrs. Robertson the baker and the sister of Mr. Mailer the farmer up at Findony. We stayed there a year or maybe less. Then we moved into the famous Commercial Buildings (on Auchterarder Road opposite the Village Hall) in the lower west side.
In 1945 my father was demobbed. We returned to Glasgow because he had to go back to work. The war was over, we had our own house in Glasgow. But I can remember VJ Day in Dunning. VE Day too. We arrived September 3, 1939, the day war was declared and we remained here until August 1945.
Highlights? There are very very many highlights. The whole family lived here, we had visitors come up, father came up on leave for weekends. We had uncles come up, they were in the airforce as well. When the Blitz was on in Glasgow we had people come up. We could see the Blitz from here. We could hear the guns, see the searchlights, hear the planes.
Obviously the troops were all in the village. I can remember troops coming back from Dunkirk, with nothing, virtually. They stayed in the field behind the manse. There were all sorts of soldiers here during the war but the ones who stick in my mind were those from Dunkirk. There was a lot of poor souls there, I can tell you. They were coming out without rifles or anything and the story was that they had to pay for the equipment they'd left on the beaches. That was the story anyway.
I went to primary school here in Dunning, then to Auchterarder. After, my brother and I both went to Perth Academy for three years.
Being here was a tremendous experience. As a town lad I worked at harvest, at the potato and berry picking. We worked at the estates at grouse-shooting, pheasant-shooting, deer hunts. I worked at the Quilts farm every Saturday morning for two to two and a half years at the inside threshing mill making cattle-feed. Quilts Farm is a mile up the Yetts o' Muckhart Road. Half an hour going up, five minutes coming down. I think I used to get something like five shillings or half a crown, and half a dozen eggs, a bottle of milk, and every so often a chicken. And you had your dinner up there before you left.
We were really naturalised Dunningites, if you like, when we left, the whole family. I lived here from age 9 to 15. My aunt had a house here, her husband was in the R.A.F. too. My cousin was born here, that is in Perth in January, 1945, and my youngest brother was born here, in Perth, around about VE Day in May of 1945. My cousin in fact was christened in St. Serf's Parish Church. The family came back for the occasion from London where they'd moved by then. They were McKinnons, and they had lived in the Upper Granco.
My mother was an evacuee helper along with Mrs. Agnes Clark. She worked in Oswald Villa. She also went to work with Fentons' at potato dressing. She was also the Prudential insurance agent in the village.
All in all it was a good experience being here. I was digging for victory during the war. My brother and I both had plots behind what was then the police station. That started off my interest in horticulture. Then it was all veg. We grew potatoes, leeks, onions and lettuce. And we showed at the village show. I think 1945 was the first one, the horticultural society show. The main thing I can remember there was Wilson the roadman with these big leeks which stretched across two tables. He grew them in drainpipes, fantastic leeks.
That gardening started my interest in horticulture. Now I'm vice-chairman of the Scottish National Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society. I've been a committee member there since 1970 and I've shown all over Scotland and the north of England. I've won gold medal for best vase in the national show, and some of the cups there. And that interest in growing things started right here in Dunning when I was an evacuee.
The second interview.
Mrs. Sarah (McCabe) Murray came to Dunning with two older sisters, a younger brother and her mother. Later the three girls were moved to stay with dozens of other girls at Invermay House.
I was eight and a half. I was quite sad when we had to come away to Dunning. There was all that hustle bustle and here you were with tags tied around you and gas masks. I cried because I was frightened as well as it being a great wrench in life to me. I was quite unhappy even though my mother was with me. It would have been worse if I hadn't had my mother there. It was such a long day getting here and we were stood about waiting. My feeling was that everybody else was getting away to billets and homes and we were left standing about. I wasn't very happy about the situation.
In fact I wasn't very happy at all coming to Dunning. I felt a lot of the people didn't like us. I don't know why but I felt we were resented in lots of ways by some people. When we went to the first house we stayed in I felt she particularly didn't like us. I think she felt snobbish towards us. She must have volunteered to have us, but she didn't seem to like us at all. I felt she wasn't a very nice person.
