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John Scullion Born: 1931 Leith, Edinburgh

Only twa women in my life ma wife and ma daughterI was baptised in south Leith Church. We lived in a room and kitchen. There were six of us, five sisters and me, but there’s only two of us left now. I went to Doctor Bell’s School. I was left handed and they used to tie a duster round my hand to stop me using it. We used to go apple stealing at Lady Balfours. We would just swim over the dam and climb over the wall.

I was 13 when I left school. I worked in an office at first, in the railway station. I needed to give my mum my first pay packet and I got a half crown back. I always wanted to have horses so I became a trace laddie. I had ropes and used to put the rope on the horse’s braces, and pull them up the hill at the Brewery. We didn’t pull the cart, it was just the horse. I worked there for three years. I also used to move the scenery from the theatres. We got over-time on a Sunday for that, after they dismantled the show on a Saturday night. I still like the horses and I would go to the Dalkeith Chow Fare. I liked the Clydesdales, they used to do their mains up with ribbons. After that I got a job in the Merchant Navy. When we had the family I left the Navy and came on shore. I’ve worked on the buses, and I worked for C J Brian doing removals, then I went into the pits after a dispute. I was a miner below ground for about ten months, it was claustrophobic and we were all hemmed in. I was in the Lady Victoria, it’s a museum now in Newtongrange. I then moved above the pit and became a driver. I was a driver for Aitken too.

North Africa when I was a soldierI was in the army in 1948. I drove the motors, three tonners and wreckies. I was in Germany and Salisbury where we did the Salisbury Plains trainings. I was on them when there was a strike in London, where all the workers at the slaughterhouse went out. The army had to deliver all the stuff to the butchers.

I am just holding it in case it falls downI used to go to the Kirkgate for the dancing and to Stewarts at Abbeyhill, the Empress, and the Leith Assembly Halls. Fairely’s and the Eldarado had wrestling and dancing. I met Cathy in the Empress Ballroom in Dalkeith on a Sunday night. We had to travel three mile to get a pint because we needed to get to a hotel. I asked her to dance, I just liked her and that was it, we just seemed to click. We met in the February and got married in the October, and it’ll be 53 years come the 1st of October. We got married in Saint Nicholas Church Dalkeith, and we moved into Cathy’s mothers along the Drive. I was 23, Cathy was 19. We had our son Daniel in 1957, 1 year and 3 months later our daughter Jessie was born, Jacqueline, John, William, and Marie were next. I had 3 boys and 3 girls. We have 17 grandchildren, and 5 great-grand children, unfortunately we lost one of our great grand children. One of our grandsons delivered our great-grandson in the kitchen. The paramedic said he’d done a good job.

Let me go let me goWe’ve been on quite a few holidays. We went to South Africa twice to visit our niece, but they’ve moved to Kent now. I was in Singapore with the Merchant Navy, and I did a trip to the Mediterranean, Malta, and then Beirut, the Suez Canal and Spain. I spent Christmas day in Malta, and Cathy was at home with the kids. We used to go to the Navy Club. We’ve been to Dallas and Virginia. We’ve got a grand-daughter over there in the states. We don’t go abroad anymore because the insurance is colossal, but sometimes I just take a chance and go down to Bristol to visit family.

I try to be self-confident and do things for myself, but I sometimes need my wife’s help these days. It can be embarrassing but at least it’s my wife, it might be different if it was a stranger. I’ve been left handed all my life, and it’s the left side that went. We go up the miner’s club and play bingo and dominoes. I like going to Woodburn, it passes the time away. We had a good Christmas party there and a Halloween party. We get a good laugh, and do lots of things like beetle drives, basket weaving, bingo and colouring pictures. I’ve being free and easy all my life and wouldn’t                                                                   change a thing. If I could help someone I would.

 

John

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