David Leask's Maddiston Pages

Muiravonside Parish, the way it was.

Apologies

The page for sending your memories stopped working a while ago and a few memories have been missed out, if you want to share a memory with us please send your story by email at [email protected]

Thanks

David

 

So many memories I don't quite know where to start. The first thing I remember is before I went to school, when we stayed in the Blocks, when everyone settled down for the evening after dinner round a big blazing fire in the open grate, the polished brass, gleaming steel fender and sliders shone in the light of the flames, Dad on one side of the fireplace reading the "Evening Times" and Mum on the other, knitting, Usually socks for dad or "Long Drawers" as that was what all older men wore under their trousers in those days. I often used to play under the table, which made an ideal "Wee Hoose" with the big chenile tablecloth hanging nearly down to the floor on all sides. There I played with my dolls, hanging out the dolls clothes on a string stretched between the handle of the dresser drawer and the leg of the table.

Later I remember the first day I went to school, how we played with coloured beads and making little annimals with placticine. I remember getting my first book and looking at the pictures through a piece of red glossy paper, then the book had to be covered with brown paper and carried to the school in a very small thick carboard case. Our teacher was Miss McOwen. In those days we wrote on a piece of slate with a slate pencil and I remember feeling so important when it was my turn to go round the class with a little botle of water, pouring a few drops on everyone's slate so they could be washed. We always had to carry a rag with us to clean our slates.

After school, and in the holidays we played many different games, but I liked skipping ropes best of all. If it rained in the summertime there were plenty of games to play or the stairheed, and I played there many a wet day with my chums. In the wintertime when it rained and I couldn't go out I played in my attic bedroom which I shared with one of my older sisters. I don't think my sister could be bothered with me because I was much younger than her, I think she thought I was more of a nuisance than anything else. But in spite of that we became great pals when we grew up.

How I loved the attic bedroom with the sloping ceiling and the window you could look out of and see right across the river Forth. At night we went to bed by candlelight, it was a little night-light, which stood in a saucer of water.

All through my life I dreamed of having an attic bedroom in my own home, now I have an attic bedroom and from one of my windows I can see right across the river Forth. When I look around it reminds me of a very happy childhood.

.

 

I came to live in Maddiston in 1945, in a room in St Catherine's. But my first contact with the place was when my pal and I used to come to the School to the late night dancing on a Friday night. We stayed with a work-mate and his wife who lived in an attic in the Blocks. We also went out with two guys from Maddiston, but as luck would have it they were not dancers, so when we went to meet them we used to teach them to dance as we walked along Callander Road, but it was wartime, they joined the Navy and that was that. I met my late husband when we both worked together in the brickworks at Whitecross.

I remember the first time I went to Brighton's Pictures, when my husband was my boyfriend, said I was to come home with him from work as we were going to the Pictures with his married sister, good job she was the same build as me because I had to borrow some of her clothes as I was in my dungarees which was what we wore to work in those days.

Back I came to live in the place, which wasn't too strange, as I knew quite a lot of people that lived here.

One of my husbands pals would come to visit us some Sundays for tea and a chat instead of going to the Chapel as thats where his mother thought he was, he had a motorbike and sidecar, I still have a good laugh when I think of some of the things that happened when we all went out together.

I have many happy memories of the place like walking up the Coach Road to Standburn then calling in for a black pudding supper from McAlisters chip shop when we got back, I also enjoyed many a good bag of chips from Bella Clarke's when coming home from the Pictures.

 








I lived in the Prefabs down the Coal Road, the rent was 10/- a week (50p), we didn't have much furniture as you had to have dockets to get it.

I will never forget the time this English woman who was my next-door neighbour, leaning out of her bedroom window and saying, "Excuse me but are you pregnant?"  And me like the side of a house! I took her up to see nurse Kate once I found out she that she really wanted to know how to get the nurse to come to her.

This same English woman, now my pal, and I ran buses to the Empire Theatre in Glasgow to see Frankie Vaughn, Winifred Atwell and many more, also day trips to Burntisland and Leven when the children were on holiday, we always seemed to have good weather then!

The bing was the focal point of the village, that and the duff pond, where we would go with a pail and collect duff which I think was coal dust, anyway mixed with paper it burnt well in the fire.

The gala Day (before we had a Queen) was a great event, we would get dressed up and join in the walk around the village then later to the swing park for the races and the Rajah would always win the old mens race and off to the pub he would go. The Gala Dance was the finish to a grand day; these were the simlple things, which we called the good old days.

