Recollections of


Beside the Firth of Forth in East Lothian
about 7 miles east of the centre of Edinburgh



Inland, about 1 mile SE of the centre of Musselburgh




John Paul Carr


Thank you to John Paul Carr who wrote:

Homes and Schools

"I was born in Musselburgh in 1954 and grew up there until I was ten.  I even remember the fishwives.  Our family then moved to Edinburgh.  We emigrated to Australia in 1968.

At Musselburgh, I went to Loretto RC Primary School,
In Edinburgh, I went to Holy Cross Academy RC Secondary School.


"I lived in Belfield Avenue, a 'nice' street.  If you went out the back gate, you were in Mitchell Street, a dead-end street with a 'swing park' where we all used to play.

There were two sets of swings, a slide (slippery dip), roundabout and a couple of see-saws, all on a hard gravel surface  - none of this soft 'rubbery' plastic safety equipment like today.  The slide was high and dangerous, the roundabout was an 'accident waiting to happen' and the main swings were 'real' swings, iron poles, iron chains and solid wooden seats.   There was one rule on the swings, though  -  'Nae dunchin'.

Dunchin' was the practice of standing on the swing and swinging sideways into the next swing. This was done by 'bad boys' to get other kids off the swings, or to  bully specific kids.

The practice was usually policed by older kids.  There wasn't any adult supervision as such, unless of course a kid ran hame crying tae his mum, then the mother would drag 'little Jimmy' kickin' and screamin' back tae the park  -  "Richt, whae wuz it?  Which yin did it?  C'mon oot wae it."

Wash House

"There was a wash-house in Musselburgh then too.  I remember a huge Victorian-type factory building - the precursor to modern laundromats, I suppose, where women could take their big laundry loads.

Huge tubs and dryers etc were provided in a very steamy atmosphere. [he,he]  It was like something out of Oliver Twist."


"The steam trains took passengers to Edinburgh Waverley station.  Ahh, the memories."


"My mum would take us to the High Street, to shop at the Co-op, but get this, there was a shoe shop in the High Street that had an 'x-ray' machine, to see where your toes came to in your shoes.  [he,he]

I remember being told to 'play' with that when my mum had her shoes fitted...  Arrrrgh!"  :)


"A few years ago I  stumbled upon the web site for the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh.  Their main exhibition at that time was 'Children in the 1950s, playing in the streets of Edinburgh'.

Aarrrrgh, here I was, a museum exhibit, visiting one of my favourite places as a kid.  [lol]"

John Paul Carr, Australia:  20+27+31 May 2010




Alan Grieve

Minehead, Somerset, England

After reading the recent comments from James Preston about his home on the former Prisoner of War camp at Sighthill, Alan Grieve contacted me, telling me:


"My father was a gardener in private service in Inveresk during the war.  He was just too old for military service, but he wasn't allowed to stay in private service.

After trying for a job on the Corporation buses or the trams, which he failed on eyesight, he was allocated to Scarlett's market garden in Inveresk.


While working for Scarlett's, he was in charge of a squad of German POWs.  They  who must have been brought in by transport each day but I've never been able to find out where their camp was.   Does anyone have any idea?

Alan Grieve, Minehead, Somerset, England:  August 13, 2013

Reply to Alan?

If you think that you might be able to help Alan to find the answer to his question, please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

NOTE:  I usually add only topics relating to Edinburgh to the EdinPhoto web site.

However, I've made an exception in this case.  The POWs camp may have been somewhere in Edinburgh.  Inveresk is not far from Portobello and other eastern suburbs of Edinburgh.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 13, 2013



Odette Thomas (née Downes)

San Jose, California, USA

After reading John Carr's Recollections 1 above, Odette Thomas wrote:

School and Play

"I lived around corner on Eskside West and attended Campie Primary School.

I, too, played on the playground in Mitchell Street.  I remember being there till my parents would come looking for us."

Local Sweetie Shop

"My parents owned the little shop 'Downes' on Eskside West.  I'm sure you'll remember it as it was the local sweetie shop!"

River, Pictures and Ice Cream

"I had friends who lived on Campie Road  -  the Hendersons and the Youngs.  We would play by the river and, many times, came home wet because of falling in!

On Saturday mornings we would go to pictures., then buy ice cream at de Marco's."

Odette Thomas (née Downes), San Jose, California, USA:  March 29+30, 2014
Odette emigrated to USA in 1982




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