I was born in Bo’ness in 1920 and started the Grange School in 1925 so my first Fair Day with the school was in 1926. In these days everyone walked the procession and afterwards we went to Kinneil Estate for the revels. There was no such thing as sair feet from fashion fair shoes in those days because we all wore new white gutties and if you couldn’t afford new ones, old ones were whitened and put on the window sill to dry for the Fair E’en.
Getting new Fair clothes was important even way back then. Nellie Bryce’s in the Market Square or Douds (opposite Tesco) were the shops who stocked the ‘latest fashion’! Being one of eight children I didn’t always get a new Fair frock but always got new vest, pants and socks. Maw saved up in the club all year to make sure some of us got new clothes for the Fair.
The Fair E’en was when the excitement used to build up. We used to watch the horses and carts gather at the Co-operative to polish the carts and pleat the horse’s manes and tails. This would take most of the night, sometimes it was midnight before they would get finished but everything had to be perfect for the big day.
The Fair Morning would dawn, sun would shine and in the distance the sound of bands. I had three uncles in Carriden Band and when I hear that familiar sound on the Fair Morning today I still get a tear in my eye.
My daughter Ann was a flower girl in 1958 and she looked lovely in her blue seer sucker nylon dress. It was so hot that year I remember the tar was melting on the road.
History repeated itself weather-wise in 1986 when my grand-daughter Faye Connelly was Chief Lady. That was such a great and very proud moment for me.
I’m 86 years of age now and proud to be a Granger and see another Grange School Fair. May the community spirit that is Bo’ness Fair continue for many years to come?
Have a Great Fair Day!
FANNY ROBERTSON (nee Bow)