 

 

 

Brightons Picture House was the best in the world (we all thought so anyway, I still do), for sixpence (2.5 p) you got into the Matinee, saw Cartoons, Flash Gordon serial, or the Rocket Man, Pathe News, Adverts the wee picture and the big picture. I remember seeing Errol Flynn in Robin Of Sherwood, I was Robin Hood for weeks until I saw John Wayne in Stagecoach, and then I was the Ringo Kid. We used to stand and yawn in the queue and then look round and sure enough two minutes later everyone else was yawning.

My School memories are not some of my happiest as I did not like the school, I do remember when I was qute young being knocked out by one of those revolving blackboards. But one teacher I do remember with affection was Mr Lapsley (he had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp !), he would read us stories every afternoon and we respected him , maybe thats whats missing now.

I remember our class at school singing in a concert, you were picked if you could sing a note that Mrs wilson the Infant Teacher played on the piano, what she didn't know was that the note she played probably was the statring note for most of the the class but it was the finishing one for me as I had a deep voice even then. So consequently when we sung in the concert I just opened an shut my mouth in time to the music. When your class was finished you were allowed to go home and while I was making my way home either Alec or Jimmy Smith shouted me over to the wee wooden green office at Manuel Rigg, he asked why I was going home from school and I explained, then he asked me what my name was, I knew he wouldn't know my dads name so I told him who my mum was and I remember it so well because he gave me half a crown (12 .5 p) which I saved to spend in the best holiday spot in the world, Port Seton.

Picnics down the Haining (The Hennen) and up S'Trees (now Muiravonside Country Park), We always took juice and sandwitches, never tea and water, but my dad's first priority was to get a fire going, so we would be sent to fetch stones for the fireplace then wood for the fire, looking back we would usually get enough wood to last a week, but maybe mum and dad just wanted time to have a wee canoodle on their own.

 

 

 I can remember when I was a wee girl, I went up the Coach Road with a jeely jar to get frog spawn in the pond where Simpson Drive is now. When I came home I hid it in the wash house outside. Eventually tadpoles appeared, then one day my father came into the house wanting to know who put the puddocks in the the wash house. They were jumping about all over the place ! take what I got, and that was the  end of that.

We seemed to have great fun when we were young and we were easily amused. I loved Easter as well when we rolled our hard boiled eggs in the same field, after we'd painted faces on them. Oh Happy Days !.

I remember the day, 40 years ago now, 6 o'clock in the morning and still we had to stand in the Co-op queue (no matter what , we didn't seem to be able to get in front of Mary Clayton) waiting to get summer outfits for the kids, soon we were all blethering.

We'd all go home happy having got everything for the family. One particular quarter in the summer I put all the families clothes in the washing machine before going off to work  ( at Steins), when I got home there was a terrible smell, someone had switched on the washing machine and all the clothes were burnt and they weren't even paid

for !.  My friend and I decided to put potatoes in the garden and as I came from the city I didn't have a clue how to do it, but the neighbours were ever so helpfull, they told me to half the potatoes and look for the eyes on the bits I was putting in, it took all day and then they decided to tell me it was just a joke!.

I remember how my friend and I used to take the pram and the babies up the bing to break coal off the slate, it was hard work but happy days. Our enjoyment was every Wednesday looking for 3d to go to Brightons Picture house then walk back home, the weather always seemed to be so good in the summer time then. Everyone was friendlier in those days as we were all in the same position.

 

Do memories come back through Rose Tinted Glasses ?, or do we only remember the good times.

In the Fifties there seemed to be more tolerance and more time, better summers, snowy winters, better tasting fish and chips (Tammie Duncan's van and Bella McNeils) and bannanas tasted like bannanas.

There are so many memories, I close my eyes and I am back playing Cowboys and Indians up Auld Harry's park, the Cup and Saucer was the Fort, defended to the death. I may be wrong but weans seemed to play for hours without causing any trouble or fighting. I remember playing hunting, two teams of up to twenty boys and girls would be given ten minutes to run and hide and the other team would hunt them, it would last for hours and we'd come home tired dirty and happy.

Like most boys I played Football, Cricket, Rounders and tennis in the payground of Muiravonside School.

Once the Steel Houses football team played against Standburn, we were winning eight nil when the parents of the Standburn team decided to take a hand and chased us across the moor all the way to the Coach Road shouting that our parents hadn't been married.

