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A photograph of Nellie Mackenzie

Nellie Mackenzie

We made our own entertainment

Born: 1911

Duration: 28m 30s

Type: Audio

Filesize: 21.0 Mb

Recorded: 1 January 1988

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About this recording

Listen to the late Nellie Mackenzie, née Hendry, reminisce about growing up in Wick. She talks about memorable school picnics to Reiss, Whaligoe and Dunbeath Strath. In particular she recalls the children walking to and from Reiss beach while, the mothers went home in Ackers cab with two or three boyags hanging on the back of it.”

Nellie explains that on leaving school she was grateful to get a seasonal job in the laundry before going into service where the working conditions were hard. However, there were some amusing stories and she recalls the day she dropped a bar of soap into a bubbling pan of strawberry jam. After some time, she decided to train as a nurse, but a bout of homesickness led to her return to Wick.

She married Donnie Mackenzie, who worked at E Campbells bakery in Dempster Street. She describes the challenge of bringing up a young family during the war years, coping with rationing and dried egg.

In time Nellie and her husband set up the family bakery business, first in Bank Row and later in Dempster Street, when they took over E Campbells bakery.

Listen to Nellie talk about life before the NHS was established, the preparations for the New Year bonfire and the annual spring clean. She recalls the introduction of electricity, radio and television and she explains how people made their own entertainment.

This interview was conducted in the 1980s as part of a job creation project funded by the Manpower Services Commission. The aim of the project was to collect memories of life in Caithness in spoken and written form.

The recording has been digitised and re-edited.

With gratitude to the family of Nellie Mackenzie, for allowing Wick Voices to use the interview.

Thanks also to the staff of Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive.


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