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Happy or sad memories of The Martha Frew Home are a blend that will help many of us to understand or simply share experiences. These may reveal what can be shared, somehow find what is temporarily lost, and with hope made clearer.
Others may learn much from this website as there is no other Childrens Home in Scotland covered at present that has been created by individuals who actually stayed there or knew of the place.
Your memories with permission, will be shared on the pages below. You can choose to use your choice of initials, which will be printed below with the date received.
Just to let everyone know who visits this site, I had some difficulties with the site as I maintain this myself. I have been working with CELCIS and the Scottish Human Rights concerning children in care. I hope to devote much more time to this website which is run on sixpence by a beginner!
All views provided they are not offensive are welcome as the history becomes more clear. I thank everyone for their patience and giving what at times are difficult memories to express.Posted by Hazel
I was in marthfrew for near 3 yrs best time of my life. I have often wondered ware everyone has gone or even been.I remember miss lesells very well the woman was a lady i will never forget, John Mitchell 12 June 2014
I first went into care when I was five or six. I remember that the matrons name was mrs Short along with her husbamd and son Edward. I also rember that one Christmad I played the part of the paintef doll in the annual Chrostmas show. unfortunately I don't remember the names of any children except my younger brother and sister. We were there until we went to a foster home in North Queensferry. I didn't think any of the original building existed until I went to a wedding 55 years after kathleen pauley (neep) on 02 July 2013
I stayed at Martha Frew with my elder sister over Easter of 1958. I attended Crossford and Cairneyhill School whilst she went to the old Queen Ann. I hated it I remember a regime of cleaning and what would be looked upon as cruelty these days but at the time was discipline. We were there through no fault of our own but I felt that I was being punished and didnt know why. I remember Mr and Mrs Short who ran the home (that is an exageration of a word)and Mr Michie from Social Works he,I remember, being kind to us.I remeber having to line up for everything. Yes the carbolic soap, yes having to wear ill-fitting clothes, but great grounds to play in. Most of the nurses were kind to us. I remember not being allowed to talk to an older girl who had just had a baby or was pregnant. I remember a windy back staircase we had to climb at 8o'clock in the evening for hot chocolate. Looking back this was the worst period of our childhood but thankfully,I dont think it did us any long term harm. We have went on to lead normal ordinary lives I hope all the other children who stayed there can say the same.
Posted by J.T.F. on 06 April 2013
I was in the home for a while in 1959. My Mum had left my Dad and i never saw her again. I was in with my three brothers we were taken there by Mr Mickey, i also remember Marjorie Nutt and the dreaded white sauce and carrots.
Posted by Terry Foster 15 Dec 2104
I and my three brothers were in the home in 1959 we were taken there by mr mickey,i also remember Margery nutt and white sauce and carrots.ialso seem to remember aplace that we called the dookit we used to play jajs and cmmandoes there
Terry Foster 12 January 2014
I don't really remember being in the Martha Frew at the age of 2 but I do have photos taken by my aunt and uncle when they came to visit. They said I always looked unhappy but then I guess I would as I would be missing my mum. I will look the photos out and post them. If anyone recognises anyone else in the pictures it would be good to hear from them.
Posted by lorraine 14 May 2014
I was placed in the "Home" with my sister just before Easter 1958. I was 10 my sister was 13.I felt I was being punished for something but didnt know what. I remember it was a very strict regime. We had chores to do daily. The managers Mr and Mrs Short were not kindly people. Mr Michie from Social Works visited occasionally he was a pleasant man. Mealtimes were a hit or miss. If there was something on a particular day that we didnt like it was a case of sit there until it was eaten whether it made us vomit or not. I remember a stone, winding, back staircase we climbed in the evenings for hot cocoa. I remember having my clothes taken from me on arrival and ill-fitting replacements issued. To the Shorts looking back,it seemed that we were an inconvenience which they took out on us by way of punishment. When visitors handed over sweets and other treats, we never received these. My sister until she died recently spoke of the hatred she had for that place. It was hardly a Home but an institution that would border on cruelty today. I have never let my stay there influence the rest of my growing up however, I should think it left a lasting impression and affected others differently.
Posted by J. T.F. on 24 July 2013
Hi I remember being at the home. I went there a lot with my sister and a brother. Between the age of 4 to 10 years. I remember every child having soap up their nose after getting their face washed. We did schooling there. I remember the dormtories and where the staff slept and watching telly in the matrons house. It was between the years 1962 and 1970.I hated it and have hated my parents for it ever since, not that our child hood was any better than the home. I remember franky slaven running away and being brought back.
