Letters: Dumbiedykes was a strong community of decent folks

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I am writing to correct the “Arthur Street” Coronation Party in your article on Friday, May 25th. This picture was actually taken in what we called the “Hen’s Green” in Dumbiedykes Road.

I don’t know where the name came from, but it was reached by some stairs up from the road. You can see the shop blinds behind the party which were the Co-op, grocers, bakers and butchers on the left hand side of the “Dummy” from Holyrood Road.

There were too many children in Dumbiedykes for one party, so another two were held – one in the “brickies”, which were brick-built houses further along on the left hand side of the road, and the other in the church at the top of Arthur Street. There would be parties in “middly” and “easty” Arthur Street too.

It vexes me to hear this area described as a slum. They were just old houses, with a lot of decent folks living there. I remember these parties for the Coronation, as I was 19 on June 2, 1953.

You can see by all the smiles that they came from happy families, where the “awkward” neighbours were tolerated (and often helped) and it really was a community. I spoke to one of our old neighbours who was moved to the new houses in the Canongate. Her only complaint – she could not “hing oot the windae the same as aw the tourists were looking up at them”!

I used to have parties for the neighbours in our back garden, but age takes its toll. I am pleased that the (now) Royal Mile School, the Canongate and the High Street are keeping up the Old Town tradition and having their own party.

Mrs Jean Bell (nee Bottomley), Bellevue Street, Edinburgh

Politicians should look at big picture

AS a parent whose child has been brilliantly looked after by the staff of the Sick Kids, I’m ashamed and disgusted at the attitude of the showboaters who reportedly “serve” the people of this country.

A billion pounds on a vanity tram project and we have the new Forth Road Bridge to come. And yet the level of poverty in Scotland is one of the highest in Europe.

Here’s a suggestion for politicians – get your snouts out of the trough and look at the big picture.

God forbid that one of their children becomes ill when some cretin who wants to be a statesman cancels a crucial cornerstone in children’s health.

Colin Barr, Haymarket, Edinburgh

Where are women in top union jobs?

It is salutary to see the latest appointments (four) to the highest judicial bench in Scotland, despite the fact it includes no women QCs. However, the Scottish bench has a decent representation of female judges. Not so our trade unions, who have barely a major union currently led nationally by a woman, nor for decades.

It is especially galling to read this week of the deputy chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, one Dame Margaret Prosser – an ex-trade unionist – loudly castigate companies and businesses for their gender discrimination and senior level glass ceilings. It is time that they carried out an investigation of unions and why women are not standing for or, inexplicably, are not being elected to, high trade union office at national level.

Angus Logan WS, policy director, Ardwell Policy Forum 2020, York Road, North Berwick

MoD won’t stop buying from Scots

IT is deeply dispiriting to note the continual scaremongering over Scotland’s defence industry and that somehow post-independence the Ministry of Defence would not continue to purchase from Scotland.

The UK already procures from overseas and it is nonsensical that it would continue to procure from the likes of Korea, Norway and many EU countries, but not an independent Scotland. In addition, the UK already spends 26 per cent of its budget in collaboration with other countries and of that 26 per cent over 90 per cent is with European countries.

The simple fact is that the UK shipbuilding industry is already in sharp decline, and it is estimated that thousands of jobs will be lost under current UK plans. It is not independence, but Scotland remaining within the UK that threatens the defence industry, especially shipbuilding jobs.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh