Jolly Hockey Sticks!

My father’s four sisters went to fee-paying Laurel Bank School in Glasgow, one of a triumvirate of girls’ schools along with Westbourne and Park. All have now merged in one way or another. Point is… I’ve got a bunch of hockey team photos from the later 1920s, some of them with names on; so I thought I’d put them online. Do you recognise a relative? Can you name someone? Do leave a comment!

This post is not much more than the digital counterpart of tidying up a messy drawer, but I know there are lots of people out there who enjoy(ed) team games, school hockey specifically, so I hope this gives you a smile and a warm glow. Sorry to those who hated team games! (Like me.)

I’d call these girls posh. If you are interested in social privilege in the context of family tree research, check out my post on Inheriting Privilege. I see a number of resources explicitly recommend using Friends and Neighbours, like this, or this, or this Strathclyde course. It seems the concept of the FAN club is attributed to Elizabeth Shown Mills. It’s not just that these sorts of connections are useful, they can be fun and interesting in their own right, as social historians have always known.

More information about the Laurel Bank girls is available in a commemorative 1953 retrospective book, (now digitised into a database), called “Laurel Bank School, Glasgow: 1903-1953”. It’s referenced at Scottish GENES, and is sold by The Original Record as an Old Girls’ Who’s Who. There is copy in the National Library of Scotland (in fact there’s one on the Reading Room shelf at H3.84.4743), and so I will try to check the names and update this post at some point.

The Teams

First, team photos, then close-ups of my aunts after that. (I do love their hairstyles and facial expressions.)

Probably the newest of the team photos here, since it features the youngest of the sisters, Dorothy Scobbie (who unlike the others, didn’t sign, because it was her own photo)

Dorothy Scobbie (b. 2 Mar 1918) is seated centre front. Standing are M. Gardner, the teacher Jean R. Jones, Jane Fairlie, and Pat Clark. Seated in the centre are Helen A. Craig, Mollie Lindsay, Betty Yates, Margaret Sherry, and Muriel Malcolm. Seated on the ground are Margaret Bird and Margaret McAusland. Dorothy was at Laurel Bank from 1928-1934, and she kept her school reports her whole life, so they are still tucked into an envelope.

Here’s another one featuring Dorothy (sitting on our right), which she kept in an album of photos she had chosen.

More names in a team featuring Muriel (b. 10 May 1912)

The picture above features Muriel Scobbie (b. 10 May 1912) at the back left (as we look). Then there’s the teacher Jean R. Jones. Then Dorothy M. Cupples, and Ellis P. Ross. Seated in the middle row are Isobel Macaulay, R. Taylor, Anne Macaulay, A. H. Danter and Nancy ?Barony. Seated on the grass are ?M Gallery?, Joan B.S. Davie, and Elspeth J.M. Steven.

No names here, I’m afraid. This team features Ebeth (b. 15 Sep 1914).
A couple of the pictures feature this building. This team features Hester (b. 4 Apr 1910).
Just a few names here – E.A. Macaulay (a younger Anne again?), J Younger, and H.M. Dalziel
Here is the same team again – outdoors.

Across the back: M. Main, E.A. Macaulay (aka Anne), the teacher Jean R. Jones, and H. Dalziel. In the middle, M. Senior, A.L. Benzie ?, I. Carson and A.R. Watson. Sitting front, Muriel Scobbie, M.I Galbraith, and I.H. Fairlie.

Some familiar faces here.

Standing at the back L>R are ?, Jean Jones, Anne Macaulay and Muriel Scobbie.

The Aunts

Ebeth Scobbie with an earphones hairstyle.

Princess Leia gets some competition from Ebeth (Elizbeth Bertie Stevenson Scobbie, 1914-1994, married surname Barr). In the linked post about her is another photo with the same hairstyle, with more visible ribbons, where it is discussed a little bit more: it’s an “earphones” style.
Dorothy Hill Scobbie (1918-2003)
Hester Mary Black Scobbie, later Hutton (1910-1989).

