The true history of
the Lochgelly Tawse
(AKA School Belt or The Strap)
By Margaret J Dick (daughter of John J
Dick & granddaughter of George W Dick)
Part 6- After The Tawse
There was still
plenty work to get on with.
~John & Malcolm Dick
with a set of hand stitched Clydesdale Harness they made
had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the late
70's he worked on for a good number of years before retiring
with poor health in 1987 age 30. I flirted with the idea
of joining the family business, after all I had helped
out in the shop and workshop since I could remember but
in 1981 I was offered an apprenticeship as a mechanical
technician in Ferranti, Edinburgh so of I went.
Things are always changing,
Dad developed a new range of products supplying specialist
instrument cases and workman's gear to the oil industry
and tourist goods to a successful Scottish producer of
traditional jewellery. So in 1989 they sold up the shop
and moved to a workshop at home in Plantation Street Lochgelly
with thoughts of semi-retirement.
In 1991 I joined Dad in
the workshop, on a part time basis at first, Ferranti's
had run into problems and I was amongst the massive redundancies,
but it wasn't long before I was hooked, I guess Leatherwork
is in my blood after all.
In 1996 dad and I decided
to commemorate the Lochgelly Tawse by selling a replica
miniature with history scroll, unfortunately in this brief
history we managed to spell Robert Philps' name wrong
(Philip!). Oops! Well it never was our strong point thank
goodness for spell checks.
Over the next few years
I absorbed as much knowledge as I could from Dad, learning
many traditional saddlery techniques but saddlery was
not really my area of interest, to broaden my education
I worked several days a week for MacKenzie Leather Goods
Victoria Street Edinburgh, manufactures of quality handbags,
briefcases and portmanteau.By 2000 dad had gradually retired
and I'd just as gradually taken over the business.
Sadly dad died in 2005
but today I'm still trading as John J Dick Leather Goods
in my workshop just outside Lochgelly. From here I continue
to supply instrument cases, workman's gear and tourist
goods to other companies but also bespoke bags, briefcases,
sporrans, belts, guitar straps, tankards etc. direct to
the public and the odd custom replica "Lochgelly Tawse"
(for collectors only) when I can source a suitable hide.
Margaret J Dick
T/a John J Dick Leather Goods
Tel: 01592-784 278