We all love a bit of Christmas cheer, particularly at the end of a tough year.  As we’re still not able to hold parties and gatherings as we would normally do, we thought it would be nice to bring you a flavour of Christmas at ESMS in the past with thanks to our Archivists Dorothy Sharp and David McLeish, with panto photos being taken by Sarah Horrix, MES Teacher.  Below you will find some photos from our staff pantos at MES from recent years alongside some wartime Christmas memories from Daniel Stewart’s College and Melville College and some recent memories from ESMS carol parties and services. If you would like to discuss anything with our archivists, you can contact David for Stewart’s Melville College on archivesmc@esms.org.uk and Dorothy for the Mary Erskine School on dhsharp@esms.org.uk.

Mary Erskine School

Each year, staff at Mary Erskine put on a panto for the pupils on the last morning of term in December. The script is adapted from famous stories with a modern, school twist to the story and the staff and pupils enjoy this immensely. The pantos are predominantly written by Catherine Park, MES English Teacher, who skilfully produces fantastic, contemporary and relatable stories for a huge cast of enthusiastic staff. We have selected some photos from 2014, 2015 and 2016 below. Do you recognise any of the staff involved?

Daniel Stewart’s College

As some of you will know, the boys from Daniel Stewart’s College used to sponsor a merchant ship through an Adopt a Ship campaign which took place in the 1930s. The ship that was allocated was called the Bencruachan. At this time, the ladies from Mary Erskine were sharing the building with Daniel Stewart’s boys on a shift based system due to their Queen Street building being set up as a first aid outpost. The boys and girls made many presents for the staff of the Bencruachan including “socks, mitts, helmets and scarves in addition to books, sweets and other comforts.”

Boys at the school took time to write and send Christmas cards to FPs on active duty. “We were glad to be able to send out again to our old boys on service a Christmas Card from the School. It was pleasant to receive from several of the recipients letters in which they told of the pleasure the card gave them.”

The boys in the city often took jobs in various ways to assist with the war effort. In the winter, the Post Office was one of the most popular jobs as it involved mainly sorting the letters and parcels in the warm warehouses. Boys also undertook courses in signalling over the winter break to allow them to assist with communications where necessary.

Daniel Stewart’s boys often worked hard to ensure that others were supported in a variety of ways and the Sale they held in winter 1944 is a great example. Pupils brought in books and toys which were no longer used and donated them to a Fair of sorts where other pupils could purchase the items and the money raised was then donated to Lord Wavell’s Indian Relief Fund. This was not the only beneficiary of their generosity – presents were often donated to the Princess Elizabeth Child Garden (a local nursery).

Melville College

Brocklehirst – for those who have watched our Remembrance video, you will know that half of Melville College moved to a country house in Dumfriesshire for a year at the start of World War Two. The pupils’ time at Brocklehirst was well documented and we know that they held a fancy dress party at the end of term with several visitors invited to join the boys and their masters in the festivities. The Chronicle reports: “The festivities opened with dinner at seven o’clock – turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies, jellies etc. all cooked by Mr Rae and served up by the sixth form. The boys’ fancy dress parade was held first and the ladies decided that Inches as “The Cat and the Fiddle” was the winner, with Murphy, as a horse, a good second. The boys decided that of the ladies Miss Ella Young, as Little Bo-Peep was a worthy winner, whist Miss Jeffrey, as an Indian Prince, was a good runner up. The party finally came to an end at 12 o’clock.” Sadly there are no photographs available from this event.

Edinburgh – The Chronicle in 1942 reported on a Preparatory School Concert that was held at the end of term. “It consisted of a dozen musical sketches and songs by a choir standing round the piano. The scenes included ‘See in yonder Manger low’ with solo and chorus; ‘The Wild Horsemen’, a dance with whips and bells; a colourful sketch called ‘The House that Jack Built’; the choir singing ‘Rule Britannia’; a mime ‘The First Nowell’ with shepherds, wise men, angels and the choir, and several amusing little sketches”.

The Chronicle in 1944 reported that “This Christmas promises to be the best of the war as most of the main roads are lighted and more food is being released, and fruit for making plum puddings. Also we hear that all young people are to receive extra sweets, and with this happy thought, and all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, we will close”.

ESMS Carol Services 2019

And finally we have some photos from the Junior and Senior Carol Services in 2019!

One thought on “Christmas Past at ESMS

  1. Thanks great photos.
    So sorry for all the pupils who have missed all the live concerts
    Christmas in Queen Street was always such fun and we loved decorating the form rooms

    Like

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