A Quiz for Jeely Eaters - the Answers

By Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart's very popular poem is a bit of a local classic that discusses times, places and events gone by. Many more senior Vale people will still remember much of this. When it was first published it created some discussion amongst those of use who are involved in this website. We decided that it would be a fun idea to try to come up with the answers.

There are 51 places, people or events mentioned in the Jeely Eaters Quiz. The only thing we know about Andrew Stewart is what was said about him in Arthur Jones and Graham Hopner’s book “On Leven’s Bank “ which appeared in 1980. In this he is described as “an elderly gentlemen from Haldane”. Some of the questions suggest that it is set in the 1920-30’s while others such as Balloch Fair would go back even earlier than that.

Most of the place names, though not them all, are already listed in the Place Names page. With the people, its the reverse with not many of them already appearing on the site, and in some cases little prospect of actually identifying them.

So we already knew the answers to many of them and research came up with some more but there are still a few that have us stumped. We have linked to the missing answers below from the relevant lines in the poem. Click these links or just proceed to the answers list. We would also appreciate any information that would help us create a time line for any of this.

The Poem

Have you seen the Cannon Raw or passed by Sauchieha'
Have you listened to the word of Gavie Granger?
Did you ever know the thrill o'sledgin fast doon Ritchie Hill?
Have you seen the dunnies doon at Castle Danger?
Have you listened to the lark singin up in Brawley's Park?
Did you ever take stroll up to the "Tank"?

Have you climbed the "Dummies Brae", to the Slunger made your way?
Have you ever fished for troot at Shallowbank?
Did ye ken the "Irish Lawn" - Have you heard the Jimston Baun?
Have you walked up tae the Pappert Well?
Before you were a swimmer did you walk the Pan Lade skimmer?
Have you heard the pealing of the Auld Craft bell?

Have you wondered who could bide in a place called Sunnyside?
Did you ever play up at the "Tank Wids" when a boy?
Did you ever go at all to the Palace or the Hall?
Or did you see Jock Miller in "Rob Roy"?

Have you joukit ower the tin at Millburn tae get in
When Wullie Robb was goalie for the Vale?
Have you spent a summer day jist dookin' up the bay
And come home late wi' some unlikely tale?

Did you walk with expectation up by the Old Plantation
and cross the field toward McLellan's Brae?
With a heart as light as a feather did you stroll among the heather
and rest there at the closing of the day?

Wi' Balloch choc-o-bloc have you walked the old Slip-dock
and felt like Blondin walking o'er the falls?
Did you find it so entrancing, when you went to Sanny's dancin
Doon North Street at the Northern Halls?

Have you heard the ghostly moan as you passed the "Taurry Loan"
Or the spooks at "Sparrow Castle" up Braheid?
Have you seen the Tinker's waddin up forenenst the Mull o' Hadden
Did you ever cross Carman wi' some pieces and a pan
Or walked o'er Stoney Mollan to Ardmore?
Yet you never seemed to tire as you kinneled up the fire
and sampled Caurdross tea doon by the shore?

Did you ever make a stop at Leckie's barber shop
And found auld Bob Scott was in the chair
And heard him pour derision on a "Cooncil withoot vision"
As Tam the barber tried to cut his hair?

Dif you hire a bike frae Taig, or go to Grannie Craig
to buy her Candy Cheuchers in a poke,
Dis you ever go to meet some freens in Wilson Street,
Where the smell o' gas would mak ye choke?

Have you ever heard a turn at a concert up the Burn?
Or seen the "Wumman Hoose" at Dilllichip?
Did you march behind the baun' wi' a wee flag in your haun'
Up Bank Street at the Cooperative trip?

Have you seen the shining brass as the Bowl Carts used to pass
Wi' names like Methven, Mathieson and Lang?
Do you mind o' Paw Gargaro as he pushed his ice cream barrow
And the tunes the wee melodeon man sang?