Jenny Hunters shop, you could have fun with Jenny,but not with Jemima. I remember going in with friends and asking for a quarter of Floral Gums (which were kept on the high shelf,) Jenny would get the steps and reach up to get the jar down and measure out a quarter of Floral Gums, put the jar back then ask the next one what he wanted, " a quarter of Floral Gums" came the reply and she'd have to go through the whole businesss again.  But before putting it back she'd ask the next person if that's what they wanted, the next one said no so she'd put it back then asked "Well what would you like?", " Two ounces of Floral Gums please" then we all fell into fits of laughter.

Hunters shop sold the best pies in the world , Beattie's pies, they came in a wee perforated greaseproof paper bag and had the most unforgettable peppery taste to them, like many things from my childhood they are gone ( but not forgotten).

Jenny would also sell you four Domino fags for a tanner (2.5p), it was just a case of - if you've got the money you'd get the goods..

 

 

 

One Sunday morning we woke up and went to play in the living room (in St. Catherine's) we were playing happily, and quietly, as mum and dad slept in the living room. There was smoke coming from the fireplace althouth the fire wasn't on and just as mum and dad were getting up to see what was going on we all heard someone pounding on the door and shouting "fire" through the letterbox. Mum grabbed us all and hauled us downstairs with just our coats over our nightdresses then over the fence to our next door neighbours. The house downstairs was on fire and the old lady was trapped in the living room, I remember clearly a woman breaking the window and climbing in and hauling her out the window then we helped her down the path and waited for the ambulance. After the Fire Brigade put the fire out the boy who lived downstairs said we had a hole in our lobby floor so I would't go back into the house and went to stay with my gran for a week as I was afraid to sleep in our own house.

John McLachan

 I can remember the fully laden Smith of Maddiston lorries crawling up the brae in the late fifties/early sixties. The big window in Matt Hoggan,s shop used to vibrate alarmingly when they passed.

Matt Hoggan had lorries too.  I can remember them parked along Eccles Place laden with castings from foundries in Falkirk.  My father used to sometimes drive these lorries.  He had learned to drive lorries in the Army. 

My dad told me that if the lorry managed to cross the Avon gorge near Torphichen then he knew it was capable of going to England to deliver the castings.

He delivered to a place called Rotherham in Yorkshire.  He often stayed overnight with my mothers’ parents in Otley.near Leeds. 

I remember that there were a lot of Hawthorn and other bushes growing on the steep grassy sides of the quarry.  The quarry was quite deep. There was another quarry on the northern side of the old Blackbraes Railway.  Both had “duff ponds”.  I remember when I was a boy at Forgie Crescent listening to Joe McPhait, a neighbour of my parent’s, talking about his  job at Craigend Pit. ( Joe lived at 37 Forgie Crescent.  Joe was latterly a welder at GR Steins at Whitecross.)

I remember that Joe said that he had been brought up at Blackbraes and that he moved to Maddiston and lived at Claytons Building before moving to Forgie Crescent.  Joe said that he worked at Craigend Pit in the early 1930’s. He said that the  coal was washed at Craigend and the washings were pumped to the abandoned stone quarries at Maddiston via overland pipelines.  He told me that it was his job to maintain these overland pipelines.

I remember that the duff ponds filled with water in winter and that the ice got very thick.  In summer a crust formed on the edges of these ponds when most of the  the water evaporated/drained away and as children we used to walk on the dried crust. If you ventured too far near the water in the middle you got stuck and I can remember lots of tears from kids who got stuck and left their wellies firmly held by the duff only to be retrieved by some of the older boys after walking on stones which  they threw in front of themselves to support their weight.

I remember also the sad time when I heard that Mrs Gray’s young son died in the pond and then not long after that -  early seventies? The bing was demolished and used to fill the old quarries.  The earthmoving machines worked day and night for months filling the quarries and landscaping the area around the bing and old Blackbraes Railway.   Polmont Golf Club then moved to Maddiston.  Part of the course of which is located on the site of the infilled Southern quarry.  

 It is hard to believe that the former railway, routed through Maddiston, was used to  transport 1000’s of tons of stone and coal.

I remember that as children we used to walk up the old railway  as far as the California –Avonbridge Road in the early 1960’s and that it was not really overgrown then…no rails but lorries used to travel up to Heep’s Glenend  Mine from California Road.  I remember too that there was a small very steep arched masonry bridge crossing the Manuel Burn nearly opposite the mine.  Early OS Maps suggest that this bridge was on a foot path or coach road leading to Craigend House.  I had a walk up the old railway a few weeks ago and the bridge is still there but very heavily overgrown and in a state of deterioration.  Not as I remembered it. 

