GWLC - 58 ST ALBAN'S ROAD In my photograph album, I have a picture of a little girl dressed in her school uniform taken on 17th September 1947. She looks rather serious. There are no badges on her uniform, she wears a schoolbag on her back, and she is clutching a "slipper bag”.
That was the great occasion of my first day at the Preparatory Department of George Watson's Ladies' College in St Alban's Road. The next picture, taken the following day, shows a smiling Hilary with blazer and hat badges sewn on by mum!
The "Prep School”, as it was fondly called, was a large detached house with a garden. On the ground floor, as one entered, there was the Nursery classroom on the left (for the privileged few - and Classes C and D) on the right. It was in Class D - Miss Moody's - that my school life began.
Beyond the Nursery was a room where we had singing, percussion and gym. Upstairs, there were rooms for Classes A and B. The next year, I went upstairs to Miss Riddle's, Class A.
Above the front door was the Sick Room. I was shut in there once because I had knocked over and smashed a vase of twigs while carrying a chair on my head, (not allowed!). I shivered with fear as I looked at the strange instruments on the medical trolley, wondering what Miss Bowman (the Head) was going to do to me!
Our uniform included a maroon blazer and hat, a navy burberry, a navy pleated tunic, a white square necked blouse, indoor and outdoor shoes, and "gymmies" or "rubbers". In winter we wore thick navy "nap" coats and a black velour hat with a brim, bearing the school hat-band. My Auntie knitted cardigans and jumpers for me in those post-war years, with maroon and white bands on collar and cuffs. In summer we had panama hats, whose crowns rose if they got a soaking! We also had gingham dresses with a tiny red, blue or green check. Our mothers had to buy the material and then find someone to make them to the school pattern. The dresses had square necks, and puffed sleeves. Gym was done in our blouses and navy knickers, with elastic that dug into the top of our legs! Sports were held on a grassy area on the other side of the road, where there are now modern flats.
School began at nine o'clock and finished at one. Mid-morning, we had "playtime". We each got a third of a pint bottle of milk, but I don't remember taking anything to eat. On fine days we played in the garden. There was a sandpit and a swing. The latter was in great demand, and unless you were very quick at changing your shoes, you seldom made it to the queue in time to get a shot!
We learnt to read “The cat sat on the mat." Nothing so cool as Janet and John for us. Each of us had a tin of square coloured pastels. I found a large collection of drawings and paintings when I cleared out my parents' attic. My mother had kept the lot. I liked craft as well, and still have the old style jam jar, which I decorated with gold paint as a Christmas present for my mother. My dad got a notebook with a paint-spattered cover!
After two years in the Prep, we moved on to the big school” at George Square. Some time later the house next door was bought, and 1, 2 and 3 Junior (P3-5) moved there. When GWLC joined the boys in Colinton Road, the houses were bought by the bank, and in 2005 they were converted into flats.
Hilary M Rae, Class of 1960