Bathgate in old picture postcards

Bathgate in old picture postcards

Author
:   William F. Hendrie
Municipality
:   Bathgate
Province
:   Lothian, West
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-3167-4
Pages
:   160
Price
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

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

   


Fragments from the book 'Bathgate in old picture postcards'

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44. Secondary education in Bathgate was completely reformed in the summer of 1931 with the opening of two enormous new twin schools on adjacent sites in Edinburgh Road.

This picture shows the newly erected Lindsay High School, named after the Reverend J ohn Lindsay, minister for many years of St. John's Church, who was a prominent member of West Lothian Education Committee. The school was designed as a technical high school, as part of a tripartite system of education to serve not only Bathgate but also the surrounding towns. The idea of this system was that the academically brightest children from not only Bathgate but Armadale, Whitburn, Blackburn, Livingston, Stoneyburn, Longridge and Fauldhouse should all be educated together at Bathgate Academy, where they would receive a traditional classical education including Latin and Greek. The Lindsay High would then cater for boys and girls from all of these towns whom the famous 'Qualy' or Qualifying Examination had deemed would be more suited to a more practical secondary education with the emphasis on technical, scientific, commercial and domestic education, but with the expectation that the majority would go on to take their Scottish Higher Leaving Certificate. Those children not expected to succeed in secondary school examinations remained in the senior sections of their primary schools, which were later redesignated Junior Secondary Schools. It was this third strand to this secondary education system, which left a sense of stigma and which ultimately led to its abolition in 1968 and its replacement by the present comprehensive system. Until then, however, the Lindsay provided a very sound schooling for the pupils allocated to it and many were proud to wear its distinctive brown and gold uniform.

45. Immediately adjacent to the Lindsay High School stood its twin school, St. Mary's Academy. It was opened at the same time in 1931, when West Lothian Education Authority decided for the first time, as part of its secondary education reshuffle, to provide separate secondary schooIing for all Roman Catholic pupils. Like the Lindsay St. Mary's catered not only for Bathgate children, but for the academically brightest Roman Catholic boys and girls from all the neighbouring towns and in its case it cast its educationa1 net still further to take in pupils from as far away as Bo'ness, Linlithgow, Winchburgh, Kirkliston, Queensferry, Broxburn and Up hall. As wen as providing for the religious needs of its 1,000 pupils, St. Mary's also ensured their sound secondary education, doing particularly well in commercial subjects, with several pupils winning top places in the Civil Service Examinations. With the opening of two new secondary schools and the emphasis thus being placed so visibly on religious differences, it might perhaps have been expected that there would have been aggravation between their pupils, but on the whole they existed happily side by side and with the exception of occasiona1 winter snow balls fight pitched batt1es, reserved their joint rivalry for the pupils of Bathgate Academy. On the sports field the royal blue and gold colours of St. Mary's were often to the fore with the boys and girls urged on by their well-known sporting Rector, Canadian, Dr. McCabe, who hirnself had been an ice hockey star. In 1966 St. Mary's expanded to take in the Lindsay High School building, when the pupils of that school moved for the last two years of its existence before comprehensive re-organisation to new premises at Boghall, but now sadly St. Mary's too is threatened with closure to be replaced by a large new Roman Catholic secondary school in Livingston.

46. John Newlands Procession Day is always marked in Bathgate by the building of decorative arches, but none nowadays riyal the elaborateness of those of former decades. This magnificent example with its proud lion rampants won first prize in 1920.

The date written on the back of the postcard by its sender of 21 st April 1920 is of interest for two reasons. First it shows the speed with which postcards of topical events were produced and sold as this was purchased and sent less than a week after the event. Secondly it proves that Bathgate's Procession Day was not always held on the first Saturday in June as is now the case but appears to have been a moveable feast.

The message on the card reads: Dear Sister, Just a few lines hoping it find you and Jim weil as it leaves us the same except Jim he is of school with the mumps but he is now about alright again. I had Mother and Mrs. Rennie here on Friday, I think they enjoy ed themselves. They gat a nice day for the procession. There was a lot of people here. I was glad it kept fair because it was raining all week. I am expecting Beatie through on Saturday for the weekend. It is the holiday on Monday. There were a lot of dancers at the procession and Agnes told her Granny she wanted an umbrella to dance with. She was singing all the songs to her. This is two postcards of the arches. One shows the first prize one. Hoping to here from you soon again, good night, love from all to Jim and you from Jeanie.

47. This is the second card which Jeannie sent and this time the arch bears the date 1920 and instead of lion rampants it is equally proud1y topped with Union flags, As in the other postcard all of the 10ca1 inhabitants from bairns to grandparents have gathered to have their photograph taken beneath their magnificent work of art, which true to tradition was decorated with carefully c1ipped green box wood. In the background can be seen the apse, chancel and clock tower of the High Church.

48. Bathgate's Procession Day was never complete without its fair or 'the shows' as the merry-gorounds and side stalls were always known locally. This very ear1y 'ride' appears to have been a version of the modern 'jungle ride', with full rigged sailing ships instead of the present day motor bikes to provide the thri1ls. It is interesting to note that a similar 'ride' with Viking boats, still draws the crowds at Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens. Roberts famous livery stables, offering open carriages, small brakes and mourning coaches, can be seen in the background. Many of the carriages and brakes would no doubt have been in demand earlier in the day to take part in the Newlands Day procession through the streets of the town.

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