 

I remember playing at Craigend House in ruins when I was a boy with the kids from Forgie Crescent.  It was still standing in ruins in 1968 when I worked at Craigend Brickworks.  I remember that there were apple trees in the site of the  former  garden….too many “jaggy” nettles though to allow  wee children access.  I remember that the timber formers for the arched roofs of the kilns lay against the ruins.  You could walk between the ruins.  There was the big house and other buildings.

I walked up to the site of the brickworks a few days ago  and of the two chimneys only one is left standing.  The brick shed where the brick machines were housed is still standing.  I could remember when Tam Byrne operated one of the brick machines and the stern look he gave when Mrs Appelby would shout  “scrap Tam!” above the din of machinery when the bricks came out too wet.  Tam would have a look at the defective bricks and tweek the machine settings accordingly to restore order.   Mickey Kotec was the foreman and I remember he got me a pay rise after I cleared the area in front of the machine building of many burst pallets of bricks and heaps of loose bricks that had accumulated over many years…..it was a real mess and took me a fortnight, however I asked Tam Ainsley if he could take the burst pallets to the brick tip if I made them stable and unloaded the them at the tip.  Tam drove the forklift and would do this in between his loading the many lorries that collected bricks from Craigend.  My pay went up from three and three farthings to five and four pence an hour!  Farthings weren’t even legal tender then. 

 

The rough pasture slopes in the fields along the southern side of the old Blackbraes Railway still show signs of drainage ditches and riggs? I often wondered if crops had been grown in these fields in the past.  They have never been cultivated to my knowledge in my lifetime.   Recently I read that during the Napoleonic Wars nearly every piece of land was cultivated to grow grain to feed the British Army.  Perhaps crops were grown there at that time.  

 

 

 

ROBIN TODD

Thanks David Leask and the history group for this great site and the input to the display in Maddiston School in May 07.

It was a wonderful rerun of my primary years and I met my cousin Elma there (hairdresser Vellore Road). Coincidentally I discovered last week that my family were miners in Maddiston for at least 200 years and my great great great great grandfather James Todd married a Russell from Westfield in the 18th century.

My name is Robin Todd, born in the Blocks (Carron View) in 1942, from there to Simpson Drive and Maddiston School for 7 years.

I worked in Craigend brickworks at 15 (Tam Byrnes was my Machineman) then Stiens in Manuel (Jim Heeps was my Machineman), I was a bus conductor at Larbert Road and Grangemouth.

I was in the Life boys, the Boys Brigade, Grangemouth, ‘Terrie’ Hall Boxing Club and the Muiravonside Players drama club. I attended regularly the Salvation Army joy hour and band of love and wanted to be a ‘soldier in the army of the lord' and the Bethesda Hall, Jimmy and Alex. Smith took us all to see Billy Graham in Glasgow in the early 50's but sadly he did not save me.

My dad was the skipper of the wee dredger in Grangemouth Docks and my brother Tom was in the German occupying force in 1948. So, imagine the effect of coming back to my primary school and standing in that same wooden floor in the hall.

Characters I remember, Jimmy Shanks of Polmontbank (Related to Shanks of Lathallan? –Editor’s note), the Scrappie (worked for him), Bob Jamieson of the Co-op and the Close shop, Knox Crawford and his pigs, Bullar Irvine and his pigs, Davie and Maggie McLay (great photo of them on display), Scandles (Davie Ferguson) senior who let me be the banker in the card school, Aggie Collie who made clootie dumplin for all at the Coronation bonfire up the blocks green, Sanny Davie the original bookie who phoned Dick in Redding to get the horse race result, Nell Broon and Wullie  who always sang 'Nelly Dean' on the last bus on Saturday night, Peter McGuiness who played the big bass drum in the pipe band, the Marshall family who all worked in Craigend Brickworks, ‘The Rajah’ who worked at Shanks with Nick Savoy, Peter Buchanan, Wullie Broon junior whom I met in Yorkies Nob in Australia  not long ago. Also a great photo of the three McAuley brothers on this site including 'Bullet' who, I read died recently, sadly, as did my friend, a long time ago, (glad you are well Isobel, great to meet you at the school) Edmond Anderson (dux on the board at school I noticed). There was also Jim Kenny, a great pro boxer and Joe Frickleton wasn’t bad either, he was the first to own American coloured comics, Superman and a weird guy called Spider Man.

