I was born in Edinburgh in 1944 and have always lived here. Jane and I moved into our flat at Holy Corner, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh in 1985. I’ve been a lonely widower since Jane died on 23/11/2016.
I built my first computer in 1980, soldering every component into one of the first single-board microcomputers, even the keyboard switches. A wedge of polystyrene supported the single circuit board. The computer was a Compukit UK101.
I first got plugged into the planet with Compuserve on July 6 1994, although I had used bulletin boards with the BBC Micro before that. Not much Internet back then.
Hobbies: Apart from photography and my web-site, there’s hill-walking (sciatica permitting), reading, nature, science. I started ice skating again in 2004 after a 40 year gap.
I also took up inline skating and used to skate to my job as a Tech Guy at PC World at Kinnaird Park. I skated via the Innocent Railway tunnel. Below is a video of me skating down Bruntsfield shortly after I became a septuagenarian.
We both gave up smoking on 4th July 1997 and still don’t miss it now in 2018. I mentioned my first computer, the Compukit UK101. That preceded the BBC Micro and the Atari ST. The latter computer is still functioning and the video below shows it booting up from its SCSI external hard disk and starting the Kozmic program I wrote and sold on floppy disks.
A separate page with some recollections of what it was like to work as a TV Service Engineer long before flat screens came along.
Before I was a TV Service Engineer I worked as a coalminer at Newcraighall Colliery and after that at Bilston Glen Colliery at Loanhead. I originally wrote this for the old website in 2001.
Download The Jakarta Protocol
The Jakarta Protocol – Uloma Faye is a young woman living in Edinburgh when artificial intelligence (AI) begins to exceed human powers. The AIs decide they need to meld an AI with a real person.This needs to be a female starting out in life with a particular type of upbringing. They decide on seventeen year old Uloma. An academic from Edinburgh University is tasked with recruiting her to the project. Over time her AI is more and more integrated with her body – they become friends…
Early Henniker Family Photos
MR HARRY V. HENNIKER
died 15th April 1967
Notable part in Scottish music
The death has occurred in Edinburgh of Mr Harry Vincent Henniker, M.I.E.E., who during the Second World War served on several committees in connection with war production and personnel. Very well known in musical circles, Mr Henniker joined the Edinburgh Society of Musicians, Ltd., as an associate member in 1925, and was frequently an artist at concerts in the society’s rooms. He was an accomplished pianist and violinist and was for some time leader of the Edinburgh Amateur Orchestra, In 1929 he was elected an associate member of the society’s council and became secretary in 1939. The following year he combined the secretaryship with the duties of organiser of programmes. He retired as secretary in 1958 but continued to act as programmes organiser until his death.
He will be remembered for his unselfish efforts on behalf of the society. Indeed, had it not been for his untiring devotion during the Second World War and in the post-war period, the society well might have ceased to exist. Music in Scotland, particularly in Edinburgh and Glasgow, owes him a debt of gratitude for the encouragement he gave to hundreds of music students and young professional musicians during his long association with the society by giving them a platform on which they were able to display their art.
Born in 1891 at Ramsgate, he studied engineering at Sheffield University. He came to Edinburgh in 1914 and for many years was with Bruce Peebles & Co., Ltd. In 1945 he formed the company of Henniker, Thewsey. Ltd., engineers, of which he was managing director. He lectured on engineering at the Heriot-Watt College (now university) and elsewhere. He was identified with the Scottish centre of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and served as president of the Lothians branch. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Some Henniker Links
Watercolours by Katie Henniker
Scanned at 150 dots per inch. Many were scanned in two parts and joined together. Where there are informative notes on the back of pictures, these have also been scanned and follow the image they refer to.
The following nostalgia trip has been left to the end because it’s more personal and unlikely to be of much interest to most visitors to this website.
My very earliest memory of Daniel Stewart’s College would be when I was aged about 7 years old. Prior to that I’d gone to the local Moredun primary school in Moredun Park Street. My brother Harry was 2 years older and was already a pupil at Stewart’s. On the first day, as we passed the war memorial on the path up to the school, Harry told me I should have taken my cap off when we walked by the memorial. I was paranoid and hoped nobody had noticed.
I think my first teacher was a Miss Sanderson who confused me by referring to herself in the third person. There may have been another primary teacher called Miss Struth. I think it was her who commended me on my road sense, having seen me cycling to school along Princes Street. It had tramlines and cobbles then but it was smoother than other cobbled streets. Also, it may have been her who had her arm broken by a miscreant cyclist on the Meadows or Links.
The central vestibule was just inside the original main front entrance to the school. Prefects had a room next to the front door and were empowered to punish pupils. On the left was the gym hall with wallbars and ropes to climb. On the right was the dining hall. Some kid thought it was funny to pull down the flesh below his eyes, exposing the redness – which freaked me out and put me off beetroot for life. I remember getting a row for playing with my lunch, cutting a circle of Spam into a face with mashed potato for hair.
The vestibule had a slightly sloping floor resembling light gray tarmac. Crates of milk bottles (small ones containg 1/3rd of a pint) were stacked near the steps at the top end where the main corridors began.
In addition to the dining hall there was a sort of a soup kitchen at the west end of the building in a basement. This would have been when I was older. I’m fairly sure they supplied soup but they certainly supplied jelly and digestive biscuits. I remember asking a woman called Isa what flavour the jelly was. She said it was red flavour.
It would be the late ’50s when on one day a week after school I would go to my grandmother’s house in Corstorphine. I, Dougie Gunn and (I believe) Ian Murdoch would walk up Ravelston Dykes then smoke cigarettes in the wooded slope of the railway embankment at Coltbridge Gardens. One time I took ‘a whitey’ and collapsed feeling sick and nauseous on the pavement at the south end of Coltbridge Avenue. I think I gave my grandmother’s phone number to a concerned man and my father came and got me in his car. As a shopkeeper he was able to claim the car as a business expense for tax purposes.