When we went to the school up the hill we had Miss Haggart, and you see I didn't like Miss Haggart because previously my two sisters were taught by Miss Haggart and if I did anything wrong she would say "Your sisters wouldn't do things like that". Then my brother he was in an even worse position, he had three sisters ahead. No, I never liked Miss Haggart, but my two sisters, they liked her.
I did get very friendly with a girl here in Dunning, her father used to have the baker's shop Robertson's around the corner, and I was over there a lot and I was happy when I was there.
Then we went to Invermay. It was absolutely wonderful. I was sorry to leave my friend behind and I never did see her again. At Invermay we were all divided into groups, each with its room, and each room had the name of a ship. I think we were disciplined quite a bit. I think I would feel it, because my two sisters always said I was spoiled. I felt we were kept quite disciplined, for good, because they weren't bad to us. We had a good life at Invermay. Christmases were wonderful. We had a huge big playroom, and when we were let into it on Christmas morning, the Christmas tree was from the bottom to the top, and the presents we got were out of this world. The Americans had sort of adopted us and we got lots of stuff sent from America. We had beautiful dresses, dungarees. Because Invermay was a big estate we were always outdoors and up trees so we got dungarees.
Invermay was really a happy time. It's a beautiful house, the grounds are gorgeous. We were quite hard workers and we helped picked potatoes. We went to a farm on Station Road to pick potatoes. We were paid for it, and the money was put into an account for us. We picked potatoes, shawed the turnips. I was always crying because I didn't like the cold. I didn't always cry but I did when the frost was on the ground and your hands were cold.
Every day we had to walk from Invermay to the village school in Forteviot. Soldiers were billeted in the grounds doing manoeuvers. We had beautiful packed lunches with us and we used to give the soldiers some of our lunches and we'd get cakes and chocolate in return. They always lined up when we were walking down that avenue, and Miss Kaye, our teacher cycled to school and they always said "Good morning, Miss Kaye" as she went through us. It was good happy time. The Guiders who looked after us were very good.
My father every week sent three parcels for us, always done in black paper, with comics and packs of sweeties, and my parents came through to see us as often as they could. Lots of the other girls didn't get visitors, but our parents went to Stanley where my brother had been sent and they'd bring him down and we'd all be together.
As time went on, we settled. But there were people who didn't want us here, and lots of the evacuees weren't treated too nicely. There were lots of excellent people here, don't get me wrong..Auntie Belle at the shop, for example, she was just wonderful to everybody. Lots of nice people here, but there were always the ones that you felt didn't like to have you here. And really basically when you think about it we didn't want to be here, we were just sent here to get away from the raids. I don't think any of the evacuess could say you just came and it was normal. It was a big step out of your life When you're older you adapt to this, but when you're small it's a big thing.
The third interview.
David Forbes was six years old when he came to Dunning with his mother, two older brothers and two older sisters.
I remember quite a lot, though I was just six. It was exciting, coming from tenements to a country place. We stayed at first in Baadhead Cottage on the farm up behind Keltie Castle. It probably took me a year to get used to it, to the big open spaces.
There were two cottages, I think they were servants' quarters for the Castle. Another evacuee family called the Macnabs stayed there too. We'd come from a big housing scheme in Glasgow, and there when you went out to play there were twenty or thirty kids to play with. At Baadhead you felt at first lost and lonesome, just your family.
One of the things about up there was we had candles for lighting, candles everywhere.. There used to be a wee shop in the village and the grocer used to say to my mother I think you must be eating the candles, not burning them.
It was a long way to go to school, I think probably three or four miles or more. It was cold in winter, but there was nothing you could do about it, you just accepted it.
