I’ve been ploughing through my little collection of memories and conversations the past couple of weeks, and in sorting it, trying to impose order and a sense of direction on the whole thing – suddenly interesting things have started to happen. The same places pop up, the same knowledge but from a different hand. I’d never heard of ‘Whitewash City’ locally before, although now have heard it several times – and even more surprising, it is indeed Brydekirk, less than five minutes walk from where I currently sit! Curious-er and curious-er.
Whitewash City, looking remarkably unchanged since aside from the lack of vehicles. Available online here
So here is a sneak peak, a transcription of a couple of the shorter snippets stretching from Dumfries and the old Wolsey factory to the quay in Annan. Thanks to everyone who has contributed something, no matter how small or insignificant you may have felt it to be!
“It was a five day week and music while you work….that was in the Annan paper many moons – I’m talking about way back – and I thought well this is great, five day week, music while you work… aye, the music was only on half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon! and just because I was a mechanic and was on the staff, ‘you’ll have to work Saturday mornings,’ said I’m no working… ‘aye you’ll have to get paid while your off’… it was all just a con job!”
“My father, my father sold feeds and fertiliser for… oh…. Tweed, eh, Tweedies? Aye, it was Tweedies. Not the Tweedies that y’ken, Dumfries, but the Tweedies they were, eh, seed merchants and things like that at Annan. And I can remember going, when I was a little boy, to the quay, and watching the fertiliser boats coming in.” “Oh really? I didn’t realise there were boats coming in as late as that..” “Aye, and they used to come in to Glencaple as well – so there you are!”
“Niven’s quay, the one that’s Tommy.. Nicholson’s.. that’s known as Niven’s Quay because the company that purchased it, and owned Niven’s quay were Niven’s, em, Timber Merchants? Em, and they rented the quay out, they used to export cut timber from Niven’s quay and stuff like that rather than putting it on the roads and rail. So little boats came in, and then the boats that used to come in to take timber brought in fertiliser and all that kind of stuff.”
Old view (circa 1900) of Annan Harbour available online here