Whitehill Former Pupils’ Club

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Memories of Dennistoun in the 1960's from Agnes Lagden, inspired by our walking tour of Western Dennistoun.

“My memories of the route you are are the smells. The smell of the books in the library. The smell from Tennant's Brewery in Ark Lane as you raced up the hill to Golfhill annex (visiting the wee sweet shop on the way for a quarter of cola cubes) and then the smell from W D & H O Wills cigarette factory. I remember being disappointed that having just left Haghill primary school, I found myself spending most of the week in another primary school! The smell of chlorine from Dennistoun Baths (I had been a member before we went there as part of PE). I remember Miss Simpson keeping us in the pool until the very last minute and having to race back to school still damp, clothes sticking to us, in time for Mr Low's geography class or face "the belt". And of course, trying to appear avant-guard drinking Russian tea in the Rendezvous.”

A Whitehill Former Pupil who made a Difference

This account of the life of Dr. Martha Davidson Devon is summarised from her obituary which was published in the British Medical Journal, January 20th, 1962.

Martha Davidson Devon was born in Glasgow on 2nd April, 1897, the daughter of Dr. James Devon, himself a man of great distinction. She was educated at Whitehill School, probably during the period of 1909 to 1914 or 1915, continuing at Glasgow University. She graduated with “ the Scottish Triple Qualification” in 1923 and took up resident posts at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. She specialised in psychological medicine.

In 1928 she entered general practice and took up a locum position on Islay, which led to her appointment as the first woman doctor to the small isles of Rum, Muck and Canna, from Eigg on which she lived. There was no transport on the islands, no telephone except at the post office which was two miles away. The mailboat called once per week. Visiting calls to patients was on foot and by small boat often crossing 20 miles of open sea.

Being a constant sufferer from such poor and primitive conditions, Martha's abiding interest was in improving them. In 1931 the Department of Health asked her for suggestions , she proposed flying a surgeon and sister to the patient. The idea was laughed at, so she promptly persuaded the editor of the Daily Record, then running stunt flights, to fly her to Eigg, landing on the beach. Thus she pioneered the first medical flight to the islands, now quite commonplace.

In 1936 after eight years of this strenuous life Dr Devon was appointed to the parish of Glenelg on the western seaboard of Inverness-shire. This is a wild and wintry location which at that time was served by gravel roads. Her patients were located across a wide area, mountainous and riven by deep and long sea lochs. Travel to many was by boat, but during this time she learned to drive. The war added to her duties as she took up the role of Medical Officer to the Home Guard.

After the war she continued as the local doctor serving her community. Her psychological training helped her to see more than  met the eye, her judgements were rarely in error and she had great sympathy and understanding for her scattered patients, especially the elderly.

In her leisure time she bred budgerigars in her open air aviary and worked for charitable causes, again for the benefit of the elderly.

In Martha's later years she suffered from arthritis, aggravated by years of strain and exposure and retired to the drier Cromarty Firth area, where she lived for only a year. Dr Martha Davidson Devon died on 31st December, 1961 aged 64.

Many thanks to Isabelle Simpson, cousin of Dr Martha Devon and herself a former pupil of Whitehill School, for providing this most inspirational story for inclusion on the website.

1949-50 Photographs

Re 1st "Dramatic Club" photo I believe the first 2 ladies in 2nd row are Marianne Kilgour and Maureen Irvine (my heart-throb whom I believe married another FP Iain Irwin) and the three boys in the front , from the left are self, Tom McNab and (I think) George Taggart.

2nd "Dramatic Club" back row Tom McNab is first male and self third, Maureen is 1st left in middle row. First left in 2nd row in fourth photo is David Peat with Danny Ballantyne beside him and Gibson Miell third from the left in the front row.

