Armadale in old picture postcards

Armadale in old picture postcards

Author
:   William F. Hendrie
Municipality
:   Armadale
Province
:   Lothian, West
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-1155-3
Pages
:   80
Price
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2-3 weeks (subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.

   


Fragments from the book 'Armadale in old picture postcards'

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39 This very early postcard view shows Armadale Public Scheel's original buildings, before the erection of the large new block in 1911. Typical of Scottish Victorian school buildings, they were surrounded prison style by a high stone wall and equally high black wrought iron railings and gates. The gates were locked as soon as the school bell ceased to chime and latecorners had to wait for the janitor to admit them and march them straight to the Headmaster's room for punishment to be doled out. This took the form of''palmies'. searingly sore, stinging strokes of the strap or tawse, as the thick twin- or triplethonged horse hide leather

whip, was officially known, administered on their outstretched, up turned hands. Few boys or girls complained, because to admit to having been strapped at school was to invite another 'skelpit

leathering' when they got home, as parents staunchly defended school discipline in those days when it was considered that "Ib spare the rod was to spoil the child'.

40 The impressive threestorey high stone-built, slateroofed Armadale Public School still stands overlooking the Parish Church in Academy Street and still houses classes of primary pupils, but for many years it also provided junior secendary education, until replaced in the mid-1960s by the new Armadale Academy on the western outskirts of the town. Several of the schaars young pupils are seen standing beside the motor delivery van, which belonged to a shop in neighbouringWhitburn. No doubt they were enjoying their freedom from the lessans which taak place behind the school's high tall windows, designed specifical-

ly to let light into the classrooms, but prevent pupils being distracted by being able to see out. The stone wall across the playground was also a deliberate design feature to keep the boys separate

from the girls and each also had their own separate entrance at which they had to line up in seried, silent ranks as soon as the bell rang. Any sound earned a stroke of the strap from the teachers on

lines duty, whose temper was never improved by having to leave the warmth of the staffroom to come outside to supervise.

41 Children frorn Armadale's Roman Catholic families attended their own school, paid for at first by their parents and the church, but which became an integral part of the state education system since an agreement was reached in

1 91 8. This picture postcard shows the Catholle school's first purpose-built classrooms attached to the Chapel in High Academy Street. St.Anthony's Primary is now housed in modem premises in the town. When they reach secondary stage its pupils travel each day to attend St. Kentigern's Academy, Blackbum, which takes its name from the other title for St. Mungo.

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42 Boys and girls of'Armadale Public School faced the camera for this annual dass photograph in 1926. There are over fifty children in the picture, but sorne seem toa young to be members of the dass and it is known that the wee lassie at the extreme right of the secend row is Barbara Forsyth and she is sitting next to her older sister Margaret,

sa passibly she had been brought to school specially to be photagraphed. Standing fifth fram the left is young Jim Somerville, who when he grew up became a teacher

and eventually a Headmaster.

43 Two years later another Armadale Public School photograph agam shows [im Somerville, this time second from the left in the back row. The dass teacher posed with her 39 pupils, which was a comparatively small class by the standards of the times. Nowadays the maximum nurnber of pupils in any Scottish school class is 33 and efforts are being made to reduce this to 30 or below.

44 Highlight of each summer for Armadale children was the tewn's annual Gala Day in [une. Here a pipe band marches past the Co-operative drapery department in West Main Street. The drapers did a brisk trade bef are the Gala selling new outfits, which parents strove to provide for their children to wear on the big day. The lamp in the foreground rising above the flat caps of the men in the crowd was erected to cornmemorate a loeal act of'heroism. just over a year after the end of the First World War on 26th November, Mrs. Elizabeth Kerr of Dunolly Cottage was fatally injured, saving a child from being run over by one of the new motor ears,

which had recently come to the town. Ta mark her bravery and her sacrifice the people of Armadale paid for this decorative lamp to light the spot at the Cross where the accident had happened. The inscrip-

tion on the wrought iron base of the lamp, which still stands on the SOUtlI side of the Cross on West Main Street, reads: 'Unbounded Courage and Compassion joined.'

45 Armadale Gala traces its descent from the year 1900 when the children first marched through the streets to celebrate the British capture of Pretoria during the Boer War in South Africa. The march and sports proved so popular that theTown Couneil agreed to them being repeated every year. In 1 911 to mark the coronation of King George V, the crowning of a School Girl Queen was added to the proceedings. The ceremony was performed by the wife of colliery owner [ames Wood, but in the speech he was invited to make he said 'Although we have the Children's Day annually, we have not a coronation every year, nor would we wish to have

it,' and it was not until 1925 that the election of the schaalgirl queen became an annual event. This early Queen of Hearts was 1 1- yearold Mary Bonar. When she

grew up she became Mrs. Hailstones. Here she is seen with her two page boys and the Queen of the Flower Girls and Queen of the Fairies.

46 In 1926,Armadale's Queen ofHearts was Susannah Martin, seen here with her two page boys in their velvet knee breeches, lace trimmed jackets and white frilled ruffs. This time the Gala Queen was chosen from the secondary school.

47 Decorative arches were always a special feature of Armadale Gala Days. Covered in green spruce, collected from local estates, this fine triple span specimen with a life size fox perched astride the middle, was erected in 1910. The proud miners who designed and built it posed proudly in the street below for the photographer.

48 Armadale Public Silver Band led the Gala Day procession along West Main Street and through this ornate three spanned arch. The picture was taken looking west from outside what was known as the Shoogly Building. There is a delivery van in the street below the span on the right.

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