Dorback School House
Mrs Alexina (Lexy) MacCuaig teacher – 1950s Lexy came from Glendale on Skye and my Uncle Ian from Corran in Arnisdale on Loch hourn near Glenelg where he met Lexy when she was teaching there, they went on to Carrington in Midlothian where they stayed until she retired and returned to Arnisdale in the mid seventies (information provided by Donald Morrison – nephew by marriage to Mrs MacCuaig) who heard the story of the roof fire many times in the 60’s! ( see history below)
Mrs Musto and brother – 2 Memories as a pupil at Dorback School (Mr. S. Black, local resident) –
Dorback was the first school I did attend in 1953. I was not yet 5, because I was born at the end of September so I got to school before I was five.
I can remember my first day in school and also a rather strange event that took place when the teacher actually saw me coming up to the school yard…
My mother walked up the road with me and just a wee bit away from the school she said ‘Go on yourself now’. And I remember walking up, seeing the teacher – who was a Mrs McQuaide as far as I can remember, taking a bucket of coal from the coal shed into the school room and for some strange reason I can never really fathom, she dropped the coal and ran down the road and caught hold of me and walked with me hand in hand into the schoolroom.
I rather think that perhaps I might have been faltering and looking like I was going to run away – but she certainly dropped the coal, I remember that much ! ..
Latterly when it closed in 1958 there was only 7 children and I was the only one in my class. We had by that time another teacher who did admit that she was more used to teaching college students and I think found that sort of range of ages quite difficult.
When the school was closed and I went down to Nethy I was horribly shocked to find I was miles behind the children in the larger school. I think that illustrates the disadvantage – perhaps there are advantages to small schools as there are disadvantages as well, because if you’re the only one in your class it was difficult to really judge yourself – you haven’t got mates to judge yourself against so it is quite difficult.
At that time the Dorback Road was not actually tarred, and discipline left a lot to be desired – you’d think nowadays that discipline in the 1950s must have been very hard, but that teacher did not have very good discipline .
I remember if we heard a car coming up the road we all just dashed out to see what it was because there wasn’t all that many cars. And on a dry day, the lime surface of the road – I remember this yet, actually caused a sort of cloud of lime to float along behind the car. And if we heard a flock of sheep coming up the hill – for example, collies coming up from Nethy with a large flock, again without the teacher giving us any permission we just ran out and saw the dogs and the sheep going past. And so this, no doubt contributed a bit to me being a wee bit behind when I actually got down to Nethy.
Rural school until 1958.
Dorback road, northeast end of Nethy Bridge.
Roof fire, New Year 1954
The school at that time had about eight or nine pupils. I was only there a few months when the schoolhouse burned down – there was a chimney fire that actually turned into a roof fire – it happened about the New Year. The fire brigade was up and apparently because it was New Year some of them were the worse for drink. The school teacher’s husband IanMacCuaig came round at one point and pointed out to the guy who was using the hose that his water was doing absolutely no good – it was going right over the top of the roof and landing on the other side ! But because he didn’t like to be told what he had done, he actually turned the hose on the guy, soaking him and it was so frosty his clothes became a bit like a suit of armour so he was going about completely stiff and not able to move !
At that point we were all moved down to Nethy because, although the school room itself wasn’t damaged, it wasn’t safe for the building to be going on and the children to be going to school – so it was a bit of a culture shock to be going down to a much larger school in Nethy and it did take a wee bit of getting used to.
After a year we moved back up to Dorback. (S. Black)
M. O’Reilly Explore Abernethy Visitor Centre Black, S (2002) Local resident
Nethy Bridge Community Centre
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