In 1949 I left Newtongrange Primary school at last and went to study at the high school, which was located in Croft Street in the middle of Dalkeith.
Nowadays, people know that those buildings house King’s Park Primary School. Things were completely different long ago.
There were only two classes in our first year at Dalkeith High School. That seemed to be a very small amount of children to start high school, as the pupils who opted to go there came from lots of other places as well as Dalkeith. However, there were far fewer children living in this area long ago than there are today. The Second World War was not long over and no new houses had been built for any incomers to swell the intake.
It was only in 1950, when they began to build the huge housing complexes which we all know as Mayfield and Woodburn, that things changed radically.
There was one class for people who wished to become shorthand typists – as this skill was very much needed at the time – just after the Second World War had ended.
If a certain level of proficiency was achieved, a very well paid job was the hard-earned reward. A very pleasant gentleman called Andrews took those classes and all the girls liked his methods of teaching and enjoyed learning this new skill.
Some of my very best friends at primary had already decided to enrol in secretarial studies and went on to get lucrative employment when they left school. Very few boys ever decided to take the chance to be taught something new. After all, the general thought was that that sort of thing was women’s work, but the girls who had decided to be shorthand typists saw it as a great opportunity to get on in life and not be so dependant.
Read more of Christine Grieve’s feature in this week’s Advertiser. On sale now.
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