A 50s & 60s Boyhood

Recent pipelaying work has uncovered some of the old cobbled streets, which stirred some memories for me, of Rothesay. This to me was not Victorian history, but of life in the late fifties and early sixties, in fact not history at all, but my boyhood.

Montague Street, without its east end cut off, and all the shops with their coloured blinds down, was a magical place. The fish seller with his handcart selling whole 'haddies' from a box and wrapping them in newspaper, Shaw and Gillies horse drawn cart with Darkie the horse stopped outside a shop while deliveries were made, a sandwich board man advertising what's on, a raid up a close, where bins are stored, to collect chicken feet with the rings still on.

Going to the front where Uncle Phil's Punch and Judy was on, the red machine on the Prom with an arrow dial inside a circle of letters for selecting, and pulling a handle which punched your name on a metal band, the cow pen at the side of the pier, the Salvation Army playing at the Cenotaph, the words of the songs on the flip chart to help you sing along.

It makes you realise how much has changed, the old High Street, Ladeside, Mill Street, Bridge and Bridge End are all but gone, as is Lister's siren, sounding workers to and from the fields. Surely that was only a few years ago?

Sadly it was over forty, and there are now two generations who do not remember.

John MacCallum
My family has been associated with the island, on my father's side since 1900. My mother's family name was Rossi.

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