We walked down to the Auchterarder road past the Castle, where the family then was the Queen Mother's relations, the Bowes-Lyons. I remember the first Christmas, my mother and all them were worried about noises outside and all of a sudden a big knock comes at the door. We're in this lonely cottage and suddenly this knock comes. What it was was the people from the Castle, they came up and gave us toys. And they gave my mother perfume. Probably my mother never knew what perfume was at that time. And they gave the other family the same things.
We loved the summer months. The summers were beautiful. In winter, it was dark at four, the candles were lit and that was you in the house for the night, you couldn't do anything outside. We were there for a year and a half, two years. Then we moved down to the village. The bakery was next door, and I used to look out the window and watch the rats playing about.
An exciting thing was we used to go to a nearby farm to watch the bats flying about at night under the light, hundreds of bats you could see floating about there. It was the entrance to the farm then, I think, now it's the entrance to the swing park.
I went to the school up the hill, a very small school, as I recollect. I think we went in the morning, the local children went in the afternoon.
When we moved down to the village, my mother said that people were very good to her. She was a widow, there were five of us children. My father had died in 1937.
Hindsight, when you look back on it, it was a good experience, being an evacuee. I think it educated you a lot regarding country life. Although I was only six or seven, you got in the way of working the country style. When you see something on television about the country, you think now that was the same in Dunning, and you remember the local folk and their ways.
I could never go anywhere unless I was with my two older brothers. Tommy had a milk run and I used to go with him in the morning, delivering milk. We used to go berry-picking with my mother on the farms.
In 1943, I think it was, we had to go back home to Glasgow because my mother's house there got flooded, and we never came back.
I've driven through here many a time with my car, just to show my kids. I feel very good about the experience, I feel the people of Dunning were very good to the evacuees.
And I like these reunions. There was a girl here, Alice, I met her here the year the evacuees held the church service here. I was in junior school with her, and I hadn't seen her since we were ten or so. It's a nice feeling, meeting people you haven't seen since schooldays.
In May, a committee of Society members and evacuees meets to discuss plans for future reunions, especially for September 3, 1999, the 60th anniversary of the evacuees' arrival in Dunning.
THE DPHS 1998 SPRING/SUMMER PROGRAMME
Sunday, April 19 Following up last autumn's talk on castle-rebuilding by Ken Murdoch, we visit his Methven Castle. Meet in Tron Square at 2 pm to share a ride, or go direct to the Castle for 2:30 pm.
Thursday evening, May 14, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. Our agm and election of officers with special guest Aberuthven author Edward Peterson, in a slide/talk called "Unveiling the Mystery of Ancient Man".
Saturday, May 23, 10 am Our annual coach trip, this year to Glen Esk and the Angus folk museum The Retreat which illustrates glen life since the 1850's. Then we go to the beautiful ruin of Edzell Castle, the Bower House used by Mary Queen of Scots, the unique walled garden created in 1604, and finally to Arbroath for a tasty high tea. The coach departs from Dunning at 10 am. The cost this year is inclusive of everything (tea, coach, and all admissions to venues) and comes to just £14 for members, and £16 for non-members. Please contact organiser Peter Duncan at 684 243 to reserve a place.
Wednesday evening, June 17. Charlie Laing, author of "The Way it Was: Dunning As I Remember It", takes us on a walk in central Dunning and the places mentioned in his booklet. Meet by the fountain in Tron Square at 7 pm.
Friday, July 17, 8 pm Barn Dance. By popular demand, another summer barn dance is being held, with Ian Philip graciously allowing use of his Leadketty Farm for the third successive year. Music again by the Ken Stewart Duo. We were sold out both previous years, so please buy tickets early from village shops.
Early September Date TBA. St. Serf's Church, 7 pm. Two Dunning residents, celebrated actress Clare Richards and distinguished church historian Kirsty Doig team up in dramatic readings from the scrapbook of a former St. Serf's minister.
Coming up: Ted Powell of Innerpeffray, another themed coffee morning, more local videos, another members' session on Houses With Stories to Tell, and much much more.
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