I was there twice, in 1959 when my mother produced her fifth and, I think, a year or so later. Various brothers and sisters were there with me, or in care elsewhere. By and large my memories are good, though I'm not glad I was there. The feelings of dislocation remain to this day, albeit not with the power to harm.
Unlike some on this site, I can remember being cared for by the couple who I think were in charge at the time. Memories include playing board games with them, the famous monkey puzzle tree, the small of carbolic soap, and the occasion a group of us disturbed a wasps' nest in the grounds. I was slowest to run, and ended up with seven stings to shoulders and back of neck. Ouch! Oh, and Marjorie Nutt (she was a year or two older than me and later stood me up for what would have been my first date) singing to me in Gaelic. She was a gorgeous redhead!
Thanks for creating the site. G.G. 26.01.12
Hi, unsure if this has any relevance but I notice you date the Martha Frew as between 56 & 68. I moved to Crossford in 1972 and there were "Home" kids at the new (then) Crossford Primary and for a couple of years after. I was 7 and remember them being treated no differently than anyone else at school. Children more tolerant then?.
(dates of MFH have been amended Ed.)
I remember the dormitory where the girls slept and the long windows.
I stayed for a few months in 1968 with two of my adopted brothers after adopted parents died. the few memories I do hold are those of fear and doing chores which I would never expect from a 3/4 year old. My older brothers held stronger memories which were never fully talked about.
Someone mentioned Mr Micki.....I believe he got high up in the social work department. He was responsible for placing myself and my brothers with long term foster parents who were abusive in all manners. I was told by my foster parents that Mr Micki had told them that it was acceptable to use a belt and the baffie ( slipper) on us as that is what we had been used to.........shame on every one of them.
"My first memory was of having my clothes taken away and new clothes and shoes provided from a large cupboard.
I cannot remember how I was transported from my home in Dunfermline to the Martha Frew Home.
I was 8 years old and with four brothers. I have many memories of the house, the 'nurses' and the children who stayed there.
Does anyone remember the awful macaroni pudding?
My older brother and I always talked of running away from there and we discussed it often ..."
I do remember sitting in a Bay window at the front of the home looking out at what I remember as a Monkey Puzzle type tree in the lawn on the approach to the main entrance. I remember being taken to a fishing museum and going to the swimming baths.
It seems odd to me that my memories do not recall anymore considering the time I was there.
"It was, I recall, like being trapped in very bad dream, detached from almost all sources of safety and security.
Monkey puzzle tree, long driveway, bullies who were manager's pets, Oliver-esque scenes, shovelling coal, mind refusing to accept the reality of being lost, deserted and powerless.
Dark, dark thoughts of darker days. I have a horrid feeling that they were created for some ulterior purpose.
Now you have opened the shutters and light will start to pour into many people's lives. To all who were there...we did it, we survived!"
I was put in Martha Frew Children's home in 1953 when I was aged 4. My mother was ill and as a family of 8 my brother and I were put in for about a year. We went to Crossford Primary School. I remember a Mr Mickey ran the Home at the time.
I have been trying to find out more about this time, went to my local Library and received a letter from the Council to say I had to pay £10 for any information. I have not yet done this and was very interested in hearing of the this website. I have no photos of my time there and have actually been round Keavil House (the old original block) but I could not remember much about it. I remember my brother and his friends tied a girl up to the trees outside and she missed her dinner, the smell of carbolic soap in the toilets, pottys under the beds in the dormitory and the crisp white linen nightdresses.
My Dad and my Aunty used to bring up sweets and remember watching them walk back down the long lane (my Dad crying). Sad memories and I would really like to see any old photos or hear from anyone who was in there at that time.
Myself and three other sisters were first put in the home when our mum died 1956 and was once again put back because my dad could not manage. My two oldest sisters seem to have wiped the memories but both my sister above me cannot. We felt if you had to tell people they would nopt believe you.
I hate white sauce and carrots because i was forced to eat it even after i had been sick on the plate. If it had not been for my sister sneaking back and scraping out of the window when matron short was called away.
The running down the drive four times a day timed you didnt need to be late or look out. I also remember lying listening at night when a boy ran away and threw himself in the front of Mr Mickeys car rather than be brought back to the home, and the punishment that ensued I can honestly say that was the worst time of our lives.
But as somebody already wrote we survived but I can honestly say I still get upset if I talk about it.
I still make my beds with hospital corners. I read that somebody thought that Mr Mickey ran the home, when it was Matron and Mr Short who took the greatest of pleasure of ruling the home with fear not love.
The only person who treated us with any respect was Miss Lessels