You'll hae mind o' Lee's Bar, or Doctor Cullen's car
That banged its way around the neighbourhood.
Was there magic in the air when you went to Balloch Fair
And walked the waterside at Fisherwood?

You'll hae mind o' Allan Bayne who delighted every wean
By makin' up wee rhymes aboot their names.
And you'll ken fine who I'm meaning' when I mention Paddy Keenan
And Jeck Rabb the Warden at Linnbrane?

Now if you've answered all of this series o' sentimental queries
And understood my reminiscing tale.
You know your way about and can say without a doubt
You're a Native "Jeely Eater" frae the Vale!


(Much of this information is also listed in the Vale places names pages.)

1. Canon Raw: Long gone, demolished in the late 1920's/ early 30's, this row of houses, two-storey with attics, stood on the Bonhill - Jamestown Road, almost opposite the back gate to Dalmonach, just about where Cables Drive now joins the main road. Considering how it turned out, it is hard to believe that when it was built in the early 1830's it was called Church Row, after the nearby Mount Zion Relief Church, which had opened in 1831.

There are a number of explanations for how it acquired the name Cannon Row, the most colourful being that the women of each house often used to hang out of her window to abuse passers-by, and this looked just like cannons poking through gun ports on men-of-war sailing ships. And why not? Possibly called after an owner of the buildings at some stage, a record of whom has long since disappeared.

2. Sauchieha’: This is the nickname for the narrow lane at the north end of the Gilmour Street car park (running down the south wall of Leven Cottage) which joins the car park to the Main Street, just about the bus stop. Presumably the Sauchieha' is an ironic allusion to Sauchiehall Street. Lockhart was a blacksmith who had his smiddy in the area in the early-mid 1800's.

3.“Gavie” Grainger: Mentioned, although not very fully, in the Place Name entry for Grainger Road. It could do with some dates and a little more about him. My impression is that he was in his street-preaching hey-day from about 1900-30 but that could be wrong in either direction.

Return to Previous Page4. Ritchie’s Hill: This hill lies between Smollett Street and the Alexandria bypass, north of Gilmour Street. These days Margaret Drive runs along its crest, but until the 1970's it was a favourite sledging run for children in the centre of Alexandria. The houses of Cowie Terrace had already encroached on it in the 1960's. There was a farmer called Ritchie in the Jamestown area in the 1850's, who owned different plots of land throughout the Vale. He probably owned, and gave his name to the field in which the Hill stands. He was the father of Laurie Ritchie, famous in the Vale in the second half of the 19th century as violinist, although blind from birth.

5. Castle Danger: This was the nick-name of a tenement on the corner of Main Street and Hill Street in Alexandria, probably built in the 1830's and demolished in the 1940's / 50's. It is most likely called after the 1832 novel, Castle Dangerous, by Sir Walter Scott.

Castle Danger

This image was taken from a position just below the Police Station in Hill Street. McKenzie's pub can be seen on the building to the right. The tenement was located on what is now the entrance to Glen's garage.

Return to Previous Page6. Brawley’s Park: This was a field in Smollett Street, Alexandria, long disappeared under villas, in which a man by the name of Brawley used to graze his cows, while tending his market garden near the Crescent, beside the Leven at Bonhill Bridge. No, we don't know where he came from, but presumably he took his cattle with him to save his own grazing, and if this was the nearest he could get to the Crescent, it must have been in the 1870 - 80's after Bridge, Leven and Thomas Streets began to encroach on Parkneuk at the Crescent, and before the Smollett Street houses were built.

7. “The Tank”: This is the nick-name for the reservoir which itself took its nickname from a metal tank dating from about 1860, maybe earlier, and also located on Overton Farm not far from where the present reservoir is. The metal tank was part of Alexandria’s first attempt at a town-wide water supply, drawing water from the wells on the hillside. This Tank could hold about 70,000 gallons of water, and water was distributed via iron pipes to upright wells in the street. It was a bit primitive, and the Tank was replaced by a new reservoir in 1879 (the private company had been replaced by the Local Authority in 1869). A further development was the pumping of water from the Loch at Drumkinnon Bay into the reservoir at Overton, which started in 1882. This had drawbacks, including the cost of continuous pumping and pollution from Lochside houses and the steamers.

