Margaret Dick

Margaret, who lived in Fountainhall for many years, was a teacher and later in life taught the piano and played the local church organs for services.

Margaret had some notes that she had made about functions in Fountainhall in the nineteenth century. She had found this information in old newspapers in the public library.

January 1878 – ball held in Granary at Fountainhall. Mr. Fairgrieve played the violin.
August 1888 – 560 children, teachers and friends, from Fountainhall and Stow, went up to Portabello and, headed by a piper, marched to Joppa. This was a Sunday school excursion.
February 1889 – Dance in Fountainhall school hall. 'Upwards of 40 couples danced to the enlivening strains of the violins.
July – picnic at Hooliston past Pirntaton. It was a fortress – no trace of it now but it was in ruins in 1972. The local community had a picnic there every year. There was a lot of singing.
Feb 1892 - Annual social - music until 10 at night and then dancing until 4 am.

Mr Fotheringham, who was school master at Fountainhall in 1907, was appointed Presenter in the UF Kirk as they didn't go in for organs. A Presenter would lead the singing. He would sing a line and people would copy him. I remember when my husband was an Elder, at the Assembly in Edinburgh, there was a Presenter who started the psalms and then the rest of the men would join in. It sounded tremendous.

My grandfather played the harmonium for the 'Band of Hope' in Glasgow. He got his harmonium as a wedding present. Both of my parents played the piano. My father also played the organ and sometimes deputized at the church in Leeds where we lived. My mother was a teacher of small children and had a great fund of songs to connect with whatever the place or circumstance. I remember the song she sang when me or my brother were cross.

Cross patch draw the latch
Sit by the fire and spin
Make a cup and drink it up
And call your neighbours in.

By the time she had sung it we'd have got out of our bad mood. When I stayed at my grandparents' house, I would sing myself to sleep. Their neighbour was a doctor who worked night shifts. My singing would interfere with his sleep. I remember him complaining.

My mother would also recite Louis Stevenson ditties.

Dark brown is the river
Golden is the sand
It flows along for ever
With trees on either hand.

Another song my mother sang was:-

The Wind the wind the wind blows high
The rain comes tumbling from the sky
Andrew Gentle says he'll die
If he doesn't get a girl from the rolling sky

At school we had a good music department. The teacher was a lovely pianist who gave recitals on the radio. In the sixth form we had quite a few visiting musicians coming. In the 1940s Leon Goosens, famous oboe player and member of the London Philharmonic orchestra, came to give a recital. I met him later at Galashiels academy where he gave a recital many years later after school. I bought a CD and he signed it for me. He had recovered from a very bad accident which had damaged his mouth thus affecting his playing. He had to learn to play the oboe again as his embouchure had changed. His father had been a conductor and violinist, Eugene Goosens, and had dictated which instruments his children should play. The eldest also conducted. Another was a horn player who was killed during the 1st world war. He felt the only suitable instrument for the 2 girls to play was the harp. Marie and Sidonie played at the proms.

At primary school we had singing lessons. There was a choir at secondary school. The choir sang for Speech day. It was war time and the black-out law stopped people getting around in the evening. There was an orchestra at school started by the geography teacher. She was a good violinist. I was encouraged to play the cello which was cumbersome to carry around, particularly as I had to travel home on the tram. The school had a very nice organ. The schools where I taught, Bridlington, Manchester and Kendal, had good musical traditions. I taught history.

Radio programs were a big influence. I remember particularly - These You Have Loved – Doris Arnold – a weekly program of classical music. Desert Island Disk – Roy Plumley, was also a favourite.

I was evacuated for 3 years. I remember dances in my teens with songs like.......

She was Sweet 16 Little Angeline

Underneath the spreading Chestnut Tree

When the Poppies bloom again
I'll remember you
There beside the river Seine
When we kissed anew

When you Told me not to Cry
Held me tenderly
But that kiss was our goodbye
You are gone from me

as sung by Vera Lynn -There are two more verses.

More people had pianos in their houses in those days. In 1937 my mother bought a piano for £68. I think that my mother's aunt left her money, and this was used to buy the family piano.

I sang in choirs. I now belong to the Clef Club in Galashiels. I play with 2 or 3 other people giving recitals in old people's homes. There is me on the piano, a violinist, cellist and flautist.

2009 I remember going to Leipzig to see B minor mass at St Thomas Kirsche where Bach was buried. I had first heard it in Kendal at a music festival.

I used to go to the Halle orchestra concerts in Manchester.

I remember seeing the English contralto, Kathleen Ferrier, who died in 2003, singing The Dream of Garontius and in Scarborough seeing her give a recital with the classical pianist Gerald Moore. I was lucky enough to get both their autographs.

Miss Ella and her sister ran the draper's shop up the Earlston Rd. Miss Ella taught piano. My step daughter went to her for lessons.

I also had some piano pupils when I lived in Fountainhall. I taught 3 of the Bowes Lyon children. Charlie also learnt the pipes at his secondary school.

Archie Fisher used to entertain at the Rural parties. The Samuels came to Fountainhall. Their twin boys played music and formed several bands.

My husband's family lived in Fountainhall for generations. His great, great grandfather, called William Hislop, ran the smiddy. I came to Fountainhall when I married in 1972. 'The Rowan Tree' was my husband's favourite song.

The church organ in Stow was given by a Mrs Freer in 1905.

Organ players
1907/8 Mr. Bernard He also gave recitals.
Mr. Leckie
Early 1970s – Bertie Anderson. He didn't drive so there was a rota of elders who picked him up from Clovenfords.
Bill Foster, head teacher of Fountainhall
Mrs Dawson, married to farmer at Cathpair.
Janice Duncanson, piano teacher up Earlston Rd
Margaret Dick - Church of Scotland was short of organists so she and others were sent on a course in Edinburgh to learn a bit about how to transfer their piano skills to the organ.