St Andrews in old picture postcards

St Andrews in old picture postcards

:   Eric Simpson
:   Fife
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6668-3
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'St Andrews in old picture postcards'

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9 The Victorians had encouraged swimming as one of the desirable manly sports and the Step Rock had long been a favoured spot for male bathers 'of all classes and ages.' In this very earIy image (JuIy 1887), we see a very basic shelter - canvas sheeting on a metal framework. Circa 1 870 the Step Rock was the Iocation for the annual races, which were held in Iuly while the schools were in session. Ta start the race, competitors dived offboats, having been rowed out seaward to the starting point. The announeer for the various events was the town bell-

man. There were no female partierpants. Although the races were organized by the so-calIed Humane Society, the day was aIways concluded with a duck hunt - with a real duck!

(Photograph: courtesy of the Hay Fleming Relerenee Libmry housed at St Andrews University

Library. )

la Since the Step Rock was an area reserved for male dookers, scanty slips were deemed appropriate wear. Wamen and young children, of course, had their own segregated spots. The Town Council, considering these facilities inadequate, sent a deputation in 1902 to Aberdeen and Peterhead to view the indoor and outdoor bathing facilities in these two towns. In the following year the Council borrowed f,l ,000 to pay for a new Step Rock pond. A bathing pool was built with enclosing walls supplementing existing barriers formed by two parallel rows of outeropping rock.

This partially artificial pond was flushed by tidal action. The Council considerately added a shower and douche bath but charged dookers an extra one old penny for the privilege.

11 Ta mark the official opening of the new pond in Iuly 1903, a gala was held which attracted three to four thousand spectators. The Artillery Brass

Band provided the musie and the 'aquatic display' , arranged by the Bathing Committee of the Town Council, included a water polo match and a demon-

stration rescue of a 'drowning man' by the fully-clothed 'rescue man.' The 'rescue man', a Mr. Malloch, was a Town Council appointee whose

day, which was 1 2 to 14 hours long. commeneed at 6 a.m.! They were hardy folk in those days!

12 This secluded ladies' bathing station was located west of the Castle, below the 'Public Baths', an indoor establishment, dating back to 1810, which provided hot and cold seawater baths with water pumped straight from the sea. In 1895, according to the Citizen, a sea wall had been erected creating a large tidal swimming pond. Fifty people could also now be accomrnodated in the bathing boxes. Fifteen shillings was the price of a season's ticket, a substantial sum in those days, but for that the attendants also washed and dried and taak charge of subscribers' costurnes and

towels. The re-equipped Baths was privately

owned, but we find that by the early 1900s the Town Council had taken responsibility for running it. The whole concern was taken

over by St. Leenard's School in 192 0, and subsequently demolished. (Photograph: courtesy of St Andrews Preservation Trust.)

13 In December 1902 the Bathing Committee of the Town Council decided to investigate the feasibility of building a small lowwater swimming pool at the Castle, a long-established ladies' dooking place. The success of the male bathing station at the Step Rock encouraged the Town Council to proceed, and in 1904 the Castle Pool was ready for use.

A suggestion that mixed bathing be permitted at the new pond was vetoed, the more cautious councillors contending that 'they were not so far advanced as that in St Andrews.' The attendant was paid fifteen shillings a week, with the

right to hire out towels and 'bathing dresses' as an additional perk. The pavilion, built into the lee of the cliffs, has long disappeared. With the introduction of mixed bathing at

the Steppie, the Ladies' Pool became redundant. In 1950 plans to rea pen it as a privately-run pool were rejected by the Town Council.

14 In early June 1929 the Town Council, after some local pressure, rather gingerly decided to permit mixed bathing. but not till July and only at fixed hours. One consequence was the upgrading of the Step Rock pool and the construction of more commodious shelters and changing huts, also 'special sunbathing tiers.'This Valentine's postcard shows the kind of crowds that assembled at the Steppie on fine summer days. In the 1935 season approximately 45,000 bathers were recorded. Periodically plans to further improve the pond were brought bef are St Andrews Town Council. In 1 955, for instanee. the

issue was debated in the local press. Complaints included: 'a relic of a bygone age': 'exposed to the full fury of the elements ... and to the vagaries of the various sewers in the proximi-

ty.' Although the Steppie was closed in 1 98 1 , the indoor pond was not completed till 1988. The St Andrews Aquarium, opened in 1989, now occupies the site.

15 From being a minority interest, golf had by the 18805 become a fashionable sport with the British upper-class with the middie-classes quickly following suit. By the late 19th century, as this illustration

shows, the game was attracting sizeable crowds of spectators. Being recognized as the 'home of golf' gave St Andrews a considerabie boost and the game's popularity meant that hoteliers and retailers had

the advantage, compared with most other watering places, of a longer season. Others who benefited from the golf boom were club and ball makers and those who had enough skill to turn professional.

The caddies of those days, many of them former fisherrnen, were, however, at the bottom of the financial and social scale.

16 As more golfers flocked to the tow:n, so pressure grew to build more courses such as the New Course, which was opened in 1895, and here features on a Iames Patriek postcard (postmark date 1904). Notice the tent at what the postcard caption terms rather quaintly the 'first teeing ground.'The Royal and Ancient Club built a wooden shelter beside the first tee in 1907. For some years in the 1930s the New was considered more difficult than the Old. The Jubilee, opened two years later as a course for ladies and beginners, was called by the unkind a course for 'duffers.'

1 7 'The photo is that of 2 champion golfers which you will have heard of wrote Jean on this ].B. White postcard, which was posted in Iuly 1910 to William Thomson, a Leith saddler. While Bob Dow is a forgonen figure, Old Tom Manis (1 82 1-1 908) was four times Open Charnpion and is one of golfs legendary figures. For long greenkeeper to the Royal and Ancient, he was also an enterprising businessman. He capitalized on his and his son's farne (YoungTom) by selling his own-rnake golf clubs and balls. Adverts in local guide-books reveal that his 'first-class work-

men' not only produced his 'Manis Machine-Made Balls' but remade aId balls.

18 This illustration 'A Dream ofOther Days' comes from the North British Railway Official Guide (1 914 edition) which rightly describes

St Andrews as the golf metropolis. The Edinburgh city man at his desk sees in a reverie the Clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient. So off he hastens to Waverley Station and soon attains the fulfilment of his dream - teeing off at St

Andrews. This is a good example of the way that railway companies plugged the attractions of the resorts on their routes. The other illustration, a humorous cartoon drawn by local artist Cynicus from nearbyTayport, depiets a golfer's nightmare. Notice the old style of tee. Befare wooden or plastic tees were invented, golfers, when driving off, placed the ballon a small

mound of sand. Accordingly, a small box full of sand was placed beside each tee.

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