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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39. Pupils of a previous generation listen intently to a speaker in the Academy Hall. The hall, with its tiered seats, was often the setting for the Oration Speech given each year on the Friday evening before John Newlands Day, by a distinguished former pupil ofthe school.

Many former pupils also have fond memories of crowding these same forms and bench seats to watch end of term concerts and productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

40. The John Newlands Memorial Choir photographed in 1910. John Newlands' link as founder and endower of Bathgate Academy is commemorated on one of the three banners behind the group and many of the members of the choir were teachers at the school, thus accounting for the other two banners honouring both teachers and trustees of the school.

The conductor of the choir seen standing holding his baton at the front of the choir on the right was popular academy musie master Angelo Marsden and the gentleman standing on the side at the front was Mr. R.A. Robertson, Bathgate's provost from 1908 to 1914.

The photograph was taken by local photographer Mr. D. Aitken.

Over the years Bathgate has maintained its choral tradition with the North British Steel Foundry Choir staging regular concerts in the town at which well-known guest soloists have also been featured.

41. Bathgate Academy's most famous janitor Billy Spokes stands proudly on the steps of 'his' school on a sunny John Newlands Day moming. Befare becoming the Academy's 'jannie' Mr. Spokes had served in the farces and he brought his military discipline into the playground where he was never afraid of enforcing it with the aid of his short swagger cane.

In addition to all of his caretaking duties, like many janitors in the years after the First Wor1d War, Mr. Spokes was also entrusted with teaching P.T. Officially these letters stood for Physical Training, but according to the Academy pupils under their 'jannie's' eagle eye they meant Physical Torture, as he drilled them in winter in the school hall and in summer in the sloping playground in front of the building.

Academy Rector Mr. Brown can be glimpsed walking out of the picture on the steps above the janitor.

42. Every school boy's dream came true in 1906 when fire swept through and gutted the north wing of Bathgate Academy. It is believed that the blaze started in one of the science laboratories and at its height, as flames leapt high in the sky, the entire roof crashed in.

The pupils who posed in the adjoining open field, while the photographer took this picture of the devastation, found their freedom short lived, however, for the Rector and his staff soon reorganised classes until the damaged classrooms could be rebuilt behind the Georgian fa├žades.

43. The new fangled petrol driven motor fire appliance which was summoned all the way from Edinburgh, twenty miles away, to try to fight the Academy fire. Some local people somewhat unkindly maintained that the blaze was actually kept going until the city firemen arrived so that they could showoff their new equipment, but they were too late to save the north wing of the school.

As some of the Academy's young pupils looked on fascinated by this latest wonder of the age, the helmeted firernen posed for the photographer in Marjoribanks Street to the south of the school, where West Lothian College of Further Education and the Telephone Exchange now stand.

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