Nostalgia: On the nursery slopes

Nursery nurses help children down the chute at the School of Mothercraft, Colinton Road, in 1964

Nursery nurses help children down the chute at the School of Mothercraft, Colinton Road, in 1964

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It was revealed this week that Edinburgh’s nurseries are to benefit from a cash injection to improve facilities and provide more places for the city’s youngsters.

Two new nurseries are planned and another three are set to be expanded in the Capital.

Children wait for a meal at the Edinburgh Corporation Day Nursery, Dumbiedykes Road, in 1924

Children wait for a meal at the Edinburgh Corporation Day Nursery, Dumbiedykes Road, in 1924

The city’s play centres have always provided fun and frolics for toddlers.

In 1968, a group of three bright young nannies started a new nursery in the ground floor of a large converted house in Newington.

One of the highlights for the children was a chute converted from a stepladder made by the father of two of the trio, Lesley and Alison Forbes.

The children were also able to enjoy the age-old tradition of “playing house” with tea parties held at their playgroup. Other children were content to play at being mother as they pushed their dollies’ prams through the gardens of the Princess Elizabeth Nursery in 1966.

A child at Newington Day Nursery in 1968

A child at Newington Day Nursery in 1968

There, play equipment was a far cry from the more spartan conditions children had to cope with back in 1924, but even then local nursery children were guaranteed something tasty to eat as they waited for their meal at Dumbiedykes Nursery.

At the Colinton Road children’s home and School of Mothercraft, children were delighted to get the chance to play happily outside under the ever-watchful supervision of nursery nurses.

Not all children were happy to play so quietly, of course, and instead of the more homely pursuits, other children preferred to make noise: in 1967, the children of Madeira Street’s Albany Nursery School banded together to play instruments and create their own musical melodies.