Annie Gartly (b. Wrightstone, Glass 12th October, 1886 – d. Aberdeen 11th March, 1971)
Annie Gartly, or ‘Nan’ as she was usually called, was teaching at Beldorney School, probably as a pupil teacher aged 16, in 1902 ( James Godsman ‘Glass Aberdeenshire – The Story of a Parish’, p 250). In June 1907, according to school records quoted by Godsman, ‘Miss Gartly finished her time and left school today’.
We then have two years unaccounted for until 1909, when she enrols, as one year student, at the Aberdeen Training Centre.
In this class photograph Nan is in the top right hand corner, on the outer edge, second down, in the white dress, looking rather supercilious.
After her year at the Training Centre, Nan returned to teaching, initially in the Huntly area. She seems to have been quite assiduous in furthering her skills by means of classes in such things as household management, domestic science, dressmaking, drawing and even folk dancing. For each of these classes, six in all, she was awarded a certificate and, with the aid of these, it is possible to trace her movements from school to school over the years from 1911 till 1929. In 1911 and 12 she was at Culsalmond Public School, in 1913 Gartly Central School, in 1919 Newborough Public School but by 1929/30 she had moved out of the area to St Monans Public School in Fife.
This photograph by Kilgour of Huntly
is the only formal studio portrait I have of Nan alone. It is dated ‘Christmas 1922’ and forms a striking contrast to the following more informal shot, taken on a bridge in Centre Island, Toronto, Canada c.1930.
The long school holidays would have given Nan an opportunity to visit her sister Ella, in Canada, and in this picture we see them both, centre, flanked by two, unknown, friends. Nan is on our right and Ella on our left.
This other snap is even more informal.
In this case Nan and Ella are sitting high at the back of the automobile, again Nan on Ella’s left. Who is at the wheel or who is leaning against the car, bottle in hand, I do not know. I only hope that none of them are setting the small boy, peering over the car bonnet, a bad example. Perhaps this is one of Nan’s holiday snaps that she did not show her pupils back at St Monans Public School.
Coincidentally, the picture is inscribed on the back ‘Aberdeen Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario’. The registration plate ‘Ontario 1930’ gives some indication of date.
Back home, by 1940, Nan had moved a relatively short distance up the Fife coast to take up a teaching position at Madras College, St Andrews. In this spectacular panoramic group portrait of the College staff and pupils, the original print of which measures 20cms by 84cms, Nan is sitting on the right of the Rector, J D McPetrie. He is easy to spot since he is in the centre, immediately on front of the girl with the white blouse, presumably the head girl.
It is possible to date this picture to sometime after June 1940 since, according to the Madras College website, this is when Mr McPetrie’s was appointed Rector.
This detail of the centre part of the panorama makes it easier to identify Nan.
Unfortunately, by the late 1940s Nan had to retire from teaching due to a weak heart. She moved into this semi-detached house on Rutland Road, Hazlegrove, Cheshire, within walking distance of Barbara’s house, Mere Lodge. I remember the ‘sunbeam’ feature on the gate quite clearly. This favoured motif of the art deco period must have made quite an impression on me.
By the mid 50s, however, she was staying in Aberdeen. She spent some time with my parents in Osborne Place before settling into her own house in Cromwell Gardens. Despite the weak heart diagnosis Nan enjoyed long retirement which included a number of continental holidays. This picture, dated 12th April 1961, shows her with her sisters Betty, centre, and Ella, our right, in a restaurant in Palma.
She died in Aberdeen, aged 84, and her ashes were scattered in the Kaimhill Garden of Remembrance, Aberdeen.
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