As was indicated in the past two newsletters our Alastair Martin (1967 – 71) contacted us recently. He is
secretaries, Mary Margaret Gordon and Elizabeth Spence, living in West Drayton, Middlesex now and runs his own
were looking for someone to take on the task of compiling company – Spekkles
the newsletter. Well I gather that having sifted through the
piles of applications and completed the rigorous selection Ann Swaby (Meiklejohn) (1957 – 65) discovered the
procedure I have been appointed to the post – yes I was the Club’s website on the internet and re-established contact.
only volunteer !! So who am I? I am Andrew Cook. When She is a teacher, now living in New Zealand.
the school closed I was just completing my 5th Year, and
anticipating a 6th year with some 6 or 7 others, instead of Alastair McNeil (1974 – 75) likewise contacted us by
which I transferred to Daniel Stewart’s & Melville College email. He is a businessman, living in Singapore
and a 6th year of some 60+. Academically I can’t claim to
have been a neuronal athlete, possibly because I spent too I was delighted to hear from Murdoch Ferguson (1968 –
much time indulging in rugby, fencing, squash etc., a 75). Murdoch was another who, when the doors of John
situation which continued at Stewart’s Melville as Isobel Watsons closed, transferred down the road to Stewarts
Wallis can confirm no doubt since she had the dubious Melville. Here he made his mark, not least on the sports
pleasure of teaching me there as well. Whilst at Edinburgh field winning Scottish Schoolboy international honours at
University, and for many years after, I played rugby with rugby. He tells us he lives in Glasgow and is a
Stewart’s Melville (FP) RFC. I mention this as it was photographer, capturing the rich and famous on film. Who
through the rugby club that my contact with John Watsons says you can’t make a living oggling at gorgeous women
was kept alive. In days of yore JWS (FP) RFC joined up and spotting famous Trainspotters ! I was amused to
with Melville College (FP) RFC and for several seasons unearth a photo of the last sports day at JW in which
played under the Melville ‘flag’ until Daniel Stewart’s Murdoch is receiving a trophy from Bill Garlick and Eric
College and Melville College combined. The combined Jackson. I had entitled it simply “Egghead–Intermediate
rugby club honoured its commitment to the John Watsons Boys Athletics Champion” a title I presume, by default, he
contingent; indeed as a staunchly ‘closed’ club it still holds !
continued to offer membership to pupils leaving John
Watsons School up until we closed. At Inverleith and Leslie Spoor (1919 – 25) Sent us a copy of a menu he has
Ferryfield I kept in touch with old, and made many new unearthed from the JWI Reunion dinner held in January
friends from the school. Sandy Booth, our former 1960. On the back of it are signatures of those present and
Secretary, served on the committee up until his death, include: Jack Spruce (1923), who was then a director of
Bruce Lewis played and latterly served on the committee, Mackies in Princess Street, Eric Montford a journalist,
and other players included Stuart Byrdone, Pete Gilbert Clark (Piggy), who ended up as a wing
McKendrick, Bob Kerr, Grant Stein, Hugh (Jars) Commander, Bill Garlick (headmaster), and Sandy
Blair, Lockhart Miller, David Johnston, Murray (never Booth, long time secretary of the JW Club.
hurry a Murray) Brown, and John Kerr. And there must
have been countless others I’ve failed to mention. Kathy Hardinge (Cook) (1967 – 75) lives in Malvern,
Nowadays my leisure activities are more along the line of Worcestershire. Having trained initially as a Medical
hillwalking and Scottish Country Dancing which I also Secretary she went on to take a commission in the R.A.F.
teach (eat your heart out Mrs Chapman !) where she was a fighter controller. Nowadays she works
for a private company designing and testing software for
But enough of me. How are you ? Who are you ? Where the air defence industry. It is thanks to her ability to talk
are you ? I have to confess to being quite amazed at Mary her computer illiterate brother through the vagaries of
Margaret and Elizabeth’s abilities to produce a couple of Microsoft software over the phone from vast distances,
newsletters a year when they receive so little feedback that we have a newsletter at all (she’s really to blame !!)
from those who attended John Watsons School. Their keen
eye for ‘kent’ names appearing in the papers and their Diana Cook (1967 – 75) transferred to Mary Erskine
diligence at trawling for any news has to be applauded. School and from there trained as a physiotherapist at
They will continue to serve as joint Secretaries of the John Addenbrooks Hospital, Cambridge. For the last 13 years
Watson Club and to be the invaluable link pin to the she has lived and worked in Vancouver, though this year
membership. But with the change in ‘editorship’ of the she took a sabbatical and has been working in Hereford.
