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Cromarty Image Library

School Staff
The Cromarty Archive
School Staff

This photo was given to me by Miss Betty Patience who gave permission for this to be sent to you - From left to right- Mr Donald McLeod - Miss Patience - Mr John Rae - Miss C McDonald -Mr F McIntyre - Miss J McKay - Miss M McKenzie - Miss J Munro - I am afraid I do not know the date it was taken - If this is suitable I have some others will may be of interest - G E Gilmour

(I've guessed the date at 1950 - Calum)
Picture added on 18 February 2011 at 13:00
I remember Mr Rae, Miss Mackenzie, Jessie Munro. Jessie Munro was a super teacher and the only one who taught me, unless that is the same Mr McIntyre who later taught at Fortrose. I`m sure we would all love to see more. I was at the school from 1954 ish. I used to like Miss Smart too. I started in her p.3 class and she paired me up with a `buddy` on my first day - Gladys Robertson.
Added by Dorothy Ewen on 18 February 2011
I think everyone of us from this era will look back and appreciate the dedication of those teachers. None of the modern methods like computers or modules (whatever they are) just good old fashioned teaching that meant we left school, if not exactly brilliant scholars, at least able to read and write. and the teachers were able to do their job without being hampered by all these stupid rules and regulations currently in force.
Added by Alex Grant on 19 February 2011
Hi, Dorothy. That is the same Mr. McIntyre that taught at Fortrose Academy. Miss Mackenzie was my first teacher, on my first day at school she rattled the ruler over my knuckles for using my left hand. it was very memorable day.
Added by Sue florence on 19 February 2011
Hi Sue. I thought so. That was a bit harsh on your first day! They were ruler happy in those days, eh? Kysie was pretty good at it, also with the strap. Too much the other way now, though.
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 19 February 2011
And do you STILL use your left hand Sue?
Added by Mary Mackay now Tomlinson Harrison on 19 February 2011
This is exactly what I mean Sue. Can you imagine what would happen today? I can't begin to think; Can't remember Miss Mackenzie wielding the ruler. Mr McIntyre yes and a lot more besides but we all lived to tell the tale.
Added by Alex Grant on 19 February 2011
I'd imagine that what would happen today if a teacher 'punished' a child for daring to be left handed, they'd be up on assault charges ;)
Added by Colin Dunn on 20 February 2011
Correct me if I'm wrong but was Mr McIntyre the art teacher before Mr Webster came to Cromarty school, he then went to Fortrose and a number of years later Mr Webster also took up the post of art teacher at Fortrose Academy. David Webster passed away a few weeks back, he was lovely man and will be sadly missed.
Added by Margaret Cassie (Clelland) on 20 February 2011
Forcing left-handers to be right-handed can result in the child stammering (as in George VI's case - The King's Speech). Thankfully my primary schoolteachers were more enlightened, even though I'm older than you, Sue!
Added by Fran Tilbrook on 20 February 2011
To all comments, I use my left hand for 90per cent of everyday use ,and set table for left hand use all my appliances in my house are left hand usage, my oldest grandson is left handed, but I use right hand to write, there was two other children in our class who were the same.
Added by Sue Florence on 21 February 2011
I also know of one boy who was 3 classes above me who had his mouth washed out with carbolic soap by miss Mackay, he said something which she didn't like. That was told to me by someone who hasn't forgotten his expression when he came back into class. Imagine if that happened now.
Added by Sue Florence on 23 February 2011
I got the ruler from Miss MacKenzie too for not paying attention. She gave us a page with letters on it which we were supposed to copy along the line. I scribbled on it and got the ruler. I also remember Miss Smart having a deadly aim with the blackboard duster. None of it did us any harm.
Added by Rhoda Patience on 26 February 2011
Sorry to hear that Mr. Webster passed away. If I remember rightly,he and Mr.McIntyre were based at Fortrose and that latterly only Mr. Webster came to Cromarty once or twice a week to teach art. To everyone's disappointment, Mr. Webster left the area c.1960. But it wasn't very long until he came back to Fortrose to take up the post of art teacher there, probably when Mr. McIntyre retired.
I distictly remember some boy or girl being frog marched out to the washroom or cloakroom adjacent to her classroom by "Kayzak",to be subjected to the carbolic soap punishment. This must have been one of her standard repertoire of punishments but was rarely performed.
I remember Miss Patience very well. She was the last of the teachers to stay at Forsyth House, the others having "defected" to a rival boarding house.
Added by Christopher Hart on 27 February 2011
I remember Miss Smart would draw the map of Scotland on the blackboard, to perfection, in a minute flat, and then expected us to do it. These blackboard dusters were wooden!
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 27 February 2011
Hi christopher. There must have been some others subjected to kysies carbolic soap punishment and it did happen. My hubby was one of the receivers - and miss smart had a deadly aim with the duster and used to pull you out to the blackboard by the hair. She would wrap her finger round a lock and you had to go otherwise she'd pull your roots out. I swear that's how I have curly hair above my ears. Lol.
Added by Sue florence on 28 February 2011
