SR’s editor compiled many thousands of notes for his books 'The Invisible Spirit' and 'The Broken Journey' on the life of Scotland between 1945 and 1999. Many of minor interest never found their way into print. For this daily series, he has rescued some of these abandoned scraps from the dustbin of history.


September 1958


Dr Nairn R Cowan, medical officer of health for Rutherglen, gave the results of an assessment of the opinions and lives of 443 men, aged 65 to 93, who attended the local health centre. Religion (52%) was the main 'hobby' of the men. Other recreations included theatre or cinema (25%), TV (15%), politics (3%), chess (2%) and crosswords (1%). An overwhelming proportion (89%) regarded retirement as detrimental to health. Dr Cowan said that compulsory retirement based on age was 'outmoded, archaic and damaging to the mind of man'.

The British Association for the Advancement of Science met in Glasgow. C L Maclean of the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh, spoke of the belief in witches and fairies. A story-teller still alive in Shetland had told him of a woman who habitually turned her daughter into a crow. There were cases within the past 12 years of reported transformations into a cat, a hare, a cow and, in one instance, a clump of heather. Fairies had been seen – three feet tall and dressed in white – by children. In 1947 there was an account of a man hearing fairy music from a hill and of someone seeing a mermaid sitting on a lobster pot combing her hair. He spoke of superstitions surrounding marriage, illustrated by the fact that of 42,672 marriages in Scotland in the previous year only 1,164 took place in May – the lowest figure of the year.

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2
A conversation with Tam Dalyell
KENNETH ROY

The harsh fate of Thomas Muir
ANDREW HOOK

The Daily Sketch

The Dustbin of History

1
Polmont boys
KENNETH ROY


Feeling miserable? It's time to get over it
GERRY HASSAN


Why all the fuss about Robert Burns?
LEN MURRAY


Irreparable grief
JEAN BARR


The populist lie
KENNETH ROY


In opposing Trump, we shouldn't
let the rage boil over
ALAN MCINTYRE