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The true history of the Lochgelly Tawse
(AKA School Belt or The Strap)
By Margaret J Dick (daughter of John J Dick & granddaughter of George W Dick)

Part 3- The Yard

George Wilson Dick (born1882 died1955) my grandfather began his apprenticeship in 1896 after a brief spell down the pit. His apprenticeship involved 4 years learning to be a Black Saddler (Harness Maker), 3 years learning to be a Brown Saddler (Saddle and Bridle Maker) and a further 3 years as an improver, in these days you paid for the privilege of being trained so the first 7 years were unwaged and had to be paid for, during the 3 years as an improver he received a wage and worked exclusively for R.Philp & Son. After his 10 years were up he was free to take his trade out into the world and he worked for a couple of years as a journeyman in Cupar, Fife. In 1908 he married Janet Downie Urquart Shand (born1885, died1954) whose family were publicans in Cowdenbeath and who was a cousin to the world famous accordion player Jimmy Shand.

George & Janet Dick
The Lochgelly Tawse George Dick and Janet Dick

One year later he set up in business with his brother Robert Shand Dick (born1878, died1953) who was trained as a Couch Builder and The Yard, High Street, Lochgelly was formed.

History Of The Lochgelly Tawse - Horse Drawn Wagon Built At The Yard

~Horse drawn wagon built at The Yard~

Around 1924 he started producing his first school belts using his own stamp G.W.DICK SADDLER & Co LOCHGELLY

History Of The Lochgelly Tawse - Lochgelly Tawse Stamp - G.W.Dick Saddler & Co Lochgelly

This stamp was superseded in the early to mid 1940's to celebrate his last and youngest son John joining the business in the saddler's workshop. G.W.DICK & SON LTD MAKERS LOCHGELLY

In 1948 James Heggie sold up the saddlery and Iron mongers business in Main Street to George Dick and his son John Johnston Dick.


< The Beginning

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John J Dick Leather Goods, Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland. Purveyors of hand crafted leather goods and leather giftware to shopsand businesses in Edinburgh, Dundee and across Scotland. Manufactures of leathergoods, bags, sporrens, belts, instrument cases, workman's gear, tourist goods, the infamous Lochgelly Tawse and giftware. Commisions accepted. Please email Margaret J Dick at m.dick759@btinternet.com