Elizabeth Dagg

(school teacher in Balerno, community aspects of mill)

2002/112, Elizabeth Dagg interviewed in her own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 26/11/2002

Elizabeth Dagg worked as a teacher at Deanpark primary school in Balerno. She has lived and worked in Balerno for over forty years. Father worked on the Balerno line railway in the 1960s.

000 Came to live in Currie, but had started to work in Balerno in 1955. Teacher in a rural education with rural education qualification.

031 Someone said to her when she went to Balerno that you would never leave Balerno and she never did. Taught children between 4 and 7, 22 – 30 in class in average.

056 1970 moved to new school. A lot of children were from papermaking families. 40% papermill workers children, 40% farm workers children and 20% were children of the top level papermill workers.

079 Children of managers went to local school till they were 7 or 8 and then went to private school. Left school unbalanced.

109 The horn went at 12 fir the mill. Also when the mill went in a certain direction could smell esparto, smelled like silage.

127 The mill was not noisy, more of a vibratory hum. Could hold a conversation next to the machines.

140 A lot of traffic went to the mills. From Galloways all the esparto and paper went in and out by lorry, trade constant. Galloways made glossy paper for magazines.

160 Galloways got caustic soda through the railways and that was the only thing that went in that way. No siding at the mill, would have to come up through the village. Father worked on railway.

177 Kinleith men would get the offcuts from the paper.

182 Paternalism of Galloways, giving paper to the school

202 Could use facilities as long as you lived in Balerno. Bowling club given by Scott of Malleny, not part of Galloways. A percentage of profit ploughed back by Galloways into Balerno. Description of Kirk land of Currie.

238 Family feeling in mill. If children wanted to carry on at school had to go to West Lothian. Very able children who could have gone on to tertiary education, but the mill was good money.

278 Electricians, plumbers i.e. Skilled labour lived in Piani row, ambition to have a piano. Mill owned houses, not actually a lot of property.

303 Not many outsiders went into the mill. Village had 3 churches.

314 Pubs in the village, people from mill went to the grey horse. Description of mills in the village, village politics. How quickly gossip spread round the village.

361 Balerno took a while to accept you, but when it did it did for life.

393 Modernisation, coating plant for specialised paper. Gave mill an extension of its life. When John Galloway died it altered attitudes in the mill.

408 Bernie Walton took over, came in as manager. He put own money in. Not easy person to get along with. Mill stopped making paper, a lot of papermakers went at that time, wide spread. Running mill on coating plant, still had finishing.

440 DRG taking over. Walton got a bad press. DRG wanted premises easier to work with so closed up.

453 Centre of village life gone. Tradesmen, some went to railway and other industries

460 Tradesmen had to move out of houses, you automatically qualified for council houses. Lost middle to top layer of school when tradesmen and children left. Stability of the village gone.

483 Shops in the village suffered when mill closed. Main meal of the day was midday, children started to come in for school meals more. The pubs closed and shops closed in the village.

503 Eventual closure was not marked as gradual. Remembers seeing the machines go.

513 Knew that Galloways would close. A lot of spells on short time.

518 Kinleith railway siding, had a tractor. Raw material came in and paper went out. Most paper at Kinleith went for books. 10 wagons a day went in and out. Railways closing as a direct result of the mill closing, father helped to make decision.

546 Railway ran along the river and was too windy when there was a good bus route.

553 Variety of mills, not segregated. A number of women went to Waddies, they knew that Galloways women were skilled.

556 Mill got trades holiday. May gala in 1969 restarted. Mill gave lorries, enter decorated lorries. Edinburgh September holiday went to Blackpool, 5 or 6 buses left from the mill. Went from Friday to Monday, mill and school started again on the Tuesday.

584 All families from mill went on trip, only real holiday they got.

605 Mill dance held at Baron suite at Gorgie. Possibly before Christmas. All mills at mill would go

640 Mr Galloway, stout man. Father Christmas physique. Came into school occasionally to see how things were going.

670 Kinleith closing from an industrial view had a much bigger impact. Not much notice, quickness of closure. People from Kinleith did not try and get jobs at Galloways as they knew it was on its way out.

701 Red sandstone offices and canteen on left. Offices on right which they shares
with Smith and Saunders. Access to the mill was limited. Mill building mostly brick.

725 Fire at mill, it was partly destroyed and rebuilt. When the road was blocked when deliveries going in and out, place in mill where lorries could turn.

748 Floors were slippery in mill. Potchers and beaters. Paper was whitened with caustic soda, men wore gloves. Papermaking machine had a moving screen to release water. Dandy rolls. Paper wound round rolls around 6ft wide by 4ft.

788 Good safety record. Broken leg, but not very many accidents. Finishers suffered with papercuts.

806 Kinleith would pallet paper onto trains, Galloways had little palletting. The mill was on Bavelaw Burn

823 End.

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