8. Slunger/Dummies Brae: This slunger was one of the most famous tracks and walks in the Vale for well over a century, and is still celebrated in many poems. It ran from about Hillbank Street, just west of the Golf Course, to Auchencarroch Road. In other words, it followed a very similar line to the present Northfield Road. It disappeared in the late 1940's when the new Dalmonach housing scheme was built - much regretted and certainly not forgotten.

Return to Previous PageThe Dummies Brae ran from the north end of Main Street Bonhill (just south of Cables Drive) and up to Dalmonach road to join the Slunger.

9. Shallowbank: This is one that we don't have an answer for. It could have been anywhere on the Leven from just below the Stuckie Bridge to under Bonhill Bridge and then at the Glebe at Bonhill opposite Millburn park. Answers/Comments >

10. Irish Lawn: This was an open space, approximately where the Police Houses and Garage are now in Hill Street. It was close to the old Castle Dangerous tenement on the corner of Hill Street, which had many Irish tenants, and the Irish Lawn was where Irish people met. In the 1920's and 30's it had an unsavoury reputation as being where they met to fight of a Saturday night. Both it and its reputation are long gone.

11. Jimston Baun: The Jamestown and Vale of Leven Brass Band was founded as a flute band on temperance principles in 1872 by the headmaster of the Free School, John McNidder and William Munro. Thanks to the generosity of Orr Ewing, Alexander Smollett and others, they obtained their first set of instruments in 1877 and were successful in competitions around the country. Further information is on the Jamestown page.

Return to Previous Page12. Pappert Well:A walk up the eastern hillside above Bonhill to the Pappert Well has been for generations one of the best known and loved walks in the Vale. Originally approached on the path through Bonhill Quarry and the woods beside the burn, it lies about half a mile slightly north east of the Black Woods. A marker-stone and a metal ladle, which made drinking the well water much easier, marked the site of the well. By the 1950's and 60's the Well itself was a bit of a movable drink - disturbed from time to time by the drain-laying requirements of forestry and agriculture. However, no matter where it moved to the ladle went with it. The Well and Hill were close to an old drove road to Falkirk Tryst and served both local walkers and the much-travelled drovers.

13. Pan Lade Skimmer: The Skimmer is mentioned in the Place Name entry for the Pan Lade. Being right outside the old Rowing Club building. There was a concrete breakwater on both sides of the inlet, and across the mouth of the inlet was a substantial wooden skimmer or boom, which was attached to a pole at the end of the northern breakwater. The purpose of the skimmer was to prevent floating debris entering the lade, but it made a perfect diving board for swimmers in the pool created by the breakwaters.

14. The Craft Bell: Many people who were raised in the Vale during the fifties and before will remember the Craft horn, which succeeded the Craft Bell. We do not know exactly when the change occurred but some of you may well remember other works horns or bells in the Vale of Leven. The Craft horn could be heard all over the Vale. Answers/Comments >

15. Sunnyside: This was the name given to an area between Steven Street and Susannah Street in the middle of Alexandria. It seems to have dropped out of usage before the Second World War.

16.“Tank Wids”: These woods at the top (west side on the lower slopes of the western hill) of the Christie Park, got their name about 1860. It was then that a private company started the Vale's first centralised water supply. See "The Tank" above.

Return to Previous Page17. Palace or the Hall: The Strand and Hall cinemas both are well covered in various places on the web-site including the article on the Vale Empire.