If the number of photos represents commitment, effort and skill, then it’s all hail Muriel. She looks like a serious player, who sometimes wasn’t keen to have her photo taken.

Muriel Williamina Laughland Scobbie (1912-2001), later Mackay, looking a bit grumpy

Muriel looking a lot happier

Muriel Scobbie

Dinna fash the Big M!
Muriel… now bonnie and beaming

If I find any picture of my father James Stevenson Scobbie (1920-1995) playing any sport (e.g. rugby), I’ll post it here. But I don’t think I will. So, I’ll say his school was called Glasgow Academy, and leave it at that.

Various other relatives enjoyed sport at school, or university, some like my father-in-law winning some trophies (for running) with photos that would be worth posting. There is a record of talent and/or interest in golf, curling, rugby, sailing, climbing and… there was some kind of champion at quoits. Some of the younger generation of adults have some very impressive achievements that someone will write about in 100 years or so, or if they want to write their own pages now, I’ll link to them. But sport is not, I’d say, a strong family tradition, so it is unlikely to appear as a “category” on this site. Click on “storyshelf” on the top bar to see the categories I am using.


The photographs are from our distributed family collection – there may be more, but this is all I have, at present. The phrase “jolly hockey sticks!” pokes fun both at those who love school team-sport rather than academic school work, and the middle or upper class background of the girls attending this kind of institution; specifically I think when their adolescent enthusiasm lasts, annoyingly, into adulthood. Apparently the phrase comes from BBC Radio’s Educating Archie [link to BBC episodes] (Wiktionary, Wikipedia and, best, Word Wide Words). The programme had 15 million listeners and a set of catchphrases. (Stick that in an essay about “modern” viral memes!) The Wikipedia programme entry says “Beryl Reid took this role [as Archie’s girlfriend], playing the St Trinian’s School-esque Monica with such catchphrases as ‘jolly hockey sticks’ and ‘as the art mistress said to the gardener'”.

Beryl Reid doing Monica can be heard at 8 minutes in to a random episode of Educating Archie, here. She is, of course, sounds upper-class RP. And thick as mince. My aunts were neither. If I find a good example of what I recall to be their semi-rhotic or non-rhotic Anglo-Glasgow accent, I’ll post it. I don’t think there are any audio recordings… but there may be. A recording of their father was donated to Sounds of the City by a cousin, who may have more audio squirreled away.

See also:
Michael Quinion (4 May 2002) Jolly Hockey Sticks. Website: World Wide Words [Accessed at on 10 Feb 2019].
Martin Chilton (19 Jul 2011) “Archie Andrews, the dummy loved by millions, is back on stage” The Daily Telegraph. [Accessed online at on 25 Feb 2019]. Thanks to Janette Deuchers on Facebook’s Photos of your Scots group for this link and a heads-up on the next one…
Bargain Hunt (22 Feb 2019) Series 52, episode 9 of 32, “Ardingly 12”, around 24 minutes in [Available here till late March 2019]. What a story! He cost the current doting owner over £39k and he only had a buying budget of £40k.

Original content (images and text) licensed for re-use under creative commons 4.0 BY-NC-SA

14 thoughts on “Jolly Hockey Sticks!

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  1. A wonderful set of photographs – I loved the range of hairstyles in particular. The photos brought to mind the early school stories that I used to enjoy reading. As for myself in the 1950s, I was lucky that my school had moved on from wearing the unflattering gymslips. I hated hockey but was nifty at netball!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love these photos — especially the serious “game faces.” Field hockey, as we call it here in Michigan (USA), has been a relative late arrival for women’s sports. It’s really interesting to see the teams from the 1920s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These photos are fantastic! Also I love your line, “This post is not much more than the digital counterpart of tidying up a messy drawer.” I understand that thought completely, and what a perfect way to put it!

    Liked by 1 person

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