Must stop or I’ll run out of room, guddling in the Avon, Japs and British on the wee bing, bows n’ arras, pea shooters, girs bogeys  from pram wheels, kites, slungs - - -

Well David you see what you've set off here, many thanks for your great site and school display. My address is Hilton Farm Cottage Cowie, Stirling FK77DN, my e-mail address is [email protected] and I’d love to chat to anyone about Maddistons’ social history since I seem to be a piece of history myself although it all seems like last Tuesday.

 

 Robin Todd

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Kelly

 

 

 

For those of you my age 53.

 

 

Going up the river Avon on bikes 15 bikes 30 kids ,somebody always gave you a backy if you didn’t have a bike .Linda Mcneil and Marg. Kolisosky always looked after us .

We swam in the river, we fished for trout,with Jake Mackie, Wullie Hughes, Joe Jacub, rr Arneil, rr McNeil, a few names I remember. This was most of our summer holidays. Also playing footy on Sundays on the welfare pitch, the back of the school versus the rest of Maddiston.

Making bogies with rr McNeil only because his dad auld Geordie had all the tools.  Flying round the bends from Kendieshill Avenue down the bottom of Forgie Crescent to the old bus station scaring ourselves stupid.

Playing up auld Harry’s , playing footy in the flyover when it was piddling down . Playing hunting at night at Bob Jamiesons and surrounding area with the motley crew of Baxter Hughes, Hutch, Houstie, Shug Cameron, M.Hughes. F.Hughes and Billy and Bobby Robertson.  

And who could forget all the cheating at hen run card school; I shall mention no names. Happy times,  

 

Pat Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Cochrane

 

 

Hi everyone...

 

Ma memories are no that much (I’m a young 32) a remember playing Japs and commandos over the Bookies park (opposite the ‘Ranch’) or up Coxs’ feild (now Toravon homes), the snooker hall (old Co-op) beds or peevers on the pavement wi a old shoe polish tin filled with muck. Gawn down the Haining for chestnuts  (a’ always thought that place wiz haunted) finding auld lolipop sticks and trying to break them against one another, marboules, aw whit have a started!!

A’ great games, swimming up Muiravonside or in the Polmont ressy, kick the can, taking a bag o pieces and juice and going to Blackness castle of the Haning castle for the day. Maggie Morrisons trips to Kinghorn and Burntisland and Mary Walkers too! Junior Byrnes singin on the buses to Butlins; but ma favourite past time was either swinging on the tarzans that everybody used to make by stealing the ropes of Smith o Maddistons’ lorrys or carving your name into the tar on the pavement wi a 6 inch nail and a big stone on a hot day......memories a’ll never forget.

Aw the best to everyone fae Maddiston,

 

Sean Cochrane

 

 

GARY ROBERTSON

 

Hello there, first I’ve got to say "well done" to David Leask for this brilliant website, brings back memories of my childhood before I got taken away from Maddiston when I was 9yr old by my real dad.

I’ve got to mention what a great place Maddiston was back then, (no that far back I’m only 35!).

Anyways I used to stay at 17 Forgie Crescent wae ma maw Janice Robertson  and step dad Wullie Hughes who used to be a miner at Kinneil Pit, ma gran and papa Jean and Jimmy Robertson (driver for Alexander’s buses) stayed at 26 Kendieshill.

The first memory that I can recall is going to primary school for the first time, ma maw took me hand in hand (embarrassing or what), can’t remember teachers names (the name Mrs Jaimeson and Miss Gow are in ma head for some reason) anyway I got took into a big classroom and we could play with almost anything, I played with building bricks and they used to have a sandpit in a big red plastic tub which was ma favourite.

From that memory to the main primary school when Mr Wilson was headmaster, Miss Hotchkiss, Miss Hunter, Miss McKerrel who we all called Miss Squirrel! and Robert Jack the janny to name but a few.

The old lady who's name I cant recall I used to get for music, we had to give a rendition of "JOHN BROWNS BODY LIES A MOULDING IN THE GRAVE" or "ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS" or depending on time of year "MY HEARTS IN THE HIGHLANDS" some Rabbie Burns song !! aww the memories.

All the boys used to line up inside the shelters that used to run along the back wall, and we used to sing at the top of our voices "WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED" or "UGGIE UGGIE UGGIE OI OI OI" then we used to rush down the wee stairs to the dining room underneath the school where Mrs Gentleman would give you your dinner, if you wanted extras you had to sit wae your hands on your head, I was always first in line for that one!!!