Many thanks to Sheena and Gordon Caskie (1947-1953)

To: webmaster@whitehill.org

I have been researching some of my father’s early history and believe that he was a  pupil at Whitehills School in the 1930s. The attached picture shows him wearing, I believe, a Whitehills School blazer.  He had just won the sprint championship organised (I think) at Kelvin Hall as part of the Glasgow Civic and Empire Week May 29th to June 6th 1931.  The pocket watch (sadly stolen during a burglary) bore the inscription “W. Cameron Civic Week 1931” but I cannot make out the inscription on the cup. I was also unable to identify the school blazer badge but having deciphered that the motto was Altiora Peto I traced the motto and badge to Whitehill.  

I wonder if the photograph would be of interest to your archivist?

If the school records have any information that goes back to Waverley Cameron’s time at Whitehill I would be very interested to learn what you have.


Noël Cameron  

Noël Cameron BEd, MSc, PhD, CBiol, FRSB

Professor of Human Biology

Centre for Global Health and Human Development

National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Loughborough University

Daniel Robertson - Junior Cup Winner, 1958

The photo of Waverley Cameron with the Junior Sports Champion Willis Cup gave me a feeling of 'deja vu' and prompted me to dig out this one of me in 1958 - same trophy - same pose - similar curtain backdrop - probably the same photo studio (Lawries in Hillfoot Street).

Obituary published in the Herald, 10th April 2017, of James Kirkwood a Former Pupil of Whitehill School

Article from the Glasgow Herald, 24th September 1946, and Memoriam for John Haddow Young contributed by Lilias Thompson.

Memorabilia from Catherine Benton.

1970 - Captains and Prizewinners

Back Row - I Raitt, R L Heron, C A Smith

Middle Row - D Munro (Boys’ Captain), I G Sharp (Vice Captain)

Front Row - Catherine Benton (Runner Up Dux), Marjorie Rae (Dux), Sharon Condes (Girls’ Captain)

Thank you to Catherine for supplying the missing magazines.

 It’s the role of head teachers to appear set in authority and their situation helps them leave an impression on their  pupils. But in a long life involving journalism, politics, the Church, National Service, and sundry diversions I have  rarely encountered anyone whose power of personality equalled that of Robert Weir, head master of Whitehill  before, during, and for a couple of years after the Second World War. Here are two contrasting memories of  Bobbie Weir (as we called him out of his hearing), one stamped on a first-year class, the other intensely personal.

A boy was suspected of stealing money from others in the class and eventually confessed. The “heedie” himself came to administer public execution before the class: six thunderclaps of the belt, bravely borne. And then an order to the class: the matter was finished. There had been guilt, confession, punishment, and absolution. We had perhaps been thrilled by the spectacle but we respected the process and obeyed the order.

A year or two later I had a teacher of French whom I both disliked and feared. As we awaited our turn to read extracts from a “French reader” my nervousness brought on a speech impediment, leaving me breathlessly tongue-tied or tongue-twisted. As time went on it got worse. But the lady had more kindness than she showed. One day she sent me to see the head master, with whom she must have discussed my case.

For about a quarter of an hour he talked things over with me. I hope it does not seem blasphemous to say it was like a talk with a loving God, but a burden of my fear rolled away (and, on a quite different plane, it was to alter my then sceptical attitude to some miracles recorded in the New Testament).

My tongue was loosened, my breathing controlled. If anything remains of the problem Bobbie Weir cured, thanks to the concerned teacher, it is that in broadcasting I have always disliked speaking any words not of my own choice and phrasing.

ROBERT WEIR  (Contribution from R.D. (Bob) Kernohan.)

Photograph  given by Gordon Caskie at the Autumn Lunch

1967 Photo - Alex Orr

In the 1960’s I took many pictures of pupils at Whitehill where I was also a pupil.

Attached is a typical example from 1967. From left to right are George Crockett (who went on to graduate in medicine at Glasgow University), Gordon Collie, Alice Platt and Alex Erskine (who went on to graduate as an architect at Strathclyde University).


Hope this is of interest.


Alex Orr