Document 821

Interview 08: Headteacher in North East Scotland

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): Prof Christian J Kay, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

M845 Well they, I was born in Sandyhills in the east end of Glasgow
F606 mmhm
M845 and eh earliest memories, [inaudible] I was thinkin that on the way in today that you would probably ask me that, my earliest memory was as a, a small under-five child being taken along for the wee sugar cube, if you remember ye got a dot of
F606 Oh yeah! [laugh]
M845 eh medicine on a sugar cube for some disease //whether//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 diptheria or whatever. //An I remember goin//
F606 //Yeah uh-huh.//
M845 along there to the, the medical centre wi my mum.
F606 Yeah.
M845 So that, that's probably my earliest memory but eh very happy days and eh unlike these days it was always, ye always stayed in the one house. //We only//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 ever moved once and eh we were in council housing and it was a swap //with a lady we knew//
F606 //ah//
M845 who had a, a two-bedroomed house //an we had a one-//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 bedroomed house so it was a, in fact it's the other way rou-, she'd a three, we'd a two, beg your pardon //an we s- we did a//
F606 //mm//
M845 swap as you used to do in those days.
F606 Yeah?
M845 But we stayed with my granny, she was in the house, she stayed with us
F606 mmhm
M845 and eh the whole family unit was there.
F606 Yeah.
M845 I mean in terms o- of language eh the- there were certainly words that, that my grandmother used which eh we don't //but we're aware of them,//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 eh words like 'ben', ben the //ben the lobby, ben the hoose//
F606 //ben [inaudible]// mmhm
M845 we, we know what they mean but we just don't use them anymore.
F606 Yeah.
M845 Eh 'doon the water' was a phrase which we all understand tae mean a, a sail on a, an old paddle //steamer down the water.//
F606 //Yeah [laugh]//
M845 We know it existed but we just don't refer to it cause they don't exist anymore
F606 mmhm
M845 and, ye know, an it's noticeable that my children now haven't a clue //and, they don't understand these things anymore.//
F606 //They don't understand the words, mm.//
M845 So it is gradually being lost, there's no doubt
F606 Yeah.
M845 ehm
F606 So when did you move north?
M845 Well eh when I married which was eh nineteen eighty-three eh, our first house was in Hillington in the, the south side of Glasgow,
F606 mmhm
M845 and it was two years after that I got my first promotion to Argyll
F606 oh aye.
M845 in the west coast.
F606 Yeah.
M845 and we were there for over seven years and I remember eh one of the local's saying there that I've never lost my dialect //eh while a lot o//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 people have been integrated and obviously pickin up the west coast lilt
F606 mmhm
M845 eh I never seemed to, Um but then eh moved back to south Lanarkshire, various jobs eh to Perth and Kinross and Crieff and finally up here //eh//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 five, six years ago now.
F606 Right, yeah.
M845 Eh I mean in terms of my, my speech if you like, I, I notice and it has been remarked, when I go back and I speak to my brothers //I do become//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 broader Glaswegian.
F606 Yeah [laugh]
M845 Eh, however, when I'm out, you know, obviously working but eh in other areas of the country, I assume this much more Sunday, dignified
F606 [laugh] yeah.
M845 speech.
F606 Right [laugh]
M845 ehm
F606 I mean, because the dialect seems to be stronger up here than it is in //Glasgow.//
M845 //Oh it is// eh and I've noticed that, that, that we have picked up one or two phrases //eh//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 ye know, may-, maybe it's a Perthshire phrase but 'the morn's morn' //instead of 'tomorrow'//
F606 //Yeah// uh-huh
M845 is one that, that we now naturally use
F606 Yeah.
M845 an it's, ye know, it's difficult to say when ye, ye begin tae change but //it jist kinda//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 by osmosis
F606 yeah [laugh]
M845 you find yourself adopting new words and phrases.
F606 mmhm
M845 um
F606 What about your own children, do they?
M845 Yeah ehm [inaudible] they, because we've moved around so much they don't really have any strong association with any particular area
F606 mm
M845 eh the- their births are registered in Argyll, //eh their//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 fondest memories were, of growing up, were probably in Crieff, //and here they are in//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 in Angus, living in Angus now.
F606 Yeah.
M845 Eh so, so they are eh kinda mixed-up kids //um//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 they, they, they've sort of adopted the, the same eh speech as, as me, my wife and I, my wife comes from Johnstone, //out//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 by Paisley and fairly indistinguishable, eh just the same as myself, //a-, and my, the//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 children are the same,
F606 Yeah.