On the next playtime we would play kiss, cuddle torture in the alcove behind the main front porch, I especially loved that one!

Kids I can remember are Alexander and Jane Gibb, Sharon Ainsley, Alison Brown or Black, Iona Mcauley, Laura Rosenburg, Martin Patterson, (boozer) Wilson Gow, Michael and Raymond Fellows, Humbug Steven Scobie, Sweaty Betty, Shaun Bezler, Ross French, Peter Scobie, Frankie Hughes, Ian Cochrane to name but a few, oh I and I’d better no forget Lizzie Hunter, she was ma favourite, we used to walk through her mams sheets out in her back garden, slapping our hands the- gither and kissing as we passed each other, a thought a was in kid heaven.

When I wasn't being a kid I was going messages for auld Jenny Mcewan who hasn't really changed that much, wae her wee three legged dug Jess a think its name was nipping at ma heels. Then it was down to Mr Kanya at the foot of the bottom shortcut to go his shopping as well, a loved the responsibility.

Back to being a kid, I used to love going to Harolds shop that used to sit bottom of Cairneymount church hill and getting loadsa sweeties, then Maddiston and about 6 mile circumference was our playground. I remember we used to go down to Redding Bing to play all the time and under the bridge at the railway. Used to go to Steins and get steelies to play marbles at school or play fitba in the Whitecross park when I was in the 1st Muiravonside BB's.

I remember a time a group of us, Ross French, Michael Fellows and boozer, canny remember who else went down the level, found a plastic white bath and tried to sail in it down the level burn, what a laugh! Or when it had been snowing seeing who could get the furthest down the steel houses tunnel hill, we used to go all the way into the burn, the path acted as a ramp ...excellent, Talking bout that burn myself and probably the same crowd got down on our hunkers and walked through the drain all the way to the burn on the other side of the bus stance, creepy!!

Another place we used to play was the big white house that we were positive was haunted; it sat in the trees across road and down a bit from Polmont train station (Polmont House – editors note).

Right think thats enough, there’s loads more, this just a little insight to what life was like back then, and you know. The life I led after I got took away to Alloa to live; these times were the best childhood memories I could have asked for.

                                       Keep up the good work David

                                                          And

                                                    Thank You.

 

 

 Anonymous - until you own up to it!!!!!

 

 

I started with Smith of Maddiston in January1969 at the Birmingham depot in Wellington Rd, Handsworth. It was the first job I had driving large vehicles and I was really jack the lad with them.

My first job was driving the 4 wheeler that everybody called the pram on local work, I cant remember the fleet number but the registration number was GMS 336D, a Bedford flat.

I then went on to tramp work the wide open road my forte first with BJ418 (I think) a Bedford KM that seemed to leak air out everywhere, then a Guy with a AEC 505 in it which I fell in love with, then BJ441 LWG 646F which I did thousands of miles with.

I remember going in the train to Maddiston to pick up a brand new Guy TMS ***H for the trunk from Birmingham and again in the train to pick up an old LAD Leyland that had been fitted out for towing (40mph flat out in that).

I remember the six wheeler Guy and the six wheeler Scania 111 that they tried in fuel tests on the Maddiston trunk, I nearly got a go in that due to the shunt driver being late,

Things took a turn for the worse when the company moved to Aldridge, we all went on strike for more cash and we were out for 3 weeks. When we returned the drivers from another depot came and took everything. We all got the sack.

 

Anonymous

 

 

 

I was born in Maddiston a few years after the 1939-45 war ended (I was delivered by Sister Kate, who can be seen in the photograph with Mrs Shackleton in the Photo Albums part of this site.)

 

I have a faint memory of attending a mother and child clinic in the old Welfare hall before it closed and an even fainter memory of the old railway bridge at Manualrigg being infilled.

 

Coronation Day 1953 was a very big event as I can remember-what seemed like- half of Parkhall Drive being in my grandparents' house watching it on a flickering 9inch bakelite TV.

 

There were also several henruns between the rear of Windsor Crescent and the burn. Presumably these were a hangover from the war when people were encouraged to grow their own food. I wish I knew the history of them; I think Maggie and Johnnie Wilson had one. Whatever, they were gone by 1958 (at the latest).

 

Growing up in Maddiston I always felt that I had missed its most productive days. There was evidence of railways, collieries with bings- big, small,hairy, two duffs- big and wee, always sinister and occasionally lethal.