Kysie gave me four of the belt cos `stoker` spoke to me when Mr Rae was in the room. He was saying his hand-writing was better than mine. Yes, I got the blame. Don`t know why she didn`t like me because I was a quiet wee thing. Also got whacks with rulers. When you think about it, it was bullying. I had to say `I was a silly little girl` in front of the class, by Skinner the gym teacher, or else I was going to get the belt. Goodness knows what I did. All this does nothing for your esteem.
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 01 March 2011
Have read with interest the ongoing comments on the "carbolic soap" saga. While not defending Miss Mckay (because she certainly did me no favours) I can honestly say that I've never known this as a form of punishment. The phrase "wash your mouth out with carbolic soap" was often used by both Miss Mckay and Miss Mcdonald (Kate Todd) but have never known that literally enforced. The teachers would have known that carbolic is a strong disinfectant and irritant, and would have been at the very least highly irresponsible. Considering that Miss Mckay was teaching for many years before my time (1948-49) I'm fairly certain that this would have come to the attention of the parents and would have been stopped. The strap was one thing, legal at the time, but carbolic soap in the mouth was very much something else.
Added by Alex Grant on 01 March 2011
Have to agree with Alex. Heard the expression, but never actually saw anyone have their mouth washed out. Must have been before my time. Jessie Munro used to chase people to their seats with the strap though.
Added by Hazel Clark on 02 March 2011
Miss patience is still going strong and remembers all her pupils. She was the english and bible studies teacher when i was there in 1946, a well liked teacher. Didn't have kaysie but had jessie munro for gym. Sandy Reid from avoch had an unerring aim with the wooden blackboard duster or a hugh rubber which didn't hurt as much. john rae had just taken over as head (1946.?) never heard of any carbolic incidents though, but i seem to remember jessie munro's knickers falling down at gym.
Added by Ian Jack on 02 March 2011
Latterly (1970s), Kysie Kipper (her full nick-name) refined her range of disciplinary measures to include rapping upon the offender's knuckles with a huge, mock-emerald glass ring which she deliberately turned around 180 degrees on her fist to produce maximum effect (in terms of pain inflicted). Throughout the punishment she would retain unswerving eye contact with the victim and grin through teeth which resembled the keyboard on the youth club piano ... one black, one white, one missing. I really miss her.
Added by Willie Nicolson on 03 March 2011
In the the thirties and forties wasn`t the big bad janitor sent round to your house if you were absent from school? Presumably if you weren`t ill, you would have got dragged back to school.
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 04 March 2011
I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Miss Mckay (Kysie) was getting more sadistic with age. Considering that she had been teaching at Cromarty since about the time of the Boer War you would have thought that by the 1970's (aged 101) she would have been thinking of retirement rather than dreaming up new methods of punishment. All this of course was contrary to her role in the local community, as she was very active in the Drama club and secretary of the flourishing tennis club at the time. However I'm now seeing her in a completely different light. In fact totally amazed really.
Added by Alex Grant on 04 March 2011
My Mam talked about being carried to school on the janitor's back, Dorothy. She got migraines and he'd take her to school no matter how she felt.
Added by Margaret Tong on 04 March 2011
I remember my Dad telling me about the janitor thing. They were none too kind towards children either, Margaret. Parents were obviously frightened to stand up to teachers and janitors in those days.
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 04 March 2011
I was in Kysie's class in the early 70s, and although we were a bit nervous of her I don't remember anything over the top. In fact I remember for art she asked us to draw a picture of her. I drew one with an arrow sticking out of her - when it came time to hand them in I was doubting the wisdom, but she just smiled.
Added by Garve Scott-Lodge on 04 March 2011
Aye, Dorothy. My Mam was even feart o MY teachers! She must have been traumatised as a child at school.
Added by Margaret Tong on 04 March 2011
Isn't it awful though? My Mam never spoke of this but my Dad did. My Mam did speak to my maths teacher at Fortrose however - McCuish - and he was never nasty to me again. He did make me sit at the front of the class though, like he gave a toss, and even to this day, I am afraid to sit at the front of a meeting. Garve, Kysie had her favourites who could do no wrong.
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 04 March 2011
I made Kysie Kipper laugh, once. She got fed up of sending me through to Hairy Harry's, I think!
Added by Colin Morrison on 04 March 2011
Well Alex Grant "Coses", you and Bertie Macdonald "Pup or Doggie" and Ross Finlayson "Finbag" and Colin Grant the real fireman, you have a short memory. Never was there a more comical 4 in the school, very wittie and great mockers of folk in an out o the school. No its no "Farouk", think on Alex.
Added by Davie Jones on 05 March 2011
We, as our teachers did before us, grew up in a culture in which strappings, rappings and slightly bizarre punishments were regarded as quite normal. Teachers used their Lochgelly tawse along with their chalk and blackboard as an essential tool of their trade. From the viewpoint of today's culture these punishments constituted at least a breach of human rights if not something worse. The sadistic leanings of some teachers were probably "learned behaviour" stemming from experiences in their own childhood. I recently denounced my fridge-freezer as the worst appliance I had ever had and whipped it with a cloot. Where did I get that from?

