Unfortunately very little is new. I have not really had time to do much with the site in recent years. Please do keep sending in any old school photos you may find from away back. I get regular enquiries from people who are looking into their family history and thought of maybe doing a page on this. My latest search is for anyone who has any living relatives of the Calders who lived in Catrine up to the late 50's. Alexander George Calder and his wife Jane (Jennie) who, prior to their deaths on 29/12/1955 and 02/02/1956 respectively, lived at 30, Newton Street, Catrine. He was the butler at Ballochmyle House back in the early 1900's.This picture opposite is of David Calder his son and I have had previous contact with the last Catrine Blacksmith's family who have fond memories of David being their fathers friend when they were growing up in St Cuthbert's Street Smithy. Nelson Jennings is researching his family history and the Calders are a part of it.
If anyone has any memories of this family I would be glad to hear from you.
Thanks to Colin Chisholm for the very good picture of The old Mill burning down.
I have added more school photos. Thanks to Leo Melaugh who kindly donated his school photo from the Birnieknowe, St Patricks' Roman Catholic School, between Auchinleck and Logan, where all the local Catholic children of our generation went for their Primary education. Thanks to Les Henderson and to Christeen Mclaren for the latest additions which I have posted in page 11 of the school photos page. I have also been given some of the names for a few of the latest photos.
I am now getting some new school photos published from the 60's through. Many thanks to all the people who have contributed to the collection. I just received another 4 photos + 3 school photos from Jean Hamilton nee Welsh. I have put them into my New Photos page.
I have deleted my Scotskids.co.uk early efforts to involve my grandkids with computing but I have kept the pages and they are still available at the Links page for future reference. I am pleased to say they have benefited greatly from being computer literate from an early age and are doing well. I can only hope that a greater part of my own generation take to using the net as they have so much to offer the wider community and are not really aware of how they could be in touch with people they know from all over the world who have access to a computer. All my older brothers have resigned themselves to the TV and see computing as being for mugs. I can't blame some folks for getting fed up with trivial things like facebook and twitter but there is such a wealth of knowledge at the fingertips of all through Google search facilities alone, and I can only hope that people will discover it for themselves. Wikipedia is a marvellous source of collective knowledge and it has answered all my questions for many years now. With the state the BBC funding is in at present it seems the TV is really a bit of a joke. I don't know where I would be without my computer connection? Also the kindle app for computers that lets you download any old book that's ever been published from Amazon to your computer or mobile phone. All the old classics are available free of charge and any good book is usually a fraction of the cost of the paper version from Amazon.co.uk. You can even get samples of any authors work to let you try the first chapter before you buy.
I received the names for a school photograph recently from Jimmy McKellar and I have started trying to remember the names of the ones I can remember. Please do send me your school photos or the names of the people in the collection I already have. I have been struggling to find one with me in it. I lost the only copy I had and people keep saying they have it but it's yet to appear.
I received two new photos from Doug Hood and I have made a new link to a New Photos page.
I also have received an album of photos from Inglis Thomson his grandfather took in 1937 when they were celebrating the coronation of King George VI. Have a look at the Catrine 1937 album. Each page has 3 to 5 photos on it and you could be looking at your parents or grandparents in some of these photos.
I got a new photograph from Shaun Reynolds of the Catrine String Band in 1893. Many thanks Shaun. I have linked it with the other Catrine Orchestra photos in page 5 of my home page photos.
I also heard that Dr. McCrae had died aged 96. I will need to see if I can get an obituary for him. He ran the Catrine practice for 40 years, taking over from Dr Allan way back before I was born. My mother always spoke highly of him and I can remember him catching me on the way out of William Cochran's chemists. I was looking at a rack of foot remedies by the door for corn plasters. "These young boys and their winkle pickers," he remarked to his colleague, on the way out. Of course I didn't take his advice 'till much later in life, as most young people do try to follow fashion. It actually got worse, as I can remember the shoes I got married in were platform soles. I had to take them off and walk bare foot up the street that leads up to the dental college in Glasgow the week before I got married, as it is such a steep incline, they were tilting me back down the hill. I didn't get into the sensible shoes 'till I was in my late twenties. I can remember when I worked at Fenner's in Cumnock, the canteen looked out onto the street where the school kids were on their way back to school after lunchtime. As young men we were then laughing at the antics of the platform soled crew as they clumped their way towards the zebra crossing. Come to think of it I got married from Fenner's and ended up being tarred and feathered and tied to the railings outside that same canteen. The good old days right enough. Young and daft. Now I'm old and daft, but I do get sensible shoes. But what about these shorts they are selling now that all come down past your knees. If you're just average height like me and not a tall person, you look ridiculous. I thought the whole idea of shorts was to be short. I can see the second hand clothes for charity bins being full of them.
I have made a link to my you tube page to give people access to my video pages if they don't have a compatible browser for the Video link. I live in hope of finding the time to make more videos to put into this facility. It's the same old story; like John Lennon said, 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans'. You never know. I might just surprise myself and start making music videos.
