Stanley Memories 1958 – 1976

  Stanley,,,,whit a place. I’m sure it was the inspiration of many a t.v. soapy.

For Peyton Place, read Murray Place,

Coronation Street, read Store Street,

East Enders, read East Brougham St.

In Stanley there’s more larger than life characters and dafter stories than any of these shows. Unfortunately they can’t be told on this medium, to protect the innocent you understand! I’d have Pete Cameron round with his handcuffs (he’s retired now but I believe he still has a use for them!).

I’m sure the 070707 reunion will be the place for all the best and worst stories to be discussed, dissected and embellished. The News of the World has been alerted.

  I spent the first 18 years of my life at 28 Athole Drive.

When it rained in summer we didn’t need to go doon The Linn for a dook. Naw, there was a rare wee swimming pool outside the Stewarts house. We’d block the drain (I think we called them condies then) and the street would fill with water. The O’Briens, The Lakies and The Stevensons were usually the first ones in.

Across the road from me was Toghal Ferguson (Alan), my best mate still to this day. He was actually Toghal junior , as his big brother, Ian was the original Toghal.

Above Toghal was Dave Melville (the Mountain Goat). He used to send Toghal round to Gudge’s shop for his baccy. He’d wait at his upstairs window ‘til Toghal came back and get him to chuck it up to him, to save him from going up the stairs. I remember one day Toghal threw it too high and it got stuck in the roof gutter. Gone was Daves weekly supply! Never did find out why he was called the Mountain Goat. If anybody knows, and it’s printable here, I’d appreciate it!

One Christmas Toghal got a battery operated machine gun. While playing outside we noticed that when it was fired, it made Marion and Alex Kennedy’s t.v. go fuzzy. We had a bit of fun with this. Waiting until Alex got up to bash the telly and we’d stop. We’d start again when he sat down. This would go on all night. Sorry Marion if you’re reading this.

I remember collecting football club coins that I discovered were exactly the same size as a 2 bob coin. When my Mum gave me 2 bob for the electric meter, I’d put in the football token. Then the meter man came to empty the meter…sorry Mum.

We grew up with the age old Stanley tradition’s of mischief as laid down by the kids that went before us: tying the opposite doors together in the Store St closes & filling up newspaper with dogshit, setting it alight outside a close door and knocking on the door. The person would come out and stamp out the small fire. Messy, and probably would get you arrested now, instead of the boot up the backside we got when caught. To anyone who fell for this, it serves you right, as you probably did it yourself years earlier.

  I’ve covered every inch of every street in Stanley, helping my Dad, Coalman Willie on the coal lorry, delivering papers for Miss Pirie, milk for Jimmy Currie, and messages on the Co-Op bike and mail as a summer relief postie. So I’ve loved seeing all the old photo’s on this site and remembering the names (and the papers they read, how much milk they got and what their Saturday Co-Op shopping list had on it!)

Here’s a few names and places and what they mean to me:

  Doon the Linn – summer holidays, Fifers, and folk from Edinburgh and Glasgow all in holiday fortnight mood. Lot’s of extra lassies for the boys to perv at.

  The Back o the Mill – parties in the Hat Tree, Wallace’s Castle, floating doon the river on car tubes. Jock Tyler’s orchard

  The Curly Pond – did someone really stick a straw up a frogs arse and blow it up? Or is this a Stanley urban legend??

  The Tennis Courts – I think they saw more courting than tennis!

  The Swings – we often played fitba there if we couldnae be bothered going to the Rex. You’d have to beat the swings, the roundabout, the bushes and the long grass as well as your opponent. No wonder we produced some braw footballers.

  Gudge MacDonald’s Shop – Gudge always gave us young lads a hard time. I got him back though when we went decimal. 3d became 1p. There were 4 x 3d in a shilling but a shilling became 5p. I rushed round to his shop and got 5 x 3d ice poles for my shilling. Gudge was still scratching his heid when I left. “How’d the wee bastard do that” I’m sure he was thinking

  The Stanley Bykee – the street gang who’s name struck fear into the hearts of the Perth Pack, Lochee Fleet and the Glasgow Tongs during the 70’s. I haven’t heard much of them now though. Perhaps the wheels fell off!

  Eddie Taylor’s café – It opened when the Monkees “I’m a Believer” was No 1. It was forever on the jukebox. Didn’t stay open for long though. The youngsters would sit for hours with a poke of chips between us. Sorry Ed. Eddie used to take me to boxing at the Perth City Boys Club.

  Petries berries – I remember a girl, who shall remain nameless, asked me how I managed to get so much juice in my berries. She stuck her fingers in and sooked them. I didn’t have the heart to tell her!! Miggie, if you’re at the reunion, I’ll let you in on the secret. I might have to buy you a drink or 2 afterwards.

  Here’s some of the nicknames of my time. If you email me the real names of everyone I’ll buy you a beer at the 070707 reunion.

  This lot went to primary school in the sixties:

Solid, Fifi, Toots, - I’ve put them together because they’re in the same family.

Spud – I pierced his ear with an ice cube and needle. It got infected

Lush – I pierced his ear and it was ok!

Bambi – one of the daftest buggers I’ve known. Now a Minister in Australia!

Dodge – his old man was a colourful bloke.

Scab – always seemed to have a few.

Toghal Jr & Toghal Sr – who thought up that name?

Blaw – lived in Store St

Clug – from a big family in Mill St

Bugsy – has a famous brother

Whistle – had one of the first colour tellys in Murray Place. We used to watch Top of the Pops at his hoose.

  This lot are older but I remember them well:

Geordie Rabbit - he used to lower down his Co-op message book from an upstairs window with his fishing rod

Gudge – sent me on an errand with an envelope that had me visiting every shop in Stanley. Wasted a whole morning on APRIL FOOLS DAY. Bastard! I got him back though.

The Mountain Goat – he’s in an earlier story.

The Virginian – often seen on his bike.

Willie the Tink – toughest bloke I’ve seen

Chrissie the Tink.- used to chase us with her pram.

Spooky Smith – it was the house. I don’t think I ever saw the man.

Jock the bus driver

Peg the ticket collector

Drew the pools man

Bert the milkman

Willie the Coalman

The Bat & The Beeler – from the same family as Solid, Fifi & Toots!

Jeanie wi the lump on her heid – Sorry, this is totally politically incorrect & insensitive but she was a great character in Store St.

  I still visit Stanley every time I’m back in Scotland. I’ve shown my 4 daughters where I grew up and told them most of the tales (the ones that could be told). I’m sure they don’t believe the half of it (I’m beginning to wonder myself!).

  So, why did I leave the village?........ Itchy feet…..really. Tinea can be a bugger. I was sitting in Dr Hall’s surgery, and like all teenage boys, made straight for the National Geographic. I found one with an article on “The Changing Political Role of Zulu Women in the New Zimbabwe” Sounded visually promising, but someone had already torn out the pages (probably Lush took them home to ponder the issues). Anyway, the next article was on Australia, how vast, how hot and how people were making their fortunes in the gold fields. I knew there and then that this is where I wanted to go.

  So here I am, 24 years in Australia, but I’ll always be grateful to Stanley for a wonderful start to my life.


Will Stevenson 1st June 2006