My deid Irish mammy

So it’s Mothers Day and all that.  My mother was;

Grace Muir Robinson

BIRTH 25 SEP 1929 • 122 Bonnington Road, Leith
DEATH 29 MAY 2008 • Hotel Burstin, Folkestone

And here she in in her 1950’s prime on the left of the photo at a works night out.


And glamming it up again.  Second on the right, with my Dad on the right.


Gone but not forgotten.

My Mum in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

She was a bit too young for the war but when she was 17 my Mum, Grace Muir Hamilton nee Robinson lied about her age and tried to sign up to the Air Force.  Of course, she got found out but when my grandparents realised how keen she was they signed the forms and off she went to the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

And here’s a picture of my Mum when she was in the WAAFs. She’s third from right, in the back row. Looks like her and her pals were heading out from RAF Wilmslow for a night oot. Probably Blackpool. This would have been around about 1947/48.

She loved it in the WAAF but that may have be due to the fact that she seemed to spend most of her time flying around Europe to play in tennis tournaments!


Happy birthday, Mum

Yes, my auld Irish mammy, Grace Muir Hamilton nee Robinson would have been 86 years old today.  To say we had our ups and downs would be in with a shout for biggest understatement of all time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.  Now and again!  Anyway, here she is, in her 1950s prime, auditioning to be a member of the Royal Family.

Grace Muir Robinson

Palais de Dance, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

The Palais de Dance, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh was where my Mum & Dad met.  It was also the place my Uncle Phil punched oot a certain Tam Connery.  An amazing dancehall, according to my Mum, it was turned into a bingo hall and has been lying derelict for decades while a student housing builder tries to demolish it.  Welcome to Edinburgh and their shameful cooncil.

Palais de Dance, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

The Cafe Honeydew, Haymarket

Cafe Honeydew - Haymarket - Edinburgh - Interior

© The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor

Been looking for a picture of the Honeydew at Haymarket for ages.  Click on it for a larger version on the SCRAN website (although you need to be registered).

My Mum worked here in the early sixties when she and my Dad were living in Dalry Road. It was a favoured haunt of the Hearts team who enjoyed a hearty(!) fry up back in the days when that was allowed.

After that, she ended up in the Marble Arch in Morrison Street, another up market fry up shop.


PS – click here.  But don’t tell anyone.

Alexander Walker Hamilton and family

Hamilton Holidays!

Yes, it’s the height of winter, so what better time than to be thinking about your summer holidays.

In 1954, my Mum, along with my Auntie Cathie (Cath Muirhead, who wisnae a real auntie) and her daughter Jeanette headed off to the glamorous surroundings of the Red Island Holiday Camp near Dublin.  Of course, it was the fifties, so you had to make your own entertainment.

So here’s my Mum (back row, second from right) and Cath Muirhead (back row, right) partaking in some proper holiday entertainment.

Grace Robinson and Cath Muirhead at Red Island

In fact she liked it so much, she dragged me and Dad there in about 1968.

And here we are, partaking of a delicious repast in the tropical climes.

Grace Hamilton, ALex Hamilton, Stuart Hamilton, Red Island

This was my one and only furrin holiday.  The Red Island Holiday Camp Hotel was 18 miles north of Dublin, on a series of islands, linked to Skerries on the mainland by a bridge. This is postmarked 1967.

Red Island Holiday Camp

Sadly you won’t be able to enjoy the sunny splendours of the Irish Sea for yourself as it is long demolished.

“Red Island was an Irish holiday camp established by Eamonn Quinn in 1948 as a family-run business, similar to that of Butlins. The camp was located on Red Island in Skerries, North County Dublin and offered a range of facilities typical of holiday camps at the time including 250 rooms accommodating around 500 guests weekly. During it peak activity in the 50’s and 60’s, it employed over 110 people and in 1954 made a profit of £12,000. Most of its guests came from England (mainly the North) with the remainder from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Martello tower there was purchased by Eamonn Quinn in 1950 who converted it into living quarters for his family in which they lived during the holiday camp season, May to September.

From the late 60’s the camp went into decline facing competition from cheaper holiday destinations abroad and the Troubles in Northern Ireland also caused a substantial drop in visitors from the UK. The camp closed in the early 1970’s and lay derelict until it was demolished in 1980. Incidentally, the large ballroom at the camp became a popular venue for pop and rock groups in Ireland during the early to mid 1970’s, featuring bands like Horslips and Thin Lizzy.

The Red Island holiday camp was situated on the peninsula around the Martello tower. Later, the site was partially developed for housing and the remainder was laid out as a public park.”

Red Island advert