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Nostalgia | 30th January 2020

Langholm with the Lid Off


In his introduction to Langholm with the Lid Off, author Wattie Bell, writes:
I was born on 22nd August 1920 doon Kumasi being at the time the other side of the track; so to speak, whereas the New Town was better class “West End” on the right bank of the Esk
Kumasi encompassed the houses facing Arthur Bell’s Mill, Charlotte Street and the houses down “The Little Walk” (Maxwell Place) facing what used to be the Farmers Store (and before that
Lightbody’s Mill)
I was born “second door from the bottom” facing Arthur Bell’s and Waverley Mill.
My first recollection of this earth was, as I now realise, seeing the telephone wires along the riverbank, on the cinder path at the side of Bell’s and Waverley Mills, going up and down and listening to the sighing of the wind through the wires like some phantom violins.
As my mother also suffered from asthma and wheezed as she pushed my pram, I would like to tell you that I became a virtuoso on the violin.
But no, had this been a novel or TV story that is what would have happened. But this is a history of life in Langholm in the period 1920-1996 and the truth is that I have difficulty in whistling two consecutive notes of the
National Anthem.
But remembering Albie
Tedham standing there with a fag drooping from his lips as he coaxed “The Londonderry Air” from his fiddle, a lump comes in my throat and a tear to my eye and I can still see my mother as if she was standing in front of me

More from Wattie’s book next week.
Pictured is the class of ’29.
Back row: Willie Gibson, Stephen Cairns, Dougie
Lanchberry, Jock Grieve,
Angie Ellis, Tom Hogg, Jimmy Carmichael, Billy Bell, John Campbell.

Second row: Irene Birkett, Nan Greig, Netta Morrison, Frances Robson, Gladys Liggins, Madge Tolson, Mary Corrie, Helen
Irving, Molly Beattie, Eva

Third row: Wull ‘Timpanheck’ Grieve, Nan Roddick, Ella Kay, Mary McMillan, Nell Richardson,
Jean Carruthers, Mary Hamilton, Jenny Ovens, Bobby Jardine, Mary Harkness.

Front row: John Erskine,
Walter Cairns, John Graham, Willie Black, Wattie Bell, Jock Borthwick, John Wightman (the dentist) and Tom Irving.

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