Lycos have discontinued their guest book facilities. I have copied all the old entries here. I have also completed my New Guestbook and it's much better than the Lycos one and easier to browse the old entries on a single web page. It is also completely free of adverts and the only external links are to the php script company who have kindly supplied me with the script for free to all non commercial users. I have kept the spam filters but they are easy enough to use. This avoids me having to constantly get rid of junk entries that are randomly generated via some websites. I have full control over this new facility and I wish I had found it years ago. Reading over the old Guestbook entries is very interesting now that you don't have to keep loading them 4 or 5 at a time.
I have added another obituary to my Local People page. Bill McDonald died on 7th February 2012 aged 65.
I have started to reorganise my photo pages so they will load a bit quicker for older machines or slower connections. I will be reducing the size of the photos so they load quicker and separating them up into smaller pages but you will still get a good sized picture in a new window when you click on each of the individual pictures.
Just received three school photos this time from Beryl Duncan. I have added one from 1954 and one from 1955 to my photo album under school photographs. The third one is from a newspaper cutting and I have put it on the front page for now. Beryl has been able to name everyone in the pictures.
I recently got some more old photos from Alex Mackay and Jim McDowall and Bob Meikle. Bob and Alex have relatives who were in Charlie Parker's Catrine Orchestra. They have also been good at naming most of the people in these old photos that go back a hundred years.
My father and his father before him and his father before him were all miners and they were all christened James Steele. I only recently discovered a song by a Davy Steele (no relation) from Preston Pans titled the ballad of Jimmy Steele. It's a haunting tribute to his father who was also a coal miner. Have a listen to it in my music menu. Or click here for the you tube version. Ballad of Jimmy Steele. Sadly Davy died with cancer a few years back. The most of the miners I knew are all but gone now and I would have liked to have heard their reaction to this haunting ballad.
Any old photos of Catrine's past are always welcome so why not get some of your grannies old photos out and scan them and send me your images. It's a shame how we never seem to appreciate a thing until we no longer have it and unfortunately old photos tend to get neglected and with the new digital age it's so easy to preserve them for future generations. In recent years I was told of someone having a photo of my mother when she was a young girl still in school and by the time I asked about it, the person who had it was dead and I have given up hope of seeing it. It's really sad how we tend to take these things for granted and I am as guilty as everyone else as I have lost or destroyed literally thousands of photographs in my time because we simply never knew their true value. We never could have foresaw what digital technology was going to do for us. All photographs of any quality can be so easily saved now for future generations to enjoy. And even badly damaged pictures can be restored in most cases. I became interested in doing my family tree a few years ago and it's amazing how important a time we are living in now in the sense of recording things for future generations to enjoy. I can see the next generation being able not only to read the records of births marriages and deaths of their ancestors, but with very little effort now, from our generation, they could have visual and oral records of their direct ancestors from digital photo and video collections.
In 2008 I was contacted by an Australian lady, Gladys Cutajar, whose grandfather James Graham was the chauffeur to Lord Sorn from 1912 until 1921. He then moved to Seamill, where he is seen in the picture below driving an old Albion. It's a cracker. Gladys also sent me some interesting photos that were taken at Sorn Castle and I have started to published them to see if anyone knows anything about them. Click on Gladys above to see all the pictures she sent me.
Catrine School Photographs.
I was recently given a great old photo of the staff from Catrine Junior Secondary by Inglis Thomson whose grandfather was headmaster of the school at the time the picture was taken. He recons it was about 1950 and we hope to be able to name the teachers. I was given another Catrine school photograph from 1955 and the pupils have all been named courtesy of Harry Rogers. If anyone has any enquiries about who's who I would be please to hear from them but I don't feel I should publish all the names without the permission of the people in the photo. Catrine folk know them all anyway and I hope they will agree that it's always interesting to take a look back in time. And it seems to be catching on because I've just been sent another one from 1957 with Mrs. Houston's class.
New Video page
This is a new feature and I am still in the early stages of getting the content to put into this page. Eventually I expect to fill it with original material of local interest but to test the pages and learn how to get them working properly for different browsers I've just used a very basic first attempt at a windows movie maker production. It really will take a broadband connection to get the best from this although it should work on a dial up but will take ages to download. There could be conflicts for some users who don't have the standard plugins or Active X controls on their systems. All these things are available to all windows users and they will usually load automatically. So I've also stuck a wee music button at the top left for anyone who's interested. Music is my first love and I will probably concentrate on music files for my new website projects. I sang in a band for a few years and I've been muted for years now just through circumstances. It's hard to believe you can actually get fed up with music but it happened to me. I suppose what really happened was that I was too busy doing other things. One of the silly things that always sticks in my mind was what John Lennon said about life being the thing that happens to you, while you're busy making other plans. Well I'm back among the living. And watch out because Rab's now learning the fiddle. They tell me my Grannie played it but she broke it over wee Wullie Gordon's back in a fit of rage one day so I never got to hear her play. She would always get on the piano at new year and vamp out a tune or two so there was definitely a good ear for music there and I'm also told that my father's side of the family were off the McNultie's who originate from Ireland as did our great, great grandfather and they were all very musical. I can never forget Billy Bates telling me his tale about the fiddle he had acquired. He'd been practicing away for some time at the back door when his neighbour looked over the fence one day and offered him 5 bob to buy it from him. Never one to refuse a bargain Billy signed the deal with a shake of the hand and his neighbour proceeded to break it over his knee and told him how it had been the best five bob he'd ever spent just to know he'd never have to listen that bloody thing droning again.