Memories from Stewart Montgomery
It was Royal Buildings which started the old memory cells ticking away. It’s likely that what I’m about to say is, in the main, well documented in your records but I’ll continue anyway. I arrived in Newport in 1963 at the age of 14 and until I was 21 I lived at ‘Bloomfield’ No 2 Gowrie Street. I went to Bell Baxter School, as did my sister, travelling on the school bus run by Williamson’s of Gauldry which, on occasion used to break down, always on the way home never on the morning run to school I might add. The corner shop of Royal Buildings was, as I remember, quite large and was occupied by Jimmy Fairlie who ran it as domestic appliance repair business and cycle shop. Next door I’m sure housed the dentist and the Green Room Club but I could stand corrected on that, then travelling into the village the next house was occupied by the Blair family and Jock Blair was a PE teacher at Bell Baxter.
The Trustee Savings Bank was on the corner of Tay Street and Cupar Road with The Granary across set back off the road with a wooden bridge over to the front door. The Granary was used by the Blythe Players as storage and a scenery workshop. In the latter half of the sixties my father was the Stage Manager with the players, I was his assistant and together with a few willing helpers we were responsible for the post production work prior to each play presentation at the Blyth Hall. When everything was ready it all had to be manhandled in some way or other, usually on old pram wheels up to the hall. No mean feat in itself since this meant not only moving the scenery, props and costumes but a full steel proscenium, lighting switchgear, stage curtains and flies etc. The proscenium then had to be erected, curtains hung, the lighting fitted, wiring run, switchgear tested, scenery arranged and the stage dressed.
Walking down the south side of the High Street there was Beatt and Tait’s, with Frank Smith’s a little further on. Now Frank was a gentleman, I worked for him, firstly with an evening paper round then latterly also a morning round, meeting Frank at the station to get the papers from the train and sort them for delivery. I also worked in the shop on Saturdays, usually taking bets for the horse racing on the phone in the back shop, Frank’s nom de plume was Smudge Newport. Next door was Sutherland’s (now across the road) where my sister was a hairdresser. Further down the road was Smith Hood’s office which later, as I remember, a friend of my father’s took over as his office.
On the road down to the ferry there was the garage on the left and down at the bend opposite the post office was Jan Blicharski’s cobblers and leather goods shop also, if my memory serves me well there was an antique shop for some time where I used to pester the life out of the owner with all sorts of questions. I remember my father would use the garage for petrol but we used to take our cars round to lock up garages by the bridge at the top of Victoria Street where it joins Linden Avenue, it was run by Bill Edgar and Bob Reid.
As I said, I lived in Gowrie Street with the corner shop being run by Mr (Tommo) and Mrs Bain, round the corner was the Police Station overseen by Sergeant Paton and across the road was St Fillan’s Church, sadly no longer there which I’m sure had nothing to do with my sister being married in it.
Date of creation2020
Date of coverage1960s
LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC-BY-NC-ND)
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