Personally, I have very positive and fond memories of all our teachers, especially Miss Munro. She at least once stopped her bicycle and gave me half-a-crown.

And in the fifties, Dorothy. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table at Woodside trying to colour in Rupert the Bear in a newspaper when through the window I saw the unmistakeable figure of Sandy the Janitor in the garden. He had been sent by Mr. Rae on this the umpteenth occasion that I was absent from school. Whether he would have collared me and dragged me down to Cromarty or not I never found out because I was genuinely sick on this occasion. I don't think that even the psychologist could figure out what to do with me.

By the way,did the teachers have different nicknames given to them by different batches of children? I can distictly remember "Smartak" and "Kayzak" but not "Kysie".
Added by Christopher Hart on 06 March 2011
As far as I am led to believe the soap treatment consisted of the teacher taking the pupil out to the cloakroom and rubbing her finger over the bar of soap then running their finger over pupils lips, it is an automatic reaction to rub your tongue over yor lips. Personally I thought miss Mackay was an excellent teacher it is through her that I have a love of books and history.
Added by Sue Florence on 06 March 2011
With all this revelations of punishments coming in thick and fast it makes you wonder what's coming next. First we had the carbolic treatment (now a bit less severe thank goodness). Next the emerald ring gouging treatment (sorry mock emerald does make a difference). Now we have Dorothy suffering some sort of anxiety about sitting at the front. Some of those teachers have a lot to answer for. Don't know where all this is going to end but I know for certain that at this rate I fully expect someone to claim that they were subjected to the dreaded Chinese Water Torture
Re Davie Jones. You're going to have to give me a few more clues. Any connection with the Navy as in "Davy Jones Locker"?
Added by Alex Grant on 07 March 2011
Not at Cromarty obviously but I can remember seeing a child at my nursery school when I was about 4 or 5 literally having his mouth washed out with soap and water for saying something 'bad'. That would be in the 1950s. I have never forgotten it - partly because our teacher wasn't usually like that at all. Something must have really upset her.
Added by John Wood on 08 March 2011
I've just rapped myself on both knuckles with my cordless phone for dwelling negatively on our teachers' punitive eccentricities. There must be a hundred times more good things than the few bad things to remember about them!
Added by Christopher Hart on 14 March 2011
I used to get belted by John Rae regularly but there is no doubt that 90% of the time I deserved every stroke, cannot remember any punishments from the other teachers. On another subject, does anyone remember the visits of the school dentist.?? Now THAT was a punishment.
Added by Ian Jack on 14 March 2011
Remember it well Ian. The stuff of nightmares. School Dentist 4ft 6in tall wearing heavily starched white jacket and driving into the school gates a furniture van equipped with all the necessary evils of the trade. In fact I'm sure the drill was belt driven, but I could be wrong in this. What I do know is that it was such a frightening experience that most of us would rather take our chance with Dr Gillanders, and that was bad enough.
Added by Alex Grant on 15 March 2011
I have a lifelong fear of dentists because of him!!! I used to pretend to be sick when I saw his van drive up to the school. He was absolutely awful!
Added by Hazel Clark on 16 March 2011
Ah yes Alec, the drill was worked by a foot pedal and he had club foot to boot. I remember getting the belt from J Rae, 6 on each hand. I had a plaster of paris on my arm at the time.
Added by Davie Jones on 16 March 2011
Hi Alex, he didn't have a van in my day. All the victims were lined up outside a schoolroom and were called in one at at a time, given an injection then had to stand outside until all had been done. Then the first one was taken in again and had the offending molar/s yanked out, blood and snot everywhere. Hard men the Croms.