One time when I walked up Ravelston Dykes, I was with a new guy who had been brought up in Kenya. There were frosty leaves on the ground and he picked one up, fascinated because he’d never seen frost. His family lived in a 3 storey terraced house in Murrayfield Avenue. Up on the roof you could walk the entire length of the block, he told me.
On the ground floor at the west side of Daniel Stewart’s I can picture a school room with a very high ceiling where ‘Bandy’ Forsyth taught maths. I’m sure he would light up a Senior Service cigarette in class. He certainly voiced his thoughts about Catholics paying cash to have sins forgiven. I can’t say if he was deluded, not being religious myself. Bandy Forsyth punished me for something or other with six strokes of the belt one time, I’m fairly sure. I can’t remember what for. In this same room, some mischievous boys, left to their own devices, would tear a bit of paper from a jotter page, chew it to a pulp, dip it in ink then propel it upward using a 12 inch ruler as a catapult. The blue coloured blob would stick to the ceiling way up high.
Some of my own misdemeanours were punished. Left in an empty room at the other end of the building I thought it would be a joke to subtly alter a French teacher’s text on the blackboard. I think I may have made 2 slight alterations such as altering the accent over a letter é. Again I got the belt. It may have been for this or some other crime that I was told “Your name is mud”. At least one person later said to me “Hello, Mud” as he passed me in the corridor. (The French teacher was nicknamed Tweak.)
In later times I had to join the School Cadet Corps and go to school (maybe on Fridays) dressed up as a boy soldier. I didn’t like this. One of the school janitors was in charge and seemed to take great delight in humiliating the boys, sergeant major style. The boots I had to wear made my feet bleed with marching up and down the playground. Most boys had metal studs in their soles (good for sliding on the tarmac) but Johnnie Harper had rubber soled boots which were quiet and didn’t slide. There was a rifle range at the back of the playgound where I had a shot at target practice.
The west end of the playground had the bike sheds. To the left was the workshop building where we did woodwork and metalwork. We made paper knives from 3 layers of perspex and we polished them on a spinning polishing wheel. The science building opposite came later. We dissected frogs and grew plants. The plant growers were split into teams. I think I was with Johnnie Harper and Dougie Mather. We cheated and watered ours with a solution of potassium nitrate (and maybe other teams’ efforts with salt water).
The biology teacher was a Mr Mounsey who dressed in green except for brown shoes. He may have been tricked into looking for a rare orchid in Davidson’s Mains park by a classmate of mine… Earlier science lessons were at the east end of the main building. We had bunsen burners and observed a red hot metal ball cooling and shrinking and falling through a ring on a tripod.
I was the smallest boy in the class and sometimes felt at a disadvantage, not being particularly physical, although I could climb up the ropes hanging in the gym. I remember trying out boxing (with boxing gloves) at one gym session which I didn’t enjoy. On sports days a green double decker SMT bus would take us to the Merchant Company sports ground at Ferry Road near Arboretum Road. When the bus was taking us along Carrington Road near Fettes one time, the boys upstairs all dived from the right side of the bus to the left making the bus tilt over a bit, probably alarming the driver. Rugby in the winter. Cricket or athletics in the summer. I chose athletics. Cross-country running was along the local streets e.g. Arboretum Road and Inverleith Place. Some folks were not averse to shortcuts. Or indeed sneaking away over the wall to Ferry Road to walk along for a number 8 bus home.
I was a bit selfconsciouness at my lack of height (puberty hit me a bit later than some). I wasn’t good at cricket or rugby. But one day we finally got to go swimming at the private swimming baths at Drumsheugh. I had been juvenile swimming champion at Heart of Midlothian Swimming Club at Stockbridge Baths 4 years running. I seized my moment of glory by diving in at the shallow end and swimming underwater to the deep end and back without coming up for air. Above the water, there were trapezes and ropes with rings attached you could hold onto, and swing Tarzan-style towards the shallow end. Other oddities included circular, sunken, communal baths. There was a shower with 270 degree curved pipes in a wraparound arrangement you stood inside.
It might have been 1958 when Dougie Gunn and Ian Murdoch suggested I go to Murrayfield Ice Rink with them. I was keen to give it a try. At my first attempt I was better than them because I’d done quite a lot of roller skating already. I drifted away from ice skating in 1964 but resumed in 2004, 40 years later. I’m still going about 4 afternoons a week, now in 2012. Music can invoke memories and Buddy Holly was still alive when I heard Early In The Morning (1958) played at the ice rink and bought the single. (YouTube link here)
Our music appreciation class was upstairs overlooking the west front lawn. Poor Mr Reid couldn’t control rowdy pupils and suffered as a result. There was a Pye Black Box record player in the room. Someone brought in a record which I’ve just found out was released in 1961. It was Sandy Nelson – Let There Be Drums. Tolerant Mr Reid played it to a (for once) appreciative audience and commented on the key change part way through.
Nowadays there are computers at school but we didn’t even have TV at school then. In the early days a valve radio would be wheeled in on a trolley as a special treat. I can’t remember why. Maybe Hillary climbing everest in 1953. My family had a TV for the coronation in 1952 but that was unusual.
One or two of us got into the habit of visiting a small shop not far from school in Belford Road where they sold Scottish butter tablet for 11d a quarter pound. I can’t recall whether we did it at lunchtime or just after school.
This page is meant for fellow former classmates. One memory tends to wake up others. Hopefully it’s not been too boring. It will no doubt continue to expand, as I wallow in nostalgia and contemplate my own mortality…