John Henderson's Childhood Memories of Cambusbarron
The following has been provided by Mr. John Henderson and who recalls
his memories about his six years living in the Schoolhouse Cambusbarron.
He also recalls his experiences, among many things, the setting up of
the Cambusbarron Community Association in the old Cambusbarron hall by
other "well kent" local names. For further information on Mr. Henderson
you can find previous submissions at his own site by
The autumn of the year 1949 brought us to Cambusbarron on my father's promotion to Head-teacher of its primary school and I experienced equally fulfilling rural days there throughout the rest of my village and town schooling years.
The transfer to Cambusbarron took some time in preparing as my mother Nancy refused to move there until the Schoolhouse was totally renovated to her satisfaction. For a home that had housed the great Dr John Grierson as a laddie it was sad that the 'Cooncil' had let it get into such a dreadful state by the Summer of 1949. When the redoubtable Mr Jimmy McKinlay the Education Committee Clerk of Works met us on site we found - the house and garden was stinking of cats because Mrs Webster the former heedie's wife and village Post Mistress had been well known for her love of these creatures and her collecting of every such 'waif and stray' in the village - no kitchen, just a wee scullery - no Raeburn to heat water and cook on - everywhere horribly antiquated oil wall papers - a definite need for complete electrical rewiring - dampness adding its distinctive smell to the existing pungent aromas etc. etc.
Suffice to say Mr McKinlay had such a regard for Nancy and JNK that within two months he had moved 'mountains' in his budgets to make the house habitable, including making a completely new very well equipped kitchen in what previously must have been a nursery for cats and kittens. It was a relief when we moved in during September that the pervading odour was not male cat 'pee' but the stench of new paint emanating from every nook and cranny ...... This 'palace' proved to be a super house for Elizabeth and I to spend our teenage years and as we thought then and later, well worth the fuss Nancy had made to make it all possible. To give you an idea of where we had landed and the exciting new village life that awaited us, I'll let you see some annotated sketches that I have made recently of the village at that time; a village so conveniently only a mile from the heart of historic Stirling itself - only a twenty minute walk away, only a five minute bike ride to the tennis at the Kings Park or Williamfield cricket ground ... plus a half hour bus service courtesy of Alexanders' then pretty dilapidated rural buses running alternately to the Riverside and Woodside Road in the Raploch, Stirling. As you can judge from this sketch (shown on right) and the next one (below), the house was big and roomy, the school was just a fa' oot o' bed distance away, the church (and its blessed or accursed chimes every quarter of an hour) inescapably nearby, but most importantly, the chip shop (and snooker hall behind it!) a mere leap over the wall at the foot of the massive garden.
The snooker hall and of course the Pub were no go areas for youngsters like us but otherwise we were just about free to roam anywhere we wished in the area, encouraged to get to know the village folks, and them us, but all of this certainly dependent on our doing our chores around the house and garden and, no matter how reluctantly, always coming in at once when called for meals or bed-time.
Thus we met many adult characters, among others, ..... Dougie Scott, (who referred to all children as their parents' wee chuckie stanes), the legendary village slater and thus renowned as the local high roof Houdini - his indispensable workman 'Rolly' and his beloved wife Bunty Ross; Wingate our milkman who delivered by horse and cart; his boss Taylor Robertson and his herd of cows; Davy Hughes, a fervent Stirling Albion fan who organised the supporters' bus out of the village every 'away' Saturday; Willie Thomson, the Polmaise Estate factor, whose fearsome demeanour belied a dry sense of humour and his great desire to serve the community with all the energy he possessed (as long as he was elected chairman and had JNK as his Hon. Secretary!), all the Johnses in the paper shop, the Fletchers running the grocer's, Davy the butcher, Hamish Fergusson the coalman, Johnny McEwen and his sons, and 'straicht bool' Peter McDonald, the champion boolers, Mrs Atterson of the WRI and Women's Guild, Mrs 'tingel a leerie' Bell the school cleaner and our 'baby-sitter', Margaret Muir in the Church Choir and Sunday School; Mrs Stocksley our piano tutor; the dependable village ploughman 'Wull' Ferguson; Jim McLeod (of great fame latterly) in his early days of playing with his Band at our local Scottish Country Dances; and last but not least the venerable John Donaldson, (the unofficial 'Provost') retired joiner and undertaker living just across the road from us.
Most of my unforgettable experiences, apart from with childhood pals,
revolved round being with, or working with, some of these folks just
mentioned and perhaps those dealings with Wingate and Davy Hughes are
most worth relating, at least in part, here. Wingate the Milkman and
John Henderson his assistant at twa bob a week . The next picture (on
right) shows what I looked like ( but less well dressed!) when (as an
embryo future ideas man !) I volunteered (for nothing but curiosity
initially) to shorten Wingate's early morning-round times by cycling way
ahead of his horse and cart on my mother's bicycle, its basket laden
with milk bottles, heading for more distant doorsteps ........ Suffice
to say it soon became worth two bob a week to me from Taylor Robertson,
his dairyman boss, when Wingate became available for other work about an
hour earlier than usual after every morning round. (© MR John Henderson
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