 

It is remarkable to see the roll for 1937, when so many of the residents were involved, one way or the other, in mining. Twenty years later, I remember thinking it a bit odd when Maddiston was referred to as a mining village as almost all the working population seemed to be commuters to other Falkirk/Grangemouth sites.

 

By today's standards the area to the west of the village was a total eyesore.

Yet to walk up the old railway on a warm summer evening was to get a glimpse of how beautiful the area was before the Industrial Revolution, when Maddiston was a rural village.It was also a moment of pride, when returning by car from Fife, to see the big bing, high on the ridge, above the Forth.

 

To the east of the main road the countryside was a bit more pleasing, more obviously rural-if you could avert your eyes from the sewage plant where the burns met, thankfully it's long gone.

 

The store, with its sawdust solid wood white lines and yellow lines, was one of the central meeting points of the village. Nearly all the staff were women but only Tam Rae could cut the ham on the cutting machine.

 

If you found yourself with mother in the drapery next door, with its dreary clothes ,you knew it was almost time to return to school.

 

Many people of the village obtained their groceries from travelling vans. There were many bakery vans and even a 'roll man' who delivered fresh rolls each morning, just like milk. Alas he had gone within a few years and the supermarkets have slowly ended many of the vans

 

 

 

By the 1950s the Blocks (pronounced Bloaks) were clearly in need of some renovation. I can remember often being in my granny's flat, with its gas lights and wet-battery operated radios (can anyone else remember children being sent out to charge these batteries, either at Renton's garage or somewhere in Rumford?) I can remember that the toilets always seemed to be very cold with condensation on the walls. There were also horrific middens out the back.

 

In the early 1960s there was a partially successfully renovation of the flats by Stirling Council but the building quality, by Carron Company, seems to have been poor.

 

I can remember a cottage down the level around the mid-fifties, with a bleeding dead fox hanging outside it. The cottage is long gone but how did it last so  long ? It seems like an event from an even earlier age.

 

The houses at Parkhall Drive and Windsor Crescent are still amongst the best council properties ever built in Scotland. They are comparable with the, slightly earlier, Westquarter scheme -or the Glasgow Anniesland scheme- but they remain a shining example of the best of state housing. They are also superior (overall)to the later Forgie Crescent, Cairneymount Avenue, and Rainhill schemes.

 

 

I have not referred to the years at Maddiston School, maybe another time.

 

 

 

 

 

Leanne Jean McLeod Cochrane

 

When I moved to Maddiston I found the people there very welcoming and down to earth.

My father was born in the blocks in 1937 so he knew a lot of people, the Grays, the Allison’s, big Jimmy Orr.

 I love Maddiston even though the scenery has changed a bit.

My grand father Robert Cochrane and my granny Jean McLeod are on the web site but I don’t know a lot abbot them. I saw some pictures but I would be delighted if anyone had additional information, I know my grandfather was part of the football team. There is also a Molly Cochrane, Jeannette Cochrane, Ian Cochrane, Andrew, Anne and my father, Robert. I am quite young so my nana and granpa where already gone before I wiz born.

Alex Marshalls was the best ever chippy and Wullie Gibbs’ wiz aw right.

I lived in Windsor Crescent and had my best childhood there, Maddiston is fantastic and I hope the people never change. I still go back and visit some friends from the village and I've no lived there for ten years but they’re friends for life.

If anyone has information on my family especially my dad it would be fun to find out as I'm told he was wild.

 

Fae Leanne Jean McLeod Cochrane

 

 I looked on this website in a wave of nostalga.  I have fond memories of holidays when my father, William McMillan, used to drive me, my sister and our mother in his Austin A40 Somerset from Kent to stay with his mother to Brightons. 

His elder brother was Charlie McMillan (my father would want me to correct the spelling, no 'a' in the Mc) who worked in the Post Office with my Great Auntie Bella (Hastie).  My grandmother, a lovely lady, was Bella's sister, Sarah McMillan.  I found Auntie Bella a bit scary but then I was a child and she would have been in her eighties.  Uncle Charlie would give us sweets for our homeward journey.  One day he gave bubblegum to my sister, oh what a mess when the bubble exploded.
Uncle Sam worked at Grangemouth, he married Nancy, a widow, who owned a butcher's shop but I can't recall the address.

