Monday, May 04, 2009

Hamish on the Maggot

'When I lived in Nairn the area encompassed by the river from the sewerage bridge downstream to near the bailey bridge and the road leading from the caravan site to a little beyond the existing golf course car park was known as the Maggot. It was used by some residents of Harbour Street and the streets leading off it to connect to King Street as a drying area for their weekly washing. There were permanent clothes posts and lines near to the bridge and I presume these were provided by the Council. The women rarely if ever left the washing unattended otherwise it might not be there when they returned to collect it. "Tinkers" were blamed when that happened. Some ladies had washing out there most days in the week 'cos they "took in washing" to supplement the family income.

Another use of it was made by a small number of lads as a golf driving range.

Very occasionally the area was flooded by Spring Tides. Near to the harbour there was opening in the river bank that allowed this to happen and where "skeletons" of old timber built boats were clearly visible.

As far a I'm aware the road leading from the bridge to the shambles and the other occupancies was not named then.

My apologies to Iright since I can not help with the origin of the name. But on reading the comments made in this connection I can say that the local slaughter-house was sited in that area and was always referred to as 'the shambles'. There is also a reference to "Willie Tiptoe" with the suggestion that that is, or was, the name of a place in the town. That may well be the case but is it known that that was the name of a man who lived in Simpson Street and who was a person that was not at all liked by local folk.

Are you familiar with the most likely origin of the term Sewerage Bridge. If not I can make a reasonably valid suggestion.

Don't know of 'Witches Lane'. Any connection with Cawdor? A lady lived there when I was very young and she came to Nairn each week on Market Day. She was very tiny and somewhat scruffy looking and we children kept well away from her 'cos we said she was a witch and would cast a spell on us if we had been "up to no good". I recall one occasion when I must have had a clear conscience and walked very close to her as she sat on the High Church wall waiting for McRae and Dick's Cawdor bus to get back to her home. '
Hamish

16 comments:

growtosow said...

just read your post i recall wille tip toe he had something wrong with his foot. hence the name he had a motor bike with a side car also he stayed out at lochloy their used to be a bit off the road it was like a dump he had a caravan their also a lot of old buildings about.

iRight said...

Thanks for all the information Hamish. I have heard it said that had the Maggot been preserved rather than filled in then the threat of flooding to the Fishertown from high tides wouldn't now be so great as it is now.
I very much hope that the memory of the Maggot is preserved by Maggot Road being named just that!

Nairnlass said...

Willie TipToe had a club foot. Although is appearance was off putting he was harmless.My Gran would make him a bowl of soup and I remember him sitting in her kitchen discussing all matter of things. He was killed in an accident on the Inverness road.

George Burns said...

Willie Tiptoe was rough looking and gruff spoken but appearances were deceptive. He could be found most days during the fishing season on the River Nairn. I think his favourite beat was at the 'Giants backside' ( cleaned up a little ). He used an enormous Salmon fly rod that was easily 15 feet long. I remember on a couple of occasions receiving fishing tips from him on the riverbank.
George

Nairn quine said...

I also remember Willie Tiptoe with his club foot, and massive beard! He would shake his walking stick at anyonw who jeered him, but he was a harmless soul. He had a lovely high pitched singing voice, having heard him at a hogmanay party.

Anonymous said...

He may have been known to most people as "Willie Tiptoe",but his actual name was William Gordon.

Nairn quine said...

Regarding the lady,I remember a wee wifie dressed in a brown coat who went by the name of Jeannie Chapman. Any connection?

George Burns said...

I am not sure if there could be a mix-up over the Lochloy mention. The only gentleman I can remember living out in that direction and indeed more towards the Old Bar beach was the 'Mad golfer'. When I was 15 I worked in Wm. Low on the brae, for about 2 years, and served him regularly with his Saturday treat of a large filled roll. Mr Gunn was the manager at the time.
George

Hamish said...

Reference the query from Nairn Quine the lady I referred to was known locally as the "Cawdor Dwarf"

I recall the name Jeannie Chapman very well but no more than that I'm afraid

Anonymous said...

I remember Willy tip toe well I remember he came into the shore Inn one day and ordered a beer for around ten people standing at the bar, When Tommy pulled all the pints some of the people who thought they were humouring the old chap went to pay, but Tommy had seen this before and did not take their money then Willy pulled out a sock with a roll of notes in it and stood his round.
However I am sure he was found dead in his caravan on Loch loy road not killed in an accident as previously stated.

Pookie Candelabra said...

Shame he's gone over to the majority, then. Sounds to me like there was a man who very definately DID NOT have his head stuck up his own arse. Maybe we should all have a little think then, and a hard look at ourselves?

Min said...

I remember the old lady who used to wait for the Cawder bus , sitting on the High Church wall We were scared to pass her on the way home from Millbank School.
I remember Jeanie Chapman well she used to frequent the bushes on the Links, used to give us a fright when we were picking brambles.
Geordie Patience was another identity.
Does anyone remember the coalman Hughie and his bad tempered horse. It bit my mother one day when she was giving it a snack.
A sad day I recall when one of Wordies horses fell into the river just behind Fletchers bakehouse

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Nairn, what seems like eons ago. I was once told that the Maggot was called that because that was where the fishing boats would dump the remains of their cargo? I don't know if there is any truth to that though.

Anonymous said...

I remember Willie Tiptoe quite well and always knew him to be friendly, he once made me a fishing rod which he carved while we sat and chatted away, he lived somewhere close to the Shore Inn. As for Geordie Patience I remember him as a happy little man who would stop and joke with us on our way home from school (Millbank, he lived in a hut out Lochloy rd near the second quarrie and I would often see him there while playing in the area when I was a boy. Jeanie Chapman would often be seen looking for something to eat from the rubbish bins outside Yaks or the fish & chip shop next to Woolies (poor auld soul) Us kids used to torment her (kids can be so cruel) I think she was involved in an accident on the Inverness rd not Willie Tiptoe

Anonymous said...

Just read this page of your blog two years late, so I'm sure the question has been answered many times - the Witchy's Lane was the lane running from King Street to Harbour Street between Simpson Street and St Ninian's Road. Don't have a clue what it's real name ever was/is. Halfway up the lane, on the left hand side heading towards Harbour Street, was the Witchy's House, which was an old derelict house, which you weren't supposed to go in because it was dangerous, a warning as usual ignored by children of the time (I went to the Links in the late 60s).

Min said...

A few years late. I lived on St. Ninian Road, the lane you refer to was Shaw"s Close. There was an elderly lady who lived in the first house down from Berties chip shop, who had a collie dog that we were all scared of, as it used to bark at everyone going past. There used to be house opposite the chip shop but there were burnt down one winter night about 1946/47, I can remember the firemen going through our house to access the burning houses. Min Davidson (Walker)