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Stromness Academy staff
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Stromness Academy staff

Stromness Academy staff, 1950s. I can name more than a dozen in the shot, but several viewers must be able to name them all, and the year. (Sorry I can't rescue the facial features of the man top left, but maybe his smart jacket will identify him.)
I get the feeling that the group was set up for an official photo, after which someone jumped in and took an amateur shot, hence the relaxed poses.
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Picture added on 25 March 2010 at 14:23
Later, later - I was taught by all of them in secondary and I was only 7 in 1952 ......... early 60s maybe?? Fred Heddle top left - I could name many of them but not all.
Added by David Watters on 25 March 2010
Back row: ?, ?, Pia Anderson, Sandy Firth?, Simpson (history)?, John Herbert Clouston, Taylor (primary), Jim Robertson, Archie Bevan, Ian McInnes, Alan Skene.
Front row: Bill Groundwater 3rd from left, with David Eunson next to him.
Added by Stewart Miller on 26 March 2010
I only started secondary school in 1961, so I would have to say that this picture was taken 1960 or 1961.
Added by Stewart Miller on 26 March 2010
I should perhaps also add that they were an excellent bunch of folks! They did not only teach you how to pass exams but they equipped you for life! When I reflect now on what Fred Heddle, Pia Anderson, Sandy Firth, Eric Simpson, John Clouston, Jim Robertson, Archie Bevan, Ian McInnes, Alan Skene, Jessie Mowat, Jean Campbell, Bill Groundwater, David Eunson, Mrs Rosie - and more - taught me that has helped me live life I can only acknowledge my debt to them.
Added by David Watters on 26 March 2010
I had a Mr Taylor as a teacher at KGS in 1951. Would this be the same man?
Added by Neil Johnstone on 28 March 2010
My best attempt at the names (bearing in mind I left school in 1949) is:
Men in back row, L to R: Fred Heddle, James (Young Pia) Anderson, ?, ?, J Herbert Clouston, ?, Jim Robertson, Archie Bevan, Ian MacInnes, Alan Skene
Ladies in middle row: Iris Sutherland, Lilla Merriman, Mima Merriman, ?, Miss McGuffie (?), ?, Queenie Campbell, ?
Seated front row: Mrs Seatter, Anna Smith, William Groundwater (Head), David Eunson, ?, Ethel Young (?)
Added by Ian Hourston on 28 March 2010
Trying to fill in a few of Stewart's blanks .....
Back: Fred Heddle; ?; Pia Anderson; Sandy Firth; JHT Clouston; ?; James Taylor; Jim Robertson; Archie Bevan; Ian McInnes; Alan Skene.
Middle: ?; ?; Jessie Mowat; Jean Campbell; ?.
Front: Mrs Seatter; ?; Bill Groundwater; David Eunson; Mrs Rosie; Miss (?Ethel?)Young.
Added by David Watters on 28 March 2010
Spoke to Sandy Firth last night and he went to Stromness in 1958
Added by W Watters on 29 March 2010
I was in P7 at KGS in 1960-61. James Taylor was our teacher up to Christmas and he went to Stromness after that.
Added by Ian M Gibson on 29 March 2010
How could I have failed to recognise Jessie Mowat, who taught me in secondary and, two decades later, my son in primary? We both thought the world of her.
Added by Ian Hourston on 30 March 2010
I think the last lady in the middle row is Alice Sutherland, a primary teacher.
Added by Alan Seator on 01 April 2010
I think the lady next to Mima Merriman is Mrs. Robertson, Jim Robertson's wife. Can't remember her maiden name.
Added by Betty Harvey on 05 April 2010
Miss Robson (Domestic, don't think they teach that now) dates the picture after 1960. I remember her coming and I started in 1960.
Added by W Watters on 07 April 2010
Was it Miss Paterson? What a romance that was in the auld Academy!
Added by David Watters on 07 April 2010
Don't think that's Miss Paterson, she married Alfie Linklater of Langskaill.
Added by Betty Harvey on 09 April 2010
Iris Sutherland was my wonderful first teacher in Orphir - a great start to school life. I started in '52. Then I had James Taylor in P7 at KGS in '58. Anyone remember singing "White Sand and Grey Sand" - in a round?
Anonymous comment added on 10 April 2010
I remember Mr Taylor smashing the blackboard pointer in several pieces when he read 'White Fang' to us at the end of lessons. He could get quite carried away in more ways than one!
Added by Neil Johnstone on 12 April 2010
I've heard of shattering crystal goblets by singing, but smashing blackboard pointers by reading is something else!