18. Jock Miller in “Rob Roy”: One could be forgiven for thinking that this was related to a production of “Rob Roy” at the Vale Empire but Rob Roy was actually the name of a charabanc (bus) owned by John or Jock Miller whose garage is described in the “Jock’s Park” entry in Place Names. That charabanc dates from the 1920’s.

19. Millburn: Vale Juniors football park, to which there are a great many web-site references.

20. Wullie Robb was goalie: Presumably he was a Vale FC goal-keeper but we would welcome further information? Answers/Comments >

21. "Up the Bay": Drumkinnon Bay. Many people still say "up the Bay".

22. Old Plantation: We’re spoiled for choice on this one. The “up by” may suggest that its on the hillside which would favour what we used to call the Black Woods en route to the Pappert Well behind Bonhill, but which was also known as The Plantation. There were also Plantations at Jamestown School, Caldarvan (Blairbeich) and there was also one at Broomley which is pretty well still there. Answers/Comments >

Return to Previous Page23. McLellan’s Brae: This is another one that needs an answer. Answers/Comments >

24. “Slip Dock”: This is obviously at Balloch and the name suggest a slip-way with a jetty of some sort beside it. There are several places that could fit the bill here but the comparison with Blondin (tightrope walker) walking over the falls (Niagara) suggest that it may perhaps have been a floating slipway or jetty of some sort? Answers/Comments >

25. Sanny’s Dancing in the Co-op Halls: We don’t know who Sanny was but there are various references to the Halls including in the History of Alexandria and they appear in many of the aerial photos of the Vale as well as in photos of them taken at Street level. Answers/Comments >

26. Taury Loan: The nickname for a flat-roofed tenement building that was near the western corner of Mitchell Street and Bank Street. Presumably it took its nickname from the tar, which would have been used to seal the roof.

27.Sparrow Castle: This is the nickname for a tenement, which stood on the north corner of Campbell Street and Main Street in Bonhill. It dated from the early 1800's and was demolished many years ago. The spot it occupied remains another of the gap sites in the older part of Bonhill, only the sparrows remain.

Return to Previous Page28. Tinkers wadden in Mull o Hadden: The Tinker's Loan runs from Dumbain Farm down over the old Balloch - Stirling railway line and up the slope to end at Auchincarroch and it still survives intact. The rest of it has been subsumed into Dumbain Road and then Dumbain Crescent. Until the mid 1950's the Loan ran up the south side of the blacksmith's shop at the old Mill of Haldane, on the south side of Ballagan Burn, to Dumbain Farm, where it joined the surviving track. Every year, in the summer and autumn, a family of travelling people erected their tents on a piece of open ground between the farm and the railway, and spent the summer and autumn mainly working on local farms, but also selling clothes pegs and heather door-to-door - with very few refusals because no one wanted a tinker's curse put upon them.

29. Carman: This is the area of moorland and hillside above Renton has a lot of history associated with it. More information about Carman Hill is available in Place Names.

30. Staney Mullan (Stoneymollan): This is the old drover's track or path that leads from Balloch to Cardross. It starts just beyond the entrance to Lomond Woods Caravan park on the Old Luss Road and leads you up the hill and over the main A82 via a footbridge. From there it progresses to the top of Carman Hill and over to Cardross. More information about Stoneymollan is available in Place Names.

31. Ardmore: This is near Cardross and reached via the Stoneymollan mentioned above. For much of the twentieth century it was the beach resort of choice for most of Renton and many in the Vale. In the summer, when the sun shone, and frequently when it didn't, people would head over Carman Hill or Stoneymollan for swimming, sunbathing and picnicking at Costa del Ardmore.

Return to Previous Page32. Caurdross Tea doon by the shore: Cardross beach was another popular destination for Vale folk, who would traditionally have days out to Cardross. While there they would build a fire and boil up their tea along with perhaps a pot of wulks (whelks) and some new potatoes (often "collected" from farmers fields in the vicinity.