M845 ehm you know, the- there is a, The- there is a sort of language that, that Angus people u- there i-, use, there is a, a lilt to their voice particularly and, and my children haven't picked that up.
F606 mmhm //[laugh]//
M845 //I don't know why.//
F606 Depends what age they were when you came up here, //I suppose, yeah.//
M845 //Yeah.// Eh my daughter was just starting secondary school so she was eh eleven and my son would have been much younger so he would have been seven
F606 uh-huh
M845 but again no real, no real distinctive //north-eastern//
F606 //mm//
M845 speech. Probably because they, so much time with us of course.
F606 Yeah [laugh]
M845 ehm
F606 So how do you like living up here then?
M845 Smashing, yes it's, it's great, um, you know, the proximity to the hills is, is super, the space
F606 mmhm
M845 ah it's far enough away from Glasgow and the south that you don't get pestered by people but //it's near enough//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 that they can visit if they want. //Ehm//
F606 //Yeah [laugh]//
M845 no, the quality o life is super an, ye know, ye, ye see the number of eh people that have arrived from all over //Britain,//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 ye know? We've got staff here from Shetland, all the way down to England, //Leeds,//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 and beyond.
F606 uh-huh
M845 Eh, ye know, people are attracted here by the same things as we are,
F606 Yeah.
M845 quality o life it's, it's really good.
F606 Cause this, they're building quite a lot of new houses, yeah?
M845 They are eh all over the place, eh within Laurencekirk they are //and eh//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 ye know, we stay in Kirriemuir
F606 mmhm
M845 and the only thing that's holding it up there is the, the, the limitations of the, the public amenities, //ye know, the,//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 they really need to upgrade the water and sewerage before they can add any more onto the system.
F606 mmhm
M845 So eh, yeah, building all over the place
F606 Yeah.
M845 and eh lots of people coming in, which is good.
F606 So the school roll's gone up then?
M845 It certainly has, yeah ehm when I arrived here in May nineteen ninety-nine the, the roll was four hundred and forty, four hundred and fifty //an//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 now, it's six hundred and s- fifty-four this year, //due to go up next year to around s-, just under six seventy we think.//
F606 //[laugh]// Yeah?
M845 So, yeah it's, it's, but, but next year will be the, the most, thereafter it will be falling,
F606 mmhm //[laugh]//
M845 //we just don't think it'll be falling as much as Aberdeenshire think it will//
F606 Right [laugh]
M845 ehm
F606 So are you very overcrowded or
M845 Very much so.
F606 uh-huh
M845 Uh we've had four huts or as they like to call them, 'relocatables' //but they're, but they're huts,//
F606 //Is that ah so?// Yeah [laugh]
M845 eh four huts stuck on to the back o the school to cope.
F606 mmhm
M845 But it's really in terms of the, the specialist rooms, the computin rooms and technical rooms an
F606 mmhm
M845 eh home economics that we really need additional rooms but they, these just won't be provided anymore.
F606 No.
M845 Eh in fact there's a public meeting tonight to look at the, the new school which is being //talked about,//
F606 //ah// //yeah.//
M845 //one of// twenty-four projects by Aberdeenshire, //so we//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 we hope to be part of that twenty point three million quoted as being the most expensive //option,//
F606 //Yeah [laugh]//
M845 so we hope to be that.
F606 For one building or
M845 For one building, //yeah.//
F606 //uh-huh//
M845 I mean I notice eh you have here eh, 'early days and teaching', //my, my first teaching//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 post was in Easterhouse in Glasgow //at Lochend Secondary//
F606 //Oh, was it? [laugh]//
M845 so I was there for five years,
F606 mmhm
M845 um //a-//
F606 //it's quite//
M845 and I remember s- know, teachers saying there's almost a subculture there within Easterhouse //ehm//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 i- it was a remarkable place at the time, it certainly has changed I know //eh//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 but at that time which was early ninteen-eighties, I was told it had the population of Perth
F606 mmhm
M845 and almost no facilities, //[inaudible] ye know?//
F606 //Yeah, that's//
M845 It had one shopping area
F606 mmhm
M845 and one pub and that was it.
F606 Yeah.
M845 Essentially there were three roads in
F606 mmhm
M845 to Easterhouse, eh one down to Edinburgh Road well, two down to Edinburgh Road in different directions, eh one out towards ehm oh there's a loch out by Lochend Secondary, a- and it really was a self-contained community, it was a remarkable place.
F606 mmhm //Mm but.//
M845 //Just// just heavin. //[laugh]//
F606 //[laugh]// //So what was your subject?//
M845 //[laugh]// eh Maths. //eh//
F606 //Oh right, yeah.//
M845 I taught maths there for, for five years.
F606 That's quite challenging I should think.
M845 Yes ehm, but having said that there were many many good families there at the time, //ye know?//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 Clearly it was an area of deprivation, but I remember one girl in particular who came to school every day with her, the old-fashioned white hose as we used to call them,
