Mary Hood and the Binnend Village

Compiled by Lynda McLeod, September 2016

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Mary Louisa Hill Hood was born in 1934 and lived in Albert Street, Easter Road in Edinburgh, and she was the eldest of three girls, Mary, Wilma and Janice. Her father was William (Bill) Hood and her mother was Kate Hood (née Carbury). Mary (my mum) used to spend many happy school summer holidays in Burntisland in Fife, 21 miles away from Edinburgh. In 2016 my sister Jill discovered that there was a Burntisland Museum and a website address So I asked mum what she remembered about her times at Binnend and here are some thoughts about Burntisland that Mary could remember.

Mary was taken up to Burntisland by her mother and father and then left to spend the whole school summer holiday with her granny and granddad, Janet and George Hood.

Pictured right - Kate and Mary Hood circa early 1940s.

Mary fondly remembers playing with the other kids in the trees and fields and she remembers running up the hill to watch the Spitfires and Hurricane airplanes fighting the German Luftwaffe way in the distance during the Second World War (1939-1945). The Germans dropped their bombs on the roof of the school, as they were heading towards the Rosyth dockyards some 8 miles away.

Pictured below - Mary, George and Cesar the dog.

Mary remembers playing with the McGillvery children and she remembers that their dad’s name was Pete McGillvery. She remembers her granny’s house had a big black range with a very high mantelpiece. Granny made George his breakfast before he went off to work at the British Aluminium company and Mary can’t ever remember her granny sitting down at the table to eat, she was always busy doing – washing, cooking and making dinners for her family. Mary remembers sleeping in a double-bed in a recess in the main room, which she had to climb up into and which she shared with granny. Grandad Hood slept in the one bedroom. She remembers washing in the main room using a big jug of warm water. The water was warmed up in a big pot on the black range.

Pictured right - one of the Binnend children, identity unknown.     

She recalls that they had to climb further up the hill to go to the dry-toilet. The toilets and any rubbish thrown into the midden-pit, were emptied every week. Mary remembers going down the hill for the messages [shopping] to the two shops and then having to carry the shopping back up the hill and she stopped to say hello to her favourite cow in the field that she passed.

Mary remembers when her granny fell ill. Janet was taken away from Burntisland in an ambulance and she spent the last of her days in Queensferry House Hospital. Granny died in the hospital of old age in 1948 when Mary was 14. Granddad went to live with Mary’s mum and dad, Kate and William (Bill) Hood in Leith in 1954.


Pictured above (left to right) - Grandad George Hood with Mary aged 3 (circa 1937); George Hood with the Binnend Village in the background (possibly taken circa 1940s); Mary Hood and Alistair McLeod, 1949, both aged 15. George was the last inhabitant of the small industrial village near Burntisland in Fife, when he left in 1954.

Mary met my dad, Alistair McLeod (also born 1934), when they were school-kids, they lived quite close by in Easter Road. Alistair lived with his mum and dad, William (Bill) and Edith (Edie) McLeod in the top floor flat at 6 Bothwell Street, Easter Road, Edinburgh and they were childhood sweethearts. In 2016 Mary and Alistair celebrated their 60th ‘Diamond’ wedding anniversary. They have lived in the north-east of England since the early 1970s. Mary turned 82 in 2016 and the story about Burntisland that my sister Jill found online brought back some lovely memories of her school holidays. I hope you enjoy some photos of the village.

Pictured above - Mary and Alistair McLeod, Wedding Day in 1956, Leith, Edinburgh.

© Lynda McLeod and Iain Sommerville 2016

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