Voices of Scottish Librarians Voices of Scottish Librarians. The evolution of a profession and its response to changing times, compiled by Ian MacDougall and edited by Alan Reid and David Fletcher. Published in 2017, in association with John Donald, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd.
Conducted in the 1990's by the social and labour historian Dr Ian MacDougall, these conversations record the experiences of 14 individuals working in the public library sector across Scotland over the preceding 60 years. The publication includes an introductory essay from Professor Peter Reid, Professor of Librarianship at Robert Gordon University, on the history and cultural impact of the public library service in Scotland in the 20th century.www.birlinn.co.uk/Voices-of-Scottish-Librarians.html
Journalistic Recollections Voices of Scottlsh Journalists, personal recollections by Scottish Journalists, compiled and edited by the Trust’s research worker, Dr Ian MacDougal, was co-published with Birlinn Ltd in November 2013 and is available in print and in e-book format for £25 direct from Birlinn.
Twenty-two journalists from throughout Scotland were interviewed, including four women: the earliest started work in 1930 on the Perthshire Constitutional and together their recollections cover most of the twentieth century. Among the papers where the journalists worked are dailies such the Scotsman, the Glasgow Herald, the Aberdeen Press and Journal, the Dundee Courier, the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Express, the Scottish Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Daily Herald and the Daily Worker. The Sundays represented were the Sunday Express, the Sunday Post, the Sunday Mail and the Sunday Sun, and local weekly papers from the John O’Groat Journal to the Dumfries and Galloway Standard. There are descriptions of what it was like to work on such papers as well as on hours, wages, working conditions, colleagues and on various events, garnished with amusing anecdoteswww.birlinn.co.uk/Voices-of-Scottish-Journalists.html
Bondagers Bondagers (Tuckwell Press, 2001) presented the recollections of eight women who had worked as bondagers on the farms of south-east Scotland. It has quickly sold out but it is hoped that a reprint will become available before long.
Oh! Ye had to be careful Oh! Ye had to be careful (Tuckwell Press, 2000) is the edited recollections of eleven veteran workers employed between the 1930s and the 1950s at the former Roslin gunpowder mill and bomb factory in Midlothian, which had flourished for 150 years before its closure in 1954.
Onion Johnnies Onion Johnnies (Tuckwell Press, 2002) contains the recollections of nine French Onion Johnnies (one of them a woman) who worked in Scotland.
Voices of Leith Dockers Voices of Leith Dockers: Personal Recollections of Working Lives was published for the Trust by Mercat Press in 2001. It consists of edited interviews with seven veterans. A reviewer in the journal Contemporary British History wrote,"Historians should be grateful for projects that preserve the past in this way. But this book deserves a wider audience, for it depicts the world of hard manual labour, practical skills, closed shops and tough but hard-won trade-union power. It is a world that we have lost but should not forget if we want to understand the regional and class divisions that continue to fracture British society."
Miners' Association Minutes 1894-1918 Mid and East Lothian Miners' Association Minutes, 1894-1918 were published by the Trust in 2004 in association with the Scottish History Society. They are among the earliest known surviving minutes of any miners' union in Scotland and the first of any trade union to be published in full.
Lewis in the Passing Calum Ferguson's Lewis in the Passing: Twentieth Century Autobiographical Sketches was published by Birlinn in 2007. After retiring from a distinguished career as a teacher and then with the BBC. Calum Ferguson, between 1989 and 2003, conducted interviews with twenty-one people who have spent most of their lives on Lewis, all born before the second world war. Some of the interviews were in Gaelic for which there are parallel translations.
image Voices of Scottish Librarians
image Journalistic Recollections
image Bondagers
image Oh! Ye had to be careful
image Onion Johnnies
image Voices of Leith Dockers
image Miners' Association Minutes 1894-1918
image Lewis in the Passing

The Shoe Shop

Co-operative Society worker's recollections

Contributed by:

Mrs Isa McKenzie (née Cameron)

Clydebank Life Story Group


The Shoe Shop



May and I were fourteen when we started work on the same day in 1943 as Junior Shop Assistants in the Central Footwear Department of the Clydebank Co-operative. The Department was a recent addition to what was and still is known locally as 'the Big Store'. Although it had a two door frontal entrance of its own, it was linked by an inner galvanised roller door to the main shop. However in recent years the footwear department was moved into the main store and the extension was sold and now operates full of gambling machines.

There were six female members of staff ranging from fourteen to twenty and two older girls. A female Assistant Manager and a male Manager.

This gentleman was in his fifties, about five feet five, slim built and very bald. He was always very smartly dressed in either a dark or speckled grey tweed suit and all accessories to match and of course highly polished shoes. In the winter he wore a heavy light coloured trench coat, a soft hat, or a heavy dark cloth coat with a bowler and of course an umbrella. Very dapper.

His ego as manager in such a large co-operation was tremendous and his hobby of horse-riding also boosted this.

The Assistant Manageress was an unmarried lady in her late forties, always very smartly dressed, who in her twenties had been in a train accident and had appeared to have recovered well from her injuries, until a year later when sitting at a meal one day her Mother asked her why she was looking so stunned? And she said she couldn't hear anything at all.

Investigations found that she was now stone-deaf and it was a delayed result of injuries received in the train crash. Unfortunately there was nothing in the way of hearing aids etc that could be any help and she had to go and be taught how to lip-read which she became very proficient at. To give you an instance - one day she had told off one of the girls who, when she was finished, turned her back on her and started to murmur about what she thought of her ticking off and the deaf lady said: ' And don't you talk about me like that!'.

She was a small lady but a very strict disciplinarian. One of the rules was no more than three shoes out at time when a customer was trying on shoes. I don't know if she thought it looked untidy or whether they thought someone might whip a pair into their bag when you weren't looking, but if you were found breaking this rule she would call you away from the customer to behind the showcases and give you a dressing down.

When you heard your name being called form her office as she was checking the previous day's sales, you knew you had probably made an error in calculation or taking the requisite number of ration coupons (clothes) from a customer and you would be dispatched to collect same. What an embarrassment!

One thing we found out on a staff visit to her home was she was a very talented pianist and it made the fact of her deafness even more tragic.