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Glentress Camp plan circa 1952
Forestry Memories
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No: 4057   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1952
Glentress Camp plan circa 1952

Used as Forester Training School from 1946-1953.

Initially set up as a Ministry of Labour camp for the unemployed circa 1933 where men stayed for a period and were given work experience mainly building forest roads and other manual work. The details below are the role of the various buildings (as per numbered indicative plan) when used as a Forester Training School and as the main office base for Glentress Forest circa 1952. Much of the information as he recalls it after nearly 70 years is courtesy of John Keenleyside who was a student there in 1951-53. Additional help has been provided by Bill Hunter, Ross Deacon and Martin Harrity.
An aerial image from 1947 accessed via National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) has greatly assisted the location of the buildings. Please note the buildings are not to scale and not in the exact positions as per aerial photographs and they are clad with sheet iron except where stated otherwise.

1. Furniture store for beds and wardrobes
2. Store for blankets, bedding and pillows
3. One of the first year student accommodation huts with eight curtained spaces, two wood burning stoves, electric light and fire extinguisher (only hut now standing 2018)
4. Small structure visible in 1947 and 1957 probably toilets
5. Accommodation for lecturer Head Forester Bill Stoddart and family. May not be correct as this was an air raid shelter and could have been used as a store or laundry room
6. One of the first year student accommodation huts with eight curtained spaces, two wood burning stoves, electric light and fire extinguisher.
7. Accommodation unit for Head of School Tom A Robbie and his family (Tom actually head of Lyndhurst Forestry School England but family stayed on at Camp)
8. Medium structure visible in 1947 less so in 1957
9. Accommodation for lecturer Head Forester Bill Stoddart and family or just possibly one of the first year student accommodation huts with eight curtained spaces, two wood burning stoves, electric light and fire extinguisher.
10. One of the first year student accommodation huts with eight curtained spaces, two wood burning stoves, electric light and fire extinguisher
11. Accommodation unit for lecturer Norman Tulloch and his family
12. Shower black and toilets
13. Upper Lecture Hall mainly for use by the first year students on Tuesday afternoons, Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings. There were 10-12 steps up to the huts on this level.
14. This hut along with 15 was the second year student accommodation and divided into 28 single rooms and a common room all heated by a coke boiler. The common room was the location for a radio where students listened to the programmes and weather forecasts.
15. Included in above.
16. Building of wooden construction divided internally in half. The lower half housed the mobile forestry mechanics workshop and the top half was assigned to the Forestry School as a tool store and work shop where students had permission to house their motorcycles (3-4 machines)
17. Small building seen in 1947 aerial photograph but less so in 1950 photo.
18. Glentress Forest Office – District Officer Norman Brown and Head Forester W H Mackay (ex Borgie –Sutherland)
19. Forester Training School Offices, Main Lecture Hall (40 Students) and School Library with books by Mark Anderson, Hiley and volumes of Schlich’s Silvicultural Systems (several detailed volumes!)
20. Recreation Hut with facilities for badminton, table tennis, small snooker table, board games etc which were all cleared away for the annual Wood Choppers ball when many eligible ladies from Peebles were invited to attend. A meal was provided in the School Canteen cooked by staff the quality and quantity well beyond the normal daily fare.
21. Small hut with double pitched roof?
22. The wooden building used as accommodation for the cooking staff
23. Recreation hut with snooker table, dart boards and stage sometimes cleared for social events
24. John’s description of Nissan huts is as follows: The first year cycle shed was across from the Mobile Mechanic’s workshop (16). Above this was a log preparation hut open ended complete with a Liner Saw Bench powered by a 3.5HP Lister petrol water cooled engine. It could cut logs up to 8 inches diameter but these had to be chopped or cut smaller to allow enter via the pot hole on top of the hut stoves. Above this again was an open ended hut used as a drying shed for lengths of timber. These building are not seen in photographs in 1953 or 1950 due to the large tree cover.
25. Canteen and kitchen with storage areas for bins and coke at the end
26. Small hut or house seen in sports day photograph
27. Garage – a large square building which accommodated a lorry complete with Hap cover on the back: ex army QL truck with capacity to carry large number of students to battle with fires or to work locations: a former red cross ambulance for student, goods and service transport: lastly a large Woolsey car owned by T A Robbie (School principal) carefully concealed under a white cover to protect from dust and the eyes of any senior officials who may have requested a rent.
28. Long hut next to access road -John remembers that Conservancy Road Engineers were based at Glentress at times and could have occupied these buildings and may have been offices for assistant foresters?
29. Building seen in 1947 aerial photograph but gone by 1949.
30. Old toll house the accommodation for the Forestry Commission lorry driver Tam Houlison

A. Small brick building with electric transformer and may have housed a standby generator. The mains water entered the camp at this point and gave problems caused by rusting pipes.
B. Two small structures visible in 1947 but not in 1950 photograph
C. Possible Nissan hut seen in 1947 aerial photo and in 1950 photo
D. Was the site of an Edinburgh Weekender Tram Car. Beside it was a LMS passenger coach in dark maroon colour with black roof. Local people said that this carriage was taken off rail at a level crossing near Eshiels and taken to its current site by running along colliery belting and then mounted on a plinth of bricks and concrete, the wheels and under carriage being sold for scrap. There was a story going that the business man received more from the sale of the scrap than he paid for the whole carriage! The colliery belting abandoned on site was subsequently used by the local Forestry Commission staff to make fire brooms – the first of a long history of such brooms.
E. Magazine for storing explosives for road building and quarrying
F. Series of four structures which were air raid shelters with solid blast protection walls. John recalls that the walls were protected by sand filled hessian bags built up to roof height. In 1953 the January gale blew much of the sand away from the then disintegrating hessian bags. Ruth recalls that when the structures were being dismantled in later years an underground chamber was discovered when a machine broke through the roof.
G. Two low Nissan huts
H. Used for garden tools and for preparation of garden produce before it was delivered to the cook house
I. Nissan Hut used as a bicycle storage location by the second year forestry students
J. Nissan Hut - use uncertain


Any comments, corrections and student stories very welcome.
Picture added on 11 April 2018 at 11:13
add commentComments:
4 & 8 Were outside toilets and were at the back of No5. The stone /brick air raid shelter, air raid shelter is now ranger deer larder and I think a oil store. No28 Was in about 1955 /59 Forest office to pay the men, Forest office and District office for many years after. No9 was a Nissen building and I am sure in the 1950's A T Liddell and family lived there, he passed through school picture 514 at Glentress. You have Mr Stoddart in No5 & I think that was air raid shelter maybe he was in number No9 before Mr A T Liddell. No 21 in mid 1950's was a worker's house first person in I remember Mr William Brown & family. (E) Magazine shed should be further down in your map if you look at photo on your site of foresters No697 between Nos 5/6 men the building is there, the end of building at top of picture is No18. No30 the name of lorry driver that stayed in Toll house was Thomas Houlison

Added by J R Deacon on 13 April 2018.
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