A legacy for future generations

The Newtongrange Reminiscence Group meets in the local library once a week.
The Newtongrange Reminiscence Group meets in the local library once a week.

The Newtongrange Reminiscence Group started in 2011 and now meets in Newtongrange Library every Thursday at 6.30pm.

I had been giving a talk to some local primary school kids about life for my generation growing up in the Second World War and post-war years in Scotland with all the austerity and hardship associated with that period in our history.

They did seem genuinely interested and it occurred to me that there were so many other people of my age group and older who also had similar memories and experiences and it would be great if we could somehow record them for our young people and future generations and so the group was formed.

We would spend some time remembering our school years years – teachers – favourites and feared! Lessons, war-time school meals and the dreaded belt! How life was dominated by the wireless (radio), Saturday matinees and summer trips to Portobello and North Berwick, life without television, the internet and Facebook.

Basically, it’s an opportunity for some of the older members of the community to get together for a wee chat about the old days, things they have in common, like the austerity of the post-war period. For example, rationing did not end in 1945 but in some cases went on to the early 50s and very few families had a car.

I tried hard to record as much as possible of our conversations and discussions. It became a very popular Thursday evening in the library and we are still going strong with a regular attendance of 12 to 14 people. Our oldest member is Bob Leithhead from Easthouses who, at the age of 98, is a regular. Bob has been a member since we started in 2011 and very rarely misses a meeting.

At the moment I have passed on my record of our meetings to a friend who is typing it all and hopefully we will somehow or other manage to produce a modest booklet. All are welcome to join the group.