Stephenson Street in 1947

Sketch, and names of some residents

By David Toynbee

Photo:Stephenson Street, Addiewell 1947

Stephenson Street, Addiewell 1947

David Toynbee

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Stephenson Street in 1947' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Stephenson Street in 1947' page

I don't have any old Photos, so sketched this from memory.

I lived at 24 Stephenson Street from 1940, when I was born, until 1947 when we moved to a prefab up at 15 Kirkhill Cottages, Loganlea.

The sketch shows some of the residents' names who lived in this block. The memory was triggered when someone inquired about Johnny Menzies who lived just along the street from us. I don't have any of our old photos so hope the hand sketch gives a good idea of the layout.

Stevenson Street and Davy Street were paved with building bricks. Must have been a lot of work to lay them flat like paving stones. The weeds grew up in the cracks between the bricks. The streets were maintained free from weeds by a very old man we called Old Mons. I was told that he had been shell shocked in World War1 and had never recovered. Hence his nickname.This was the job that the oil company gave him rather than pension him off. He did the work sitting on the bricks using an old file with the tang bent over to scrape between the bricks. Rain and shine he kept a neat street. Old Mons talked to himself constantly. We kids were'nt afraid of him but he'd occasionally wave his arms about with a shout. So we kept our distance.

In the summer, the ingin' johnnies ( onion  sellers) would arrive from France on pedal bikes hung with strings of onions. You could'nt see the bike for onions. We knew that they did'nt speak scottish but they were friendly enough.

And the knife sharpener came once a year. Again on a bicycle. The bike had a set up where the operator pedalled and turned the whetstone with the bike sitting stationary. All done down in the street.

The playpark was the heart of the village for the children. Even in the worst weather there was always some of us on the swings. It was maintained by the oil works although the facilities did'nt seem to need much repair. They were built tough. Made of steel and iron fixtures. And they took some beating. Especially the big roundabout, "the dunshie' which swung like a pendulum as well as going round about. I remember seeing it so overloaded that the iron bars would bend during the downswing. The chute was a favourite. higher than a kids play chute nowadays it was all metal and in the summer the slide could be polished with candle wax until the down speed would take your breath away. Polished the seat of your trousers as well.

Dave Toynbee

This page was added by David Toynbee on 06/01/2014.
Comments about this page

I remember that swingpark Dave, it would be about 1957. I was at St Thomas Addiewell we had a sports day there I came 2nd in a race and got a fitba for my troubles halycion days

By Tommy Woods
On 09/03/2014