F606 uh-huh?
M845 eh school uniform, very smartly turned out because the family wanted her to do well.
F606 Yeah.
M845 And it was the sort of place, ye, much like Mearns in some ways, ye know, you could be different and you weren't really at the butt end of a lot of leg-pulling,
F606 mmhm
M845 ye know, people allowed ye tae be the way ye were //if that's how ye were.//
F606 //Yeah.// uh-huh
M845 Um i- it, it was a happy school; you obviously ha- didn't have as much of a top end
F606 No.
M845 of ability as you would do in some places, //but//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 I really enjoyed my time there, //and eh//
F606 //mm//
M845 kids were great.
F606 mmhm
M845 Ehm [inaudible] ye know and th- they used to, out on the pitches, there was an area of, outside the school about nine or ten blaze pitches, a huge area //and one//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 grass pitch for rugby,
F606 uh-huh [laugh]
M845 so they, they used to go out there wi their golf clubs at the weekend or during the week and they'd hit golf balls from one end of the, the rugby pitch to the other,
F606 mmhm?
M845 an when they were finished what the sport was that ye just fired the golf ball straight in the school, //so you, I mean, the glaziers were out//
F606 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M845 //three times a week,// //eh//
F606 //Yes [laugh]//
M845 repairing windows; it was an astonishing amount o money was paid out in broken windows. And eh, ye know, it wasn't unusual to find golf balls in your room in the morning. //[laugh]//
F606 //[laugh] [sigh]//
M845 Ehm, ye know, the, the more bizarre one was ehm I, I was team teaching with a, a teacher an she says, eh, "Gordon", she says, "come over here an see this", she says, "is that legal?" I says, "What?", she says, "Look oot there", and on the pitches there was a guy wi a, a whippet dog and he had a big sack so he reached into the sack and pulled out a rabbit //so.//
F606 //What, live?// //uh-huh?//
M845 //Aye!// Waved it in front o the dog an let it off an, holding the dog for a few seconds, set the dog off to chase the rabbit. Once it had run it down, brought it back, he pulled another one out and I don't know how many he had in his sack //but that [laugh]//
F606 //Good grief! [laugh]//
M845 that was him amusement f- //his amusement of a morning.//
F606 //Yeah [laugh]// In training his whippet //presuma- [laugh]//
M845 //Training a whippet for chasin, for chasin rabbits.//
F606 Oh that's a real community school //[laugh]//
M845 //Oh absolutely.// //So ye saw//
F606 //Yeah.//
M845 ye saw eh all of life there, that's for sure.
F606 Yeah.
M845 Ehm The school was, was eh just over the road from one row of shops which was the main post office for the, for Easterhouse, and it wasn't again unusual eh tae find, particularly elderly people taking the shortcut //between the//
F606 //mmhm//
M845 shops and the post office, havin picked up their pension to go home.
F606 mmhm
M845 So you'd find them walkin through the school //[laugh]//
F606 //[laugh]//
M845 "Can I help ye?" "Ah it's alright son, I'm, I'm just on ma way home, //I'll no be botherin ye",//
F606 //[laugh]// //Right [laugh].//
M845 //and they'd just toddle through and walk out the back door!// //[laugh]//
F606 //Fair enough, yeah [laugh].//
M845 So they, it was before Dunblane and security measures, //and so on.//
F606 //Yes, that's right,// yeah, you're much, ye have to be more careful now, //yeah.//
M845 //Aye, that's right.//
F606 uh-huh
M845 So.
F606 [tut] Well thanks //very much.//
M845 //So is that enough?// //Yeah?//
F606 //Yeah, that's fine,// yes, that's good.

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Information about Document 821

Interview 08: Headteacher in North East Scotland


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Mixed
Audience size 1

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous
Special circumstances surrounding speech Participant had been asked to select a topic in advance

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2005
Recording person id 606
Size (min) 13
Size (mb) 61

Audio setting

Recording venue School staff room
Geographic location of speech Laurencekirk

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Not previously acquainted
Speakers knew each other N/A

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 631
Year of transcription 2005
Year material recorded 2005
Word count 2237

Audio type

General description Interview about childhood in Glasgow and teaching career


Participant details

Participant id 606
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work


Participant details

Participant id 845
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Headteacher
Place of birth Glasgow
Region of birth Glasgow
Birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirriemuir
Region of residence E Angus
Residence CSD dialect area Ags
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Insurance salesman
Father's place of birth Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Clerical assistant
Mother's place of birth Glasgow
Mother's region of birth Glasgow
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work, at home, everywhere
French Yes No No Yes At elementary level - holiday/letters to friends