33. Leckie’s barber shop: We need help with this one. Answers/Comments >

34. Old Boab Scott: As above. Answers/Comments >

35. Tam the barber: Presumably he worked in Leckie’s or maybe he was Leckie? Answers/Comments >

36. Bike frae Taig: Taig’s was a long-time cycle shop which originally assembled motor cars as well, in existence from early 20th century. It occupied the shop later taken over by Retson's who continued to run this as a cycle shop. It was a sort of lean-to at the north end of the row of shops on the west side of Main Street at the Fountain.

37. Granny Craig for candy cheuchers: We do not know yet where her shop was, but the candy chucker tradition was continued by the Rogers’ shop at the corner of Hill St and Middleton St. Answers/Comments >

38. The Gas Works in Wilson Street: The Gas Works lay between North Street and Wilson St, although when it was first built it was located solely in North St and Wilson St did not exist. It's hard to believe that two generations have grown up in the Vale since the Gas Works closed in the mid-1950s.

Return to Previous Page39. Concert up the Burn: Presumably this is some sort of event in the old quarry at Bonhill, perhaps an ironical reference to a concert. Answers/Comments >

40. “Wumman House”: This terraced building was built in the 1870's in Dillichip Loan, Bonhill, to house migratory female workers. It was built by Sir Archibald Orr Ewing who by then owned the adjacent Dillichip Works.

41. Co-operative Trip: An annual event for the children of Co-op members, there’s a photo of an early 20th century one in the Bonhill Parish Pipe band article.

42. Bowl-carts – Methven, Matheson, Lang: These were horse-drawn carts which went round the streets selling haberdashers’ wares such as brushes, pans and dishes, hence the name Bowl-cart. The last of these was Willie Lang who converted to a lorry and also sold paraffin oil.

43. Paw Gargaro’s ice-cream barrow: Paw Gargaro was presumably a member of the local Gargaro family who sold ice cream from his barrow. Answers/Comments >

44. “Wee melodeon man”: We need help with this one. Answers/Comments >

45. Lees’s Bar: Alexander “Sandy” Lees had a pub at 79 Alexander or Craft Street. He was a well kent figure in the Vale who often trod the boards of the Dramatic Society’s productions at the Empire, being a close friend of its owner, James Boyd. Sandy Lees died in January 1934 aged 85 and the licence was transferred to his son John.

Return to Previous Page46. Dr Cullen’s car: There were 3 generations of Dr Cullens in the Vale. Back in those days cars were still a novelty and there would have been very few in the Vale Those that were around were well known and linked to their owners.

47. Balloch Fair: Well documented in the article on Balloch and there is a photo of it as well. The last actual Horse Fair was held in 1919, but it was a pale shadow of former glories.

48. Fisherwood:This short road runs from Balloch Road at Balloch Station, parallel to the railway, and now stops at Lomond Road. Tullichewan Hotel stands on its corner and the villas, which occupy one side of the Road (the other side is the railway line), were built conveniently close to the railway line to attract Glasgow businessmen. It was built in late Victorian / early Edwardian times and used to include Fisherwood House.

49. Allan Bayne: Allan Bayne was active as a poet and a story teller around 1880 and after, We think he may have lived in the Renton's Main Street?  Answers/Comments >

50. Paddy Keenan: Not known outside of the Quiz. We need help with this one. Answers/Comments >

Return to Previous Page51. Jeck Rabb: The text suggests that he was a Fish Watcher - presumably called Jock Robb - who spent a lot of time at Linnbrain, which would have been natural enough. (Linnbrain is the large, deep pool in the Leven just along from the old Craft gate and adjacent to the tunnel that runs under the railway line.) Unfortunately he not mentioned in Henry Lamond’s book on angling on Loch Lomond, but that’s not surprising since he only mentions head fish watchers. Answers/Comments >



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"For those we loved are scattered,
and some in death sleep soun',
and the old oak tree sae bonnie,
has long since been cut doon".

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