Added by Ian Hourston on 20 April 2010
I should have explained Ian, that he whacked it on his desk to simulate rifle shots. It was very funny. I don't think he saw the funny side of it!
Added by Neil Johnstone on 20 April 2010
Miss Roberts (Jean) married Jim Robertson, she was a domestic science teacher
Added by Anonymous on 28 April 2010
How silly not to remember - Miss Roberts took VI year boys for basic cookery, etc, while Pia took the girls for basic woodwork etc!! Very advanced stuff for the 1960's?
Added by David Watters on 02 May 2010
Just to clear up any doubt about the date of this photo - it appeared in 'The Stromnessian' of July 1961.
Added by Philip Cooper on 11 June 2010
Is this the Dave Eunson who served in the RAF in Australia in 1945? If it is, is he still around? I'd like to know what became of him.
Added by George Aspden on 09 July 2010
Yes it is the same person, my father, he died in 1999.
Added by Jim Eunson on 11 July 2010
That's when my dad was still an art teacher, and Mr Eunson (Penguin) was deputy head to Mr Groundwater. James Taylor lived in Arranmore, above Thistlebank. He was a most gifted teacher, a caring and sensitive man - he was our Primary 7 teacher. He was a very funny mimic and story teller, out of school - wicked sense of humour. Mima Merriman was another great teacher - she used to do nature Diaries with us and take us to the Loons to collect flowers
Added by Morag MacInnes on 09 January 2012
James Taylor used occasionally to pop in to our house, next door, and bring his special brand of colour to our drab existence. I remember him saying he had been waxing lyrical on a favourite 'arty' theme to his mother (who shared his house) when she cut him off with a no-nonsense "Oh, STOOP wi' thee James!" He was good at telling stories against himself, though I fear this one may be rather lost on those who don't have a feel for the Orkney vernacular.
My friend and former classmate Barbara (Learmonth) was taught by Mima Merriman at Quoyloo and thinks it probably impossible to have had a better teacher. As the son and nephew of teachers, and the beneficiary of the splendid teaching provided by the gallant ladies who kept schools going during WW2, I love to hear - and I hope sometimes express - praise for schoolteachers collectively. Where would we be without them? In terrible, unimaginable trouble - that's where.
Added by Ian Hourston on 10 January 2012
How funny that the people who remember my grandfather all seem to remember his middle name! He was John Herbert Thomas Clouston :)
Added by Conny Wylie on 05 September 2012
Which is the middle name of four?
Anonymous comment added on 06 September 2012
Was the Sandy Firth the same one that came out to North Walls school for woodwork class. 1954-55era.
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 06 September 2012
The same Sandy Firth!
Added by David Watters on 07 September 2012
I think this photo is early 1960s I left 1959 and some were not there then as for Mr Eunson I met him in the early 70s at Kilsyth academy

Added by Ian Flett on 29 May 2015
I think it's 1962 or 3 but it might be in the Stromnessian - they used to always have a staff picture - so you could date it finally if you check them. All the names are confirmed now aren't they? I'll put them all in if not
Added by Morag MacInnes on 03 July 2015
Perhaps, to curtail further speculation about the date of this photo, I should repeat my earlier comment (2010). It was definitely published in the 1961 edition of The Stromnessian. Editors: Irene Shearer, Doris Sinclair, Bryce Wilson, Howard Firth.
Added by Philip Cooper on 03 July 2015
I'd advocate putting them all in anyway if you're willing Morag. 'Twould save a lot of jumping back and forth between comments.
Added by Ian Hourston on 03 July 2015
Philip Cooper (above) says the photo appeared in the Stromnessian of 1961. I don't have that year's mag, but it certainly isn't in the issues of 62 and 63.
Added by Ian Hourston on 04 July 2015
If it's the Stromnessian it's not in the 1962 issue which I have now. In the editorial 'Howard' Firth & other editors say that the previous issue (1961) was the first for 9 years, so I think it would have to be from that year. Someone will have a copy.
Added by Jim Eunson on 08 July 2015
Stromnessians are available to view in the Orkney Room at the Library in Kirkwall. To confirm some of the above,this photograph appears in the 1961 edition together with names. This had been the first issue since 1952.
Added by Ian M Gibson on 11 August 2015
Iris Sutherland taught me in Primary 3, 1960/61. She will always be fondly remembered as a wonderful teacher and great friend.
Added by Frances Smith on 10 September 2019
Was just thinking about Miss Merriman and Miss Mowat today (random I know) - I think they taught me in P5 or 6 (approx 1967/68). What age would they have been then. to be honest they always seemed old but they probably weren't!
Added by Isabel McPhee (nee Couper) on 17 June 2020
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