Added by Ian Jack on 16 March 2011
I'd be interested to hear more about why teachers stayed st Forsyth House, if anyone knows.
Added by Jess Alexander on 18 March 2011
They stayed there because it was a boarding house run, I think by Mrs Slader. She took boarders in for years. There was not much accommodation in Cromarty after the war.
Added by Hazel Clark on 18 March 2011
Hi Ian it was the same procedure in the van, but only worse. After the injection you were confined to the chair, and had to watch while as Davie Jones (above) says he got to work on the pedal and you knew what to expect next. Talking about the pedal it was that big it could easily have fitted on to a singer sewing machine.
Added by Alex Grant on 18 March 2011
Does anyone know if the school records have been preserved anywhere and if so is there access to them. My mother would have been attending there around 1910 or so. maybe Eric Malcolm might know.
Added by Ian Jack on 19 March 2011
The teachers whose homes were quite a long way from Cromarty stayed at Forsyth House during the week and went home at weekends. Miss Mackay's home was in Ardgay which, though she had a car, was obviously too distant for a daily return trip. I don't know why Kysie moved out of Forsyth House, but I can confirm that she remained on friendly terms with Mrs Slader and often dropped in for a blether with her.
Added by Christopher Hart on 21 March 2011
Does anyone remember Jessie Bobbins cleaning her teeth after Mrs Aird's lunches by pulling a hair from her head and flossing her teeth with it? It was me who cut her leather strap, I removed a few inches of one side of the offending weapon - there was a big enquiry but no one found out. I think fifty years on it's now safe to confess.
Added by Davie Jones on 23 March 2011
This is my first glimpse of this photo, and refreshing to see all their faces again. Donald Macleod, originally from Carloway in Lewis, and the best English teacher I ever had. Having been previously groomed by 'Kyzie' and 'Jessie bobbins',we in Cromarty, were indeed fortunate in having such a quality Senior Secondary 'A Team' at that time. Praise is also due to Betty Patience,for her very modern approach to teaching French,late 40's early 50's, using Linguaphone where the nasal tones of the language were easy to follow. I still have my first French reader, 'Le Francais pour les jeunes', little thinking that it would be the stepping stone to guiding from Cruise Liners at Invergordon 50years on!

Miss Mackenzie in the photo, I did not have as a teacher, in my day the P1 teacher was a lady of the same name, Miss Mackenzie, known as 'Whitebog' the area in the Black Isle where she came from. Kate Todd was the Primary 2/3 teacher,
and Mr.John Rae,succeeded Mr Malcolm as Head-master, he was always strict but fair, but he & I fell-out, when he wouldn't let Donald Macleod join the lifeboat crew!!?, which was sad 'cos he'd just come out of the Navy to teach, and would have been a good lifeboatman.
Added by Clem Watson 114 on 27 March 2011
My three favourite teachers of all time are the three fine ladies in the front row !! Great Pic of them !
Added by John Macdonald on 24 July 2015
Indeed John - it was the history lessons that we had from " Kysie" that pulled me to Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy absolutely fascinating - we thought they were the devil incarnate at the time, but we've never forgotten what was taught.
Added by Sue Florence on 01 August 2015
I understand that the last surviving member of this group in Cromarty School has passed away - Miss Betty Patience - of Avoch - rear row second from left.. Many former pupils of hers in Cromarty and Killeen will be thankful for her life and work. Personally I want to express my gratitude for having known her and heard the gospel of Redeeming Love from her in the old Mission hall in Cromarty. She not only taught about Jesus but she lived her life for Him.
She is now with her Saviour who she loved and served all her life.
Please join me in showing appreciation.
Added by George E Gilmour on 19 July 2017
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