newsletter can I appeal to all of you to keep in touch with
us. Let us know what you are up to, where you are living, Rosamund Beveridge’s husband sought help to celebrate
who you keep in touch with from the old school and any her XXth birthday to reproduce a piece she had printed in
news you may have of other JW former pupils. It doesn’t the JWS magazine, “The Signet”. Congratulations to our
have to be an epistle; a few brief lines to Mary Margaret archivist, David Drummond, who was able to produce a
Gordon or myself would be very gratefully received. copy from Issue 2. Other names of contributors (primary 2
so I’ll not embarrass everyone by reproducing the copy)
Some one who does corresponds regularly is Rev. Jack were Peter Gray, Ewan MacLeod, Rosalind Sked and
Scroggie (1929 – 35) and we were delighted to learn that Louise Rowan. Where are they now ?
in May this year he became a great grand father.
Congratulations. Jack also tells us he married three We were interested to read in the Scotsman (21st February
generations of the family; his wife, his daughter and his 2002) an article about haunted properties in which Archie
grand daughter ! Lawrie (1944 – 48) appeared in his capacity as Secretary
of the Scottish Society for Phychical Research.
The Club’s AGM took place on Saturday 14th September • Leslie Spoor has offered to lay the wreath on
2002 at the Menzies Hotel, Belford Road. Present at the Remembrance Sunday at the Dean Church.
meeting were; Ailsa Gillett, Jennifer Taylor, Elisabeth • Date of the next AGM was left open until it was
Cardinal, Murray Falconer, Leslie Spoor, Hugh known when the Plaque would be ready.
Leonard, John Loudon, John Hart, David Drummond,
Bob Glaister, Maggie MacGregor, Barry Laing, Ruffy Well that was more or less it. Several questions arose from
Fortune, Jean Carmichael, Marjorie Moore, Sheila the meeting, one of which was that concerning a function
Benzie, Ian Langdon, Hugh Pollock, Iain Smart, Mary to unveil the Plaque. Since the Plaque is to be installed at
Margaret Gordon, Elizabeth Spence and Neil Savage. the Gallery such a function should probably be there or
Apologies were received from; Archie Lawrie, John somewhere in the close vicinity. But how should we mark
Taylor, Bob Botcherby, Tom Hart, Graeme Brown, this occasion ? How can we attract more of our F.P.’s to
Annette Young, Karen Haig, Mike Pestereff, Dorothy come along ? If any one has any suggestions please
Fraser, None Hyslop and Richard Gillett. contact either Mary Margaret Gordon or myself.
Unlike past years it has been decided not to reproduce the As well as the Club’s AGM, many informal get-togethers
minutes of the meeting verbatim in this newsletter - take place which, sadly, we hear all too little of. Following
anyone wishing a copy of them can contact the Secretary the very successful Centenary Celebration weekend in
who will be glad to email it to you. Hopefully the June 1999, several of my year have met up again the
following will give you a flavour of what was discussed. following two years. It has been good to re-establish
contact with the likes of David Grieve, Pat Grieve
• President’s welcome (Carstairs), Jacqui Rose (Burnett), Clare Walker
• Art prize won by Sam Griffin (Chan), John Ferguson, Richard Watson, Dorothy
• ‘Destruction’ of the cricket pitch Green (Kidd), Lindsay Burns (Gray), Nicol Kerr,
• Treasurer’s report Christine Cameron (Lymn), Ghillie Strachan (Mackay)
• Plaque update – Bill Kirk the artist commissioned to and George Ogilvie. But where are the other faces in those
create the memorial plaque, is awaiting slate. Looking oh so embarassing class photos which everyone still seems
at a possible date of installation in the spring. There to have. If you have had a get together with some of your
was some discussion about a function to unveil the contemporaries please let us know about it, who was there
piece (see below). and, if possible, a photo or two (by the next newsletter I
• John Watson Foundationers’ Trust update – Hugh might have mastered chapter two of my computer book
Pollock reported that there were currently 4 pupils at and try to include some photos).
George Watson’s College and 1 at Kilgraston School.
