General > Mrs Janet Kirkby
Mrs Janet Kirkby

I was born at Hillside, Tealing in March 1912. My father, Adam Key, had to go over the Sidlaw hills on horseback to Glamis for the doctor -no telephones or cars in those days! When I became a pupil at Tealing Public School in 1917, I joined my sister Agnes who was two years my senior. The teacher was Miss Thomson and Dominie Dunn was the headmaster, who was also the Registrar of births and deaths. Eleven pupils from Hillside attended the school, six from the Patterson family, three from the Chalmers family (my cousins) and two Keys. Together we were known as "The Hillsiders".

There was a soup kitchen run by Miss Marr and we all took our own sandwiches, not in boxes like today! The toilets at the back of the school were not the "flushing type" and certainly not hygienic by today's standards. Mr Dunn was owner of one of the first cars in the district, a Ford named the "Tin Lizzie"! During school hours when he was driving the car we ran to meet him to get a hurl in this modern contraption. Slate and slate pencils were the main mode of writing, but we did possess one jotter in which we could write an essay. Heating was from two large open coal fires, one in each room.

In 1921, we all attended the Dedication Service for the War Memorial. It was a memorable day and we sang the hymns we had rehearsed at school beforehand, "Now Israel May Say" and "How Bright Those Glorious Spirits Shine". If the weather was inclement, which was often, the horse and cart from the farm transported the children through the deep snow. In March in the lambing season, my father and the shepherd spent many a night tending the sheep and their lambs. Pet lambs were often in the kitchen being fed from a bottle. There was no electricity or gas, so heating and lighting came from coal fires and paraffin lamps. After I passed my 11+ exam and gained a Carnegie Bursary, I went to the Morgan Academy in Dundee, cycling the seven miles each way in all types of weather.

(Mrs Kirkby is now retired and lives in North Berwick. She retains a fondness for Tealing Kirk as she was married there in 1939. She recently came back to Tealing Primary School, accompanied by the Rev. Sydney Graham, to share her memories with today's pupils, a visit she found "most enjoyable").

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