I remember when the Post Office moved.  I didn't know the history of the original post office although I knew Auntie Bella lived there, probably I was too young to be interested.  I went back when I was 21, Grandma was still sweet but very old and failing, Auntie Bella had died, Charlie and Barbara were running the Post Office, they died in the 70's.  After Grandma died Uncle George, who had always lived with her, went to a flat not far from Charlie and Barbara. 

All the McMillan 'boys' are gone now.  Eight years ago I had a holiday in Scotland and revisited all the places I could recall.  The people in grandmother's house kindly let me walk around.  I saw the new Post Office but couldn't find the old Post Office.

I have such happy memories of my father and his family and those holidays in Scotland.  On every visit everyone used to say "You've brought the sun with you".  Now, living in wet Devon, I'm going to read the Memories Page.

All the very best to everyone.

Sheila McMillan

 

Patricia Sharpley

A long sleepy journey from Stoke-on-Trent, on a coach to Edinburgh, then the train to Polmont, to reach the magical place where my mother had had her own childhood. Magical because of the stories. Carron view , where it could be raining at the front and not at the back; where my Uncle Jimmy tickled trout in the burn; where my great grandfather had a farm called Furrinrig; where my mother was brought up by her father, Hector McNeil, widower, whose main aim had been to keep his young family together after his young wife died giving birth to my mother.

The names : Andrew, James,Hector,Agnes,Mary, Helen.  So there I was on my uncle's shoulders. His dark curly hair below me and the expanse of Polmont and Maddiston appearing with each step he took. My bed that night was in the box bed in 56 Carron View. My hand was slapped for lying when I returned to my English school and told the class I had slept in a four poster bed- well, it seemed like one to me.

The sadness was that I was never to meet my grandfather for it was the day of his funeral. My Uncle Hector had died too but I was in the care of Doreen, my older cousin, where we played on the piano and on the Green until cousin Jimmy put a cardboard box on my head and I ran , miles and miles, it seemed to the safety of Carron View.

Later , I had my first New Year and drank ginger wine at Helen and Jim White's wee gathering, where my mum was relishing a holiday in her home village. I was 11 so I slept through the bells as a result of my wee sedative.

Later years, I met David,Roy,Alison and Duncan, in whose company I had the experiences that I remember most vividly of Maddiston. The mystery tour to Burntisland; the long walk to Linlithgow Palace; picking rosehips and lovely hours of playing outdoors and the kindness off Aunt Lucy.

I stayed with Uncle Andrew and Aunty Belle and fed the greyhounds on chocolate and relished having relatives who had  a chip shop and a newsagents.

 

My grandparents were Willie and Grace (McLauchlan) Toye who lived at Mountjoy Cottages and then at 54 Dovecote Rd in Westquarter and I have many happy memories of spending time there.  Walks with my papa to what seemed like lots of swing parks in the area but my favourite was the one up at the top of the valley - the swings went higher!  My papa was a bargain hunter and always arriving with something from an auction - I remember a load of hockey sticks and golf clubs which we ruined - probably worth a fortune now! For a time he also kept a couple of lorries (called Steptoe and a tipper called Hercules!) at the Gutter Hole.  Their neighbours in Dovecote Rd was my aunty-granny Barker so called because she wasn't either - there's logic there somewhere! And a pigeon loft with a famous, to me, pigeon called Bobby and rattling the pea dish with Tam Barker trying to entice them home.  Going to Adams Picture House with my dad (Jimmy Toye), it must have been just before it closed or maybe even afterwards (they seemed to be friends and I don't remember anyone else being there).

The mobile shop was a revelation to me (I was only 3!) and Ali's Ice Cream van! and a Fish and Chip van!  well served and they came to you!!

 

FOND MEMORIES OF THE PLACE I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN, THANK YOU FOR THE TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE I COULD HARDLY WAIT TO GET BACK ON LINE, THIS BROUGHT ME MUCH NEARER TO MY MUM & DAD WHO BOTH CHOSE TO RETURN TO SCOTLAND THEY ARE BOTH AT PEACE THERE TOGETHER, SIMPSON DRIVE WILL ALWAYS REMAIN IN MY HEART I HAD A HUMBLE UP BRINGING ,ALL THAT I HAVE LEARNT IN LIFE HAS BEEN DUE TO THOSE YEARS SO THIS IS FOR MY PARENTS WHO LOVED MADDISTON.
 
I LIVE AND WORK IN NORFOLK THESE DAYS AND HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR SIXTEEN YEARS.
 
JEAN & ANDREW WILSON PREVIOUSLY OF SIMPSON DRIVE
 

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