• John Watsons Trust update – there was some
discussion on the Trust brochure and the meeting felt What do FP’s think of the new look front of the Gallery ?
that mention of boarding grants should have been The ponds and surrounding earthwork structure, designed
included, especially considering that by the terms of by Charles Jencks, has cost over £380,000 and taken two
the Trust one third of the money for dispersal is for years to build. Have you been to see it yet ? Why not take
boarding fees. There had been a fundraising dinner a trip up to the ‘old place’ and check it out. In fact you
during the year, and it is hoped to have something could always arranged to meet up with some of your
similar annually. contemporaries and have a mini-reunion. (The food in the
• John Watson’s History – Bob Glaister is negotiating restaurant is really rather good – not an opinion I ever
with the Gallery’s Retail Manager about the thought I’d be expressing about fare delivered from the
possibility of them stocking a pamphlet with a brief kitchens of this building !) Some will doubtless regret the
history of the school. Discussion whether this be sold destruction of this site of so many school memories, but
or free. Ronald Leckie has offered to scan the original time has marched on since the days when this was the
book onto the web – currently investigating the hallowed cricket wicket, rugby and hockey pitches that
viability of this. Harry Dakin guarded so jealously. The place is now an art
• Archives now dealt with through the City Archivist. gallery not a school. Hopefully visitors will be able to use
this structure as a garden , especially if other works by ,
David Drummond was thanked for all his hard work
for example, Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth can be
over many years.
incorporated. What think you ? Let us know what your
• Constitution of the Club. Following some discussion
and some minor dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s the
amended constitution was adopted.
Jonathan Owen, the John Watson Club Art Prize winner
• Discussion document for the committee to investigate
of two years ago, has had his work recognised by the
the pro’s and con’s of staying with the current
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. They have
arrangement with George Watsons or merging with
recently bought the piece which won him the JW prize.
the John Watson Trust.
• Re-election of office bearers – after some discussion Remembrance Sunday. Are you aware that the JW Club
the committee was reelected as a whole. The continue to honour those FP’s who died in the service of
Secretaries agreed to continue in post at least until the their country ? Leslie Spoor has agreed to represent the
installation of the Plaque, with the proviso that the Club and to lay a wreath on the Memorial Plaque, which is
Newsletter is taken on by some one else – Andrew now housed in the south gallery (the John Watson gallery)
Cook has offered to do this (“mug” – new ed’s wife!). of the Dean Church. I am sure Leslie would appreciate the
company of any fellow FP’s who care to attend the service
as well. Having been able to carry out this tribute a couple Before I wind up this newsletter may I make two appeals.
of years ago, I can assure you of a particularly warm Firstly, as already indicated, we need you to speak to us.
welcome at the Dean – many of the faces who taught Let us know your news and views, where you are living
boarders and others at Sunday School are still present in now, what you are up to, who you keep in touch with from
the congregation and were delighted to see some of the JW JW. We assume that folk are still interested to hear news
pupils return. Those who haven’t been to the Dean since from the Club if not let us know – we can take it ! The
the school closed might be interested to know that Secretary has asked on several occasions to be informed if
mounted on the walls in the stairwell leading up to the old you still wish to receive the Newsletter and details of any
JW gallery are many of those plaques etc that one future events. Everyone on the mailing list will receive this
sometimes wondered “Whatever happened to …….” letter either by email or traditional post, but here after only
including the Dux shield. those who have indicated that they wish to continue
receiving mailings from the Club will do so. It is worth
noting that more people have registered with the website
Having broached the subject of future functions with www.friendsreunited.co.uk than have contacted Mary
thoughts of the installation of the Plaque, could the Margaret ! Is this, perhaps, the way of the future ? Do
committee seek suggestions for other functions in the F.P.’s prefer to subscribe to something like the friends
future. What does the membership wish to see in the form reunited website then contact those they wish to, rather
of functions ? What form might the AGM take ? Would than continued contact through the Club. If so please take
enough people be interested in an informal dinner or the trouble to put a few lines on paper or on an email so
perhaps a ceilidh ? Or is the general consensus to have the committee do not continue to flog a dead (or dying)
nothing ? Let us know your thoughts. horse.
Secondly in an attempt to keep our costs down and save
the forests being felled for paper, may we ask that those on
OBITUARIES email, who have not already done so, let us have their
email address so we can send them the newsletter by this
Eleanor Ailsa Blackburn (Maclachlan) mode rather that snail mail.
1933 – 39
Mrs Sheila Mitchell (Maclachlan) 1933 – 41, wrote to tell
us of the death of her sister Ailsa Blackburn, who died on
26th April 2002 Andrew Cook email@example.com
Thomas Elridge 30 Craigmount Terrace
Died on 5th June 2002 Edinburgh
Died 2nd April 2002 Mary Margaret Gordon firstname.lastname@example.org
After his schooling at JWS and GW Des returned to South Secretary, John Watson Club
Africa at the end of the 2nd WW. Worked with ICI then 28 Craigmount View
became a computer analyst in the mid 1960s. In 1970s he Edinburgh
undertook missionary work, which led to an EH12 8BT
Died September 2002. Whilst neither a former pupil nor
member of staff of John Watsons School, Nancy had a
strong connection with it through her incredible hard work
for many years with the John Watson’s Trust.