Margaret and Fiona's Story

Margaret and Fiona's Story

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Work in Mearns in the 1940s

We only had three roads, Barrhead Road, Main Street and Kilmarnock Road (now Ayr Road).

There were actually lots of jobs in the Mearns as shop assistants. There were five grocers shops an electrician, two butchers, three hairdressers, two newsagents, two bakers,  three tearooms, an ironmonger, a chemist, one drapery shop, and an up-market ladies’ shop. The co-op had a drapery department, and it sold clothes, shoes and  furniture. Mearns Co-op was a branch of Barrhead and you could go there, or to the Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society (SCWS) in Morrison Street in Glasgow with a line from Mearns. We also had a shoe shop, two banks, a cobblers,a  fruit and flower shop, a fish and chip shop and two sweet shops. There was an Inn,  a market garden, a police station, a post office, an ice cream cafe and vet.
As you can see there were lots of jobs and that is not counting Mearnskirk Hospital, Andersons Garage and Netherplace dye works.

If your father was a bus driver, the first  thing he did when you left school was to put your name down for a job in the office at Mearns bus garage depot.

While telling you about the shops we had in the Village, I thought you might be interested in the social side of the village in the forties. After finishing third year at Mearns School we could continue with night classes at Eastwood School (now Williamwood),  three nights a week for English, arithmetic and shorthand. If you attended the night classes you could go on a Wednesday for dancing, table tennis as a social evening which only left Friday and most us had household chores to do then. On a Saturday we could go to  the Tudor Ballroom in Giffnock

After we outgrew the night school we went to the Tudor on a Wednesday. We had five cinemas within a four-mile radius.

At sixteen you could join the Girls Training Corps held again at Eastwood School. In the Village itself we had Boys Brigade. dances and young farmers’ dances, also church socials when all the family could go. We held concerts and had kinderspiels, (an evening of entertainment by the children attending church, singing, dancing and monologues etc.) These were before the war in 1939.

For teenagers we had a cafe cum  chip shop where we were made welcome to have crisps, lemonade arid very seldom did we have any trouble but of course the owner stood no nonsense and we had the village bobby Mr Brandy to keep order. There was another cafe at Mearnskirk where the restaurant is now, this meant we had a somewhere to meet our friends without having to hang about outside in the streets.

The dances and socials were all held in the Mearns Parish Kirk hall which at that time was opposite Mearns School. It is now the synagogue and of course did not cost anything to hire, just a donation to the lighting and heating. We also had the Fairweather Hall that was gifted to the Mearns people where lots of activities took place.

When you've read what we have written, I think you will realise that we were much better served than we are now, and that was before we had a shopping centre.. Now we have a huge shopping mall but you can't buy buttons, thread, wool, nails, wallpaper, paste or paint.

When I left school there was no opening at the bus depot so I got a job with W & R Holmes in Dunlop  Street working with books. However when I had been there some time, a job as a cashier became available. When I worked there I had an hour and a half for lunch and I could come home and be back in time.  Because we had a bus terminal, you could get any bus and the bus service was every fifteen minutes. Now it takes nearly an hour and half to get to town.

The school building that could have been used as a community centre has been sold to build yet another car park.



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