A wander through the village circa 1956..........

I start my walk from the football field up the Airntully road known locally as the Rex (Recreation Park) wearing my normal footwear - tackety bits.  There's a hand pumped well outside the football pavilion and inside there's hot water and baths for the Stanley City Boys  and their opponents on a Saturday.  Willie Stevenson (Coalman Willie) often asks me to run down to  Pantons shop in Russell Street to get Lifebuoy soap for the players.  The school sports are also held there but we don't have the use of the pavilion.  The Janny, Davie Jeffrey rigs toilets in the corner of the field for the lassies to use made with hessian cloth (to give it a posh name) -  they're  actually old split tattie sacks.

As I get to the crossroads I can see McNicolls the joiners house across the road and if I look left I can see Stanley Farm run by Captain Scott and his brother Jim helped by the gaffer Andra Malcolm.  I can't see the piggery at Lynton run by Dick Boyce (Pig Dick) and his gaffer Gordon Jolly but I can smell it.

I turn down Perth Road and see the quarry on my right past Geordie Sutherland the baker's house and to the left is St James' Church.  It's being used as an annex to the school just now.  On one side of the Kirk is Beech Cottage where Mrs Morris lives and on the other side is Mrs Bendall's house - the first one in Stanley to have venetian blinds.

Turning right into Margaret Street I see St James' Manse and opposite the road is Ross's shop where we get our penny liquorices and pink paraffin for the Aladdin heater in the hallway of our house. (Health and Safety would have a fit nowadays). Further round in Manse Crescent the prefabs are on my left and on the right Hugh Kerr Currie's fields where we pick tatties in the October school holidays. Our house, at No 10 is  made of Swedish timber and it was said that I was the first baby to be born in Manse Crescent after the houses were completed in June 1947.  Over 50 years later my parents left this world in the same room where I entered it.  Our house looks over Petrie's berry fields and Burnside Farm on the right.  In fact Petrie's berry fields are all over Stanley and that's our job during the summer holidays.  If you were a clean picker you might even get a job at Burns' strawberries at West Tofts.  

Now into James Street I see Eddie Cargill the butcher's house on the left and at the end of James Street is David Fleming's tattie yard also on the left where Bob Barron is his gaffer and the shed where Bradley Thomas mends his fishing nets on the right.  The bus stop is at the end of James Street and I cross the railway bridge and see Cargill's butchers shop on the right before turning left into Russell Street.  At the end of Russell Street is Willie Stevenson's coal yard on the right and next door to it Panton's shop.

Turning right down Mill Street is the hostel where lots of foreign lassies (and Fifers) who work down the mill live at the end of East Brougham Street.  Just opposite the hostel is Lena Smith, the Registrars house.   I continue my journey down Mill Street and see the Linn Road on my left with the tarren houses and further up is Petries farm - Shielhill.  Opposite the Linn Road is the Wee Free Kirk and at the back of this the new flats in Murray Place.  At the junction of Store Street on my left is another of Petries berry fields.  This field used to be Stanley's football pitch before the Rex.  There's a tinks encampment at the top of the field and the bairns attend Stanley school with us.  

Into Store Street  is Jimmy Hancock's shop on my left where we used to buy single cigarettes - penny blueboys - and opposite the road is Bendall's shop.  My father's yard is almost next door to Bendall's with ladders, planks of wood etc protruding from the top of the storage space. Next to it is the green where many an argument was settled with fists after school.    At the end of  Store Street I look left down Charlotte Street and see the bakers shop halfway down on the left where Tot Smith and Andy Mitchell  make lovely morning rolls and in the distance Stanley Tower Church where the Reverend Nairn McLeish is the Minister.  Straight over into Percy Street is the Co-op on the left where Co-opy Duff rules the roost assisted by the amenable Ernie Green.  Over the road is Jimmy Haggart's - High Class Draper and Newsagent.  I deliver his papers along with Joan Halley.  Next to Haggart's is the Masonic Lodge and further down on the same side is another shop, P D Smith.   Opposite PD's is Paterson the Butcher from where his son Whistling Norman will usually emerge on his message bike and at the end of Percy Street is Geordie Cramb's Post Office where Beth Kennedy works. Abby Duff and Kenny Paul's electrical shops are over the road from the Post Office. I look over the main  road and see Stanley School, the Bowling Club, Telephone Exchange and the red Phone Box. Opposite is also the beech hedge that the blind man cuts perfectly.  If I look up the Feus Brae I can see The Episcopalian Church, St Columbas  on the left and the War Memorial is next door to that.  Including the ground, hedge and railings it cost less than 900.00 to construct in 1924.  The money was raised mainly by public subscription - a huge feat in those days and an example of the good community spirit that existed then.  The Tennis Court is tucked in at the back of the War Memorial and the swings are further up. There are noisy crows in the rookery in the trees at Sandy McLennan's who runs the blue and white buses between Perth and Spitallfield.  Jimmy Logan the entertainer used to visit Sandy and on one occasion even flew over the village in a helicopter dropping sweeties (he'd be fined nowadays for dropping litter).  Wullie and Stewart Buchan's garage is further up. On the right is the Dispensary where Doctor Hall, Doctor Paddy McDonagh, Doctor Walls, Nurse Forsyth and Miss Pirie tend the sick and the Police Station where Jimmy Cant lives.  On the Police Station notice board the most exciting notice  to watch out for is about the Colorado Beetle because it destroys tattie crops. 

Turning left after the Post Office I walk across the village green to Bella Campbell's shop at the top of King Street.  I stand for a minute and look across to the Strathord Pub in Duchess Street run by Alf Lindores helped  by Eck Coutts and see Jock Cameron's Bakers Van getting filled up with petrol at Culberts' garage opposite the pub.  Further up that street is the house where the St Johnstone and future Scotland manager, Bobby Brown will soon move to.  I can just see the Sheiling at the bend of Duchess Street where the Henderson's live.  Angelo Cura's shop is at the Cross.  Great home made ice cream. Chips are 3d a bag and a fish supper 1/3d.  There is also a snooker table in there where you're "supervised" by his daughter Mary. There is a great big support pillar in the snooker room and good players like Rolo McIntosh and Barney leave the white ball near there for a "Stanley snooker".  This means using a 3 foot long special snooker cue kept there nicknamed "Pedro".  Angelo collects his fish in his motorbike from Stanley Junction railway station on a Thursday I think and he occasionally gets up the pub that day. Jock Cameron's baker's shop is next to Angelo's.

Past Bella Campbell's in King Street is the Bank of Scotland and next door is Jimmy Smith's Grocers shop. The smell in there is wonderful and you'll always get a kindly word from his wife Mrs Smith. Ann Williamson works there but will emigrate to Canada soon.  There are notices in the shop window for local dances and anything going on in Kinclaven Church where Mrs Smith worships. Opposite the shop is Granny Donaldson's and my sister Alma will go round there on Saturday to get  Granny's messages from the Co-op.  Past the shop is gardens on the left and there is another hand pumped well at Mrs Macdonald's shop and Geordie Cowie the plumbers.  At the end of the Kirk drive is Geordie Sutherland's bakers shop and if you venture underneath his shop the burn that marks the parish boundaries runs through a tunnel there as it makes its way down to the River Tay via the Well Brae.  We used to splash around in this before turning up for Jock Culbert or Beth Kennedy's Sunday School class.  At the end of Charlotte Street is Sandy McLennan's bus garage and across the road is the Well Brae.  Jim Robb lives in one of the cottages there.  Jim has a severe skinhead haircut and 40 years later they'll become fashionable.   Past Jim Robb's is Alex Kyle's the painters and finally at the end of King Street on the junction with Mill Street on the left is Clarkies pub known locally as "The Byre".  We're now at the top of the Mill Brae but we're not going down there today. The gates to the curling pond are opposite Clarkies where we catch tadpoles, puddicks and sticklebacks in the spring and play ice hockey in the winter when the ice is thick enough. 





Jim Donaldson     August 2005


Fred McKerchar's memories page

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