Primary School




John Smith

Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Roseburn Primary School

Report Card

Thank you to John Smith, now living in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland for sending me a copy of this Report Card from Roseburn Primary School for the year 1928-29.

Roseburn School  -  1928-29  -  Report Card for Winnie Forsyth

This card is for John's Aunt Winnie.  Her grades in all subjects ranged from 'Good' to 'Excellent'.  Please click on the thumbnail image above to read the Report Card.

John wrote:


My Aunt Winnie  lived in the flat above her father's shop at 37 Arthur Street until 1926.

37 Arthur Street

   Thomas Cullen's Shop at 37 Arthur Street, around 1920

The family then bought a small house in West Catherine Place which they all moved into.  Aunt Winnie continued to live in the house until she had to move into a Nursing Home in 2006.  She lived for 80 years in that house!"

West Catherine Place

   Aunt Winnie Forsyth in West Catherine Place, Haymarket, Edinburgh  -  around 1950

John Smith, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland:  July 31, 2008




Norman Sutherland

Fallbrook, California, USA

Thank you to Norman Sutherland who wrote:

Roseburn Primary School

Gas Mask

"It was the beginning of the Autumn Term in 1942 when I started school at Roseburn.  I was five years old and had to get a gas mask, because the War was on.

I got a child's version with a rubber floppy nose designed to offset the fear that small children might have."


"With my new school bag on my back and my gas mask on my shoulder, my mother took my brother and me on our first day where we met the headmaster, Mr. Poleson.

I had my head down during the conversation he had with my mother, and he remarked, 'Your little boy seems to be very shy.'   Actually, I wasn't. I was simply staring at his spats, that I had never seen before. These were leather coverings above the shoes and over the ankles that fashionable gentlemen wore in those days!"


"We had some wonderful teachers, many called out of retirement to replace the younger teachers who were called up for military service. However, there were a few who didn't belong teaching small children."

First Day at School

On my first day I sat in the front row and not knowing the rules, I turned to talk to the kid behind me.  Our new, grumpy and very large teacher screamed and threw her thick leather belt at me!  I ducked and it hit the innocent little kid behind me, right on the nose!  Blood started flowing from his nose as he ran out the door.

Minutes later, the door opened again and there stood the bloody-nosed kid, his mother and the headmaster.  The mother screamed and swore as she lunged at the teacher.  The headmaster struggled to restrain the mother, as the teacher hid behind her desk.

Meanwhile, I was slowly and silently slipping lower and lower in my seat, hoping that they would all forget that I was the party responsible for this ruckus. They did!  Thus ended my first day at Roseburn school."

Norman Sutherland, Fallbrook, California, USA:  July 15, 2011




Lilian Young


Thank you to Lilian Young who wrote

Roseburn Primary School

Gas Masks

"I had a good chuckle when I read about the first day at Roseburn School by Norman Sutherland above.  It was almost a duplicate of my first day in January 1942, gas mask and all.

We had to carry those awful masks, and we had drills in school where we had to wear them.  I was scared to death of mine.  It was bright red and blue.  My Mom made a carrying case for our gas masks which were often used to hit some other kid."


"My brother, who was 4 years older than me, told me to go into the class and get to the back row in the corner, then the teacher would never see me.  She outfoxed us by re-seating us alphabetically by name."

Mr Poulson

"I, too, recall Mr. Poulson and his spats.  He had been a teacher in my Mom's day She made the same comment about my being shy, and I too was fascinated by his spats.  It's funny what our little minds took in.

The Strap

"I can recall two fierce female teachers - Miss Spellman and Miss Theron.  They were famous for strapping or belting the pupils and we were all terrified of them. 

They always made the kids hold their hands one on top of the other so that they would feel the pain in both hands.   They also had long wooden pointers which they whacked knuckles with.

I also recall the lunches where these two teachers patrolled the tables in order to make sure that each child ate everything on the plates whether they liked it or not."

Marching into School

"I remember being in the playground and the bell ringing.  We we all got into our classes and marched, two by two, into the school and to the class, to the tune of 'A Fine Old English Gentleman'.

Lots and lots of wonderful memories of happy times."

Lilian Young, USA:  August 3, 2011




Norman Sutherland

Fallbrook, California, USA

Thank you to Norman Sutherland for writing with more memories of is school.

Norman wrote:

Roseburn Primary School

World War II

Prisoners of War

"I vividly recall some German prisoners doing road work outside our playground at Roseburn primary school.  On our lunch break they would give us some money and ask us to get some cigarettes for them at the local shop and then would reward us with a hand-carved wooden toy.

One day, a housewife came out with a large kettle of tea and some cups and served the prisoners during their break. Another housewife saw this and was furious, accused the first woman of being a traitor!

The response from the generous housewife was perfect: "My husband and my son are both over there, fighting this war. If, God forbid, they are ever taken prisoner, I hope some German housewife has the decency to do what I am doing!"

I will never forget that noble gesture of human compassion."

Norman Sutherland, Fallbrook, California, USA:  July